Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cinema Europa : Truly A Joy

Yesterday, through the kindness of a family friend, a well-known writer and one of the most beautiful people I know, I was able to watch the Czech film Kráska v nesnázích (2006) / Beauty in Trouble after a long hibernation from Euro films. I'd like to think we had a date of sorts. And to think we were planning to watch Hellboy 2: The Golden Army because it was opening this week. That would have been tiring.

I remember enjoying Art Films we were introduced to (from all over the world) when I was taking up Film in College and I really enjoy watching European Films that aren't too commercial in nature. I always felt they were better made because of their intrinsic value anyway. Of course, it helps a lot when the films are being shown for free. This ongoing Film Festival is a diehard's or any moviegoer's dream come true for that matter, given the cross-section of the audience I saw when they flipped the lights on.

If only the movie house wasn't far from our place and I had the chance of watching most of them through the course of the week, I would. But it is and at this point, I would like to soak in the importance of seeing a well-written, competently played-out, and decently directed movie from far-flung Czechoslovakia. I miss watching those, with all the Hollywood hullabaloo we're bombarded with and the Filipino formulaic "try-hards." Sometimes, I feel we're so bipolar in our taste of entertainment when what we're constantly being shown is a simplistic combination of a multi-million dollar Hollywood production with all its glitterati and golden smiles on one end and a Third World movie whose only aspiration is to be its own mini-Hollywood on the other, no matter how absurd. I hate putting them all in a box (labeling/stereotyping) but that's how it feels sometimes when they're your only source of movie exposure which is the case for the average Filipino moviegoer, me for instance.

As a country with Movies as its national pastime, I think we would all benefit from watching European Films for the sheer delight and freshness they have to offer. If I had something to do with film distribution, I'd recommend implementing this festival to more theaters around Metro Manila more often. Beauty in Trouble would not have cost more than $ 5M to make (I'm guessing) but it works in all its simple grandeur! Never mind that it's award-winning!  It was thoroughly entertaining even if you had the attention span of a 13-year old child which I do sometimes, not to say that it's juvenile. It only goes to prove that story above all else makes the difference and it all starts from a commitment to that. That's all and that's it! I hope the kids are watching.

Note:  these links will probably expire soon.

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