SHINE 2: Night in the City

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is SHINE.

Which is why self took her camera along when she caught a FACINE (Filipino Arts & Cinema International) 23 film screening at the Little Roxie on 16th St.


Halloween Already! San Francisco goes all out!


Heading to the Little Roxie on 16th St.

The film, Ari: My Life With a King, was sweet and gentle and lovely. Rooted in place.

Great script, great editing. By a first-time filmmaker, too. Remember his name:  Carlo Enciso Catu.

Self would like to give a shout-out to Mauro Feria Tumbocon, Jr. for nurturing this festival, now in its 23rd year.

The Festival’s last day is tomorrow. Tickets for individual films are $10.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Movies Self Most Enjoyed Watching in 2013

Totally self-indulgent post.  Self is not even going to bother to explain.

These are the movies self could stand to see multiple times.

They’re not the best movies of the year, just the ones whose world(s) she found herself wanting to return to, more than once (The list is in alphabetical order, not in order of preference):

  • American Hustle
  • Anchorman 2
  • Boy A (Cheating a bit, because self saw this one on Netflix.  But.  Andrew Garfield.  WOW.  People who know him only as the Hollywood-ized version of himself have no idea.  None.  And it is Too BAD.)
  • Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing
  • Kung Fu Divas (featuring Ai Ai de las Alas, Marian Rivera, and Roderick Paulate) — Saw this one in Bacolod!
  • Nebraska
  • Riddick
  • The Hobbit:  Desolation of Smaug
  • The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire
  • Warm Bodies

*     *     *

Hope for 2014:  Self really, really hopes someone is making or has made a documentary of Typhoon Haiyan and the ongoing debacle in the Philippines.

Most Improved Show:  SNL

Most Surprisingly Sexy Show:  Sleepy Hollow (Just please never give Ichabod Crane a change of clothes.  Self would hate to see his affect dissolve once he gets around to dressing in jeans and T’s like a regular American dude)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Plan for Today (2nd Saturday of December 2013)

Self is going to Bindlestiff in the City.

She is going to watch four Filipino movies back-to-back.  And self knows it sounds a little bit like overkill, but she already paid, so she is fully committed to this course of action.

She asked The Man if he was interested in coming along, but he stoically refused and went off to watch “The Hobbit:  the Desolation of Smaug,” in 3D.

The first movie self is lined up to see is at 3 p.m. : LOVE, ILOCOS AND OTHER TALES (84 min., in Tagalog and Ilocano with English subtitles) –  Directed and written by Jhezel Finones, the film focuses on “local television programs of national import, like Biag Ko (My Life), Journal List and Love, Ilocos.

Followed, at 5 p.m. by PUREZA, THE STORY OF NEGROS SUGAR (110 min., in English, Tagalog, and Ilonggo with English subtitles) — Directed by Jay Abello, the documentary takes “an unflinching, exhaustive look at the rise and fall of the Negros sugar industry from different points of view — the landowners, the workers, government officials, the academics, the social workers.”

Followed, at 7 p.m.  by DINIG SANA KITA / If I Knew What You Said (88 min., in Tagalog with English subtitles) — Directed and written by Mike E. Sandejas, about two polar opposites — a deaf boy and a troubled girl rocker — who cross paths in a mountain camp.

And then (hopefully, self’s neck will be able to hold out) she will watch her final film of the day:  Peque Gallaga’s Bacolod-set SONATA.  Since the film starts at 9, and self remembers how long Gallaga’s other Bacolod movie, ORO, PLATA, MATA was, she figures she won’t be home until well past midnight.  She reminded The Man to leave the porch light on, because she hates having to stand around, fumbling for her house keys, in complete darkness.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

20th Filipino American Film (CINE) Festival


December 9 – 14

Bindlestiff Studio, 185 Sixth Street, San Francisco

A total of 33 full-length Filipino films and short works will be shown over a span of six days.  Net proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Super Typhoon Haiyan/ Yolanda recovery operations in the Philippines. There is a significant number of films made by Ilonggo filmmakers at the festival (that is, from Dear Departed Dad’s home province and Iloilo, the next island over)

FACINE is the longest running festival of films from the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora.

The Festival opens with the re-mastered, re-issued Filipino American cult sci-fi film, Ron C. Santiano’s Prophesy of Eve on December 9, 2013.

For more information, go to the FACINE (Filipino American Cine) website.

The Many Faces of Lisa Yuchengco, Magazine Publisher and Now Documentary Filmmaker

So it was a very dreary day — rain!  Continuous rain!  And wiping up dog pee in the kitchen!  A flood of dog pee!

But the latter half of the day was very fine.  Self found Lisa Y’s house, and bugged her about her documentary, Marilou Diaz-Abaya: Filmmaker on a Voyage.

Self must admit:  she has always been fascinated by (Lisa and) Marilou D-A:  models, for self, growing up in Manila.  In convent school.  In a convent school founded by French nuns.

What was possible?

So, in the course of the afternoon, self had reason to ponder the following names:

  • Amy Austria (Self saw her in the few clips from Marilou D-A’s Brutal.  This actress was revelatory, heartrending.)
  • the iconic Marilou Diaz-Abaya herself, who passed away last October at 56 (“The real battle is not against cancer cells; the real battle is against fear.”)
  • an actor self had never heard of before:  Jaime Fabregas (He played the Spanish official responsible for Rizal’s execution in the movie Jose Rizal)

and of course:  Lisa herself!

Thank you for the fun time, Lisa!  You rock!

Mona Lisa Yuchengco, who directed MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA: FILMMAKER ON A VOYAGE

Mona Lisa Yuchengco, who directed MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA: FILMMAKER ON A VOYAGE

More of Lisa

More of Lisa

And STILL more of Lisa!

And STILL more of Lisa!

Self just has to say this:  Lisa, you look so adorable in purple!  You’re welcome!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Likes (In Movies, 2013 Thus Far)

Best Movies of 2013 (thus far):

  • Warm Bodies
  • Emperor
  • Harana, a great documentary on a dying breed, the last Filipino practitioners of harana (Filipino serenade music).  Congratulations:  Florante Aguilar (the film’s star), Director Benito Bautista, cinematographer Peggy Peralta, and editor Chuck Gutierrez
  • from the Hitchcock Festival at the Stanford Theater in Palo Alto:  Strangers on a Train and Vertigo

*     *     *     *

On TV:

Justified, of course.  Parade’s End.

She also got to watch four back-to-back episodes of The Walking Dead and wondered how she managed to miss the show for so long.

Worst, most excruciating movie-watching experience:  Michael Haneke’s Amour (Nothing on the actors, just — how much degradation can one actually stand to see on the big screen?) and Hitchcock’s Rope (pseudo-elegant dweebs who seem to consider themselves Supermen have a dinner party —  eating off a chest-converted-into-a-dirning-room-table into which they have stuffed a corpse.  Jimmy Stewart shows up as a college professor who turns out to be the perfect sleuth.  Self found it incredibly, incredibly dull)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

CAAMFest Today, Sunday, Mar. 17 (2013)

Self woke up at 10:30 a.m.  Eeeek!  She had to throw on her clothes and dash out of the house.

She grabbed her Googlemaps print-out of the directions to Sundance Kabuki in Japantown.  Only later, much later, did self realize there was one crucial direction that was missing (You know how sometimes your printer gets low on memory, and then either things print out weird or documents fail to print entirely?  Well, that happened today, only self didn’t realize it until she was waaaaay far from Japantown.  Then she had to double back.  Read the rest of this entry »

Monday Quote of the Day: Writing, Process

The next AWP Conference will be in Boston.  Wow, self wishes she’d been paying more attention to previous announcements.  It would have been a serious temptation.

I’m not very good at communicating verbally.  I’m somebody who listens more than talks.  I like to listen and absorb.  But when I need to connect with people and need to reach out, I write.

—  Ruth Forman, in an interview in the AWP Writer’s Chronicle, Oct./Nov. 2012

*          *          *

In other news, self was incredibly sad to learn (from Isagani Cruz on FB) that Marilou Diaz-Abaya, one of the Philippines’ first women movie directors, passed away today (Monday, Oct. 8), after a long bout with cancer.  She, like Dear Departed Doreen Fernandez, were two of self’s first inspirations.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Dropping In On: CRITIC AFTER DARK (Film Blog)

Self has been following Noel Vera’s blog (“Critic After Dark”) for quite some time now.

He put her in a semi-panic recently when he posted that he was stopping his blog in order to focus on a new book.  She left him her first and only fan letter.  Well, not exactly a fan letter (Self doesn’t really do those), more of an “Are You Seriously Thinking of Stopping This Blog” kind of thing.

Here’s what he’s about (from the “About” section of his blog.  His book, Critic After Dark, was published in 2005):

I suppose if there’s a theme I want to put forth, some kind of ‘big message’ I want to present to the reader, it’s this:  Philippine cinema has its share of gold and manure, artists and poseurs; because the average Filipino film costs a little over US$250,000 (in 2004 currency) and is usually shot on a stretch of about twenty shooting days (or less), the manure is often more odious than what passes for commercial filmmaking in Hollywood nowadays; on the other hand, because budget and schedule are often so small and tight, the rare gold nugget found seems all the more impressive, bordering perhaps on the miraculous.  Thanks to those nuggets, I still believe in miracles.

And BTW, here’s where you can order Noel’s book.

And more BTW:  In June 2010, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco had a festival of Brillante Mendoza films, and Joel Tan was the reason self was on a panel that discussed Kinatay.  It was a good thing she agreed, because she doesn’t know if she’d have been able to stand watching Kinatay.  But because she knew she was on the panel, she made herself watch.  And did not flinch.

Two men in front of her kept discussing the rape in terms of the prurient aspects of the actress’s body.  And she nearly reached over and bonked them both on the head.  They stayed for the panel discussion, and said the rape scene was “too short.”  Jerks.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Oh Red Poppy of Edinburgh


In spite of her most strenuous efforts, she succumbed to the lure of Cadbury and consumed an entire bar of milk chocolate, calling it “lunch.”

She was going to e-mail son and tell him:  Sorry I could never get through.

She bought him a book from a place called Transreal Fiction, 46 Candlemaker Row.  She asked the bookseller to show her a book by “the best Scottish writer of fantasy or science fiction” today.  The book he showed her was gi-nor-mous.  Self stayed there about an hour.  Edinburgh is the coolest city.

The British Airways plane has finally arrived (Flight’s already been delayed by half an hour).

Self will leave dear blog readers with a last memento of her fabulous month of June 2012 spent in Scotland.  She took this picture while gallivanting yesterday afternoon with Elizabeth M, a “retired schoolteacher” whose acquaintance she made at the screening of “MNL 143” at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Poppy, Roof Terrace, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

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