Aftershocks - A. E. Stallings

We are not in the same place after all.
The only evidence of the disaster,
Mapping out across the bedroom wall,
Tiny cracks still fissuring the plaster—
A new cartography for us to master,
In whose legend we read where we are bound:
Terra infirma, a stranger land, and vaster.
Or have we always stood on shaky ground?
The moment keeps on happening: a sound.
The floor beneath us swings, a pendulum
That clocks the heart, the heart so tightly wound,
We fall mute, as when two lovers come
To the brink of the apology, and halt,
Each standing on the wrong side of the fault.

Some readings regarding the DAP

For those, like me, who find themselves concerned and befuddled by the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the controversy that has erupted around it, but have no particular wish to join the rabid, malice-afflicted hordes who are foolishly calling for the impeachment of President Aquino, I proffer the following list of links.

I do not pretend that this is a definitive set of readings in any way, but I will say that I’ve found these helpful in terms of forming my understanding of what the DAP is, notwithstanding my personal opinion that Aquino erred gravely* when he addressed the nation regarding the recent Supreme Court decision partially invalidating the program.

*His error, in my view, was one of tone: haughty and belligerent, and therefore, finally, impolitic. Such characteristics do not automatically render his speech invalid or his conduct illegal, of course, but tone is the first thing that an audience grasps about any given utterance, and, if insensitively calibrated, can move said audience to respond reflexively, rather than with sober understanding. One reason, if not the main reason, that opponents of this administration—some of whom are not so much keen critics (that would require actual, rigorous thought) as obnoxious provocateurs—have been so successful in flogging the image of Aquino as a puerile, incompetent Chief Executive is that he has proven to be rather tone-deaf, always rising to the bait or baiting others in turn. His recent call for supporters to wear yellow ribbons doesn’t do him any favors.

Random Ageist Verses - Peter Porter

Here is the body fearfully beautiful
The pushy you of just nineteen –
How could you know, in shin or skull,
What’s dead already in the sheen?

Immersed in time, we question time
And ask for commentators’ rights.
The amoeba has a taste for slime
Among its range of appetites.

It’s always too early to die – Oh, yuss!
Says Churchill, dew-lapped TV hound
To The Man on the Clapham Omnibus –
The ice-cap’s melting; seek high ground!

The relief of growing old – it’s easy
To take long views and shun the short.
Consult the frescoes in Assisi:
Ignore the Kinsey and the Hite Report.

Like Auden, I have always felt
The youngest person in the room.
His too too solid flesh might melt
And show him God. I’ll need a tomb.

"Senex Scintillans" – we’re bright
As glazing on a Peking Duck.
The Elderly insist Insight
Is not worth much compared to Luck.

Hers is a most convincing face,
“Col tempo” lightly in her hand –
Age lived-through need show no trace
Of lines time likes to draw in sand.

Who is this young architect
At work on death’s blank inventory,
Correcting everything correct?
It is Thomas Hardy, OM, he!

"Gone is all my strength and guile,
Old and powerless am I.”
So, Joseph Haydn – all the while
Comes “Laus Deo” in reply.

The greyness of the sky is streaked
Along its width with shades of red;
The pity of the world has leaked
But who are these whose hands have bled?

(Source: theguardian.com)

'Until you have said it to me, there can be no peace between us.'

He was exhausted at last: he sank heavily to his knees, breathing hard and streaming with sweat, his fine body curiously diminished now in its ravaged apparel.

'I adore you, Lupe,' he said tonelessly.

She strained forward avidly. ‘What? What did you say?’ she screamed.

And he, in his dead voice: “That I adore you. That I adore you. That I worship you. That the air you breathe and the ground you tread is holy to me. That I am your dog. Your slave…”

But it was still not enough. Her fists were still clenched, and she cried: “Then come, crawl on the floor, and kiss my feet!”

Without a moment’s hesitation, he sprawled down flat and, working his arms and legs, gaspingly clawed his way across the floor, like a great agonized lizard, the woman steadily backing away as he approached, her eyes watching him avidly, her nostrils dilating, till behind her loomed the open window, the huge glittering moon, the rapid flashes of lightning. She stopped, panting, and leaned against the sill. He lay exhausted at her feet, his face flat on the floor.

She raised her skirts and contemptuously thrust out a naked foot. He lifted his dripping face and touched his bruised lips to her toes; lifted his hands and grasped the white foot and kissed it savagely— kissed the step, the sole, the frail ankle— while she bit her lips and clutched in pain at the windowsill, her body distended and wracked by horrible shivers, her head flung back and her loose hair streaming out the window— streaming fluid and black in the white night where the huge moon glowed like a sun and the dry air flamed into lightning and the pure heat burned with the immense intense fever of noon.

- Nick Joaquin, “The Summer Solstice”

Feb 9

‘Porno’ named Young Critics Circle’s Best Film of 2013

Porno, Adolfo Alix Jr.’s triptych film of individuals linked through pornography wins big at the Young Critics Circle’s 24th Annual Citations, bagging five of the six main awards, including Best Film and Best Performance for Carlo Aquino who tied with Jhong Hilario for Badil.

Porno also took the prizes for Best Screenplay and Best Sound and Aural Orchestration, and tied with Frasco Mortiz’s Pagpag for Best Editing.

Mel Chionglo’s Lauriana is named Best Cinematography and Visual Design.

Porno was one of the entries to the 2013 Cinemalaya Film Festival but, due to its mature content, was only exhibited in the Cultural Center of the Philippines, unlike the rest of the entries that were screened in select commercial theaters.

Alix has now won three Best Film awards from YCC, previously winning in 2009 for Adela and in 2012 for Haruo. He has also previously won for his production design in Kalayaan (2012).

Both Aquino and Hilario have been previously nominated for Best Performance by the academe-based group: Aquino for Minsan May Isang Puso (1999) and Baler (2008), and Hilario for Muro-Ami (1999).

Having previously narrowed down the year’s cinematic output to a long list of 22 films, the group last night further reduced the list to 13, and, after more than six hours of intense deliberations, arrived at record-number nominations in most categories: Film (8), Performance (15), Screenplay (8), and Cinematography and Visual Design (11).

To encourage the growth of emerging filmmakers, YCC decided to introduce a new special category – Best First Features, to be given to the three most outstanding feature films of debuting filmmakers. This year, the recipients are Angustia (Kristian Sendon Cordero), Puti (Miguel Alcazaren), and Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin (Randolph Longjas).

The awards ceremony is set on the third week of March, with the specific date and venue to be announced soon.

[Click through for the list of other winners.]

Unbeautiful Pageant



Jaime Oscar M. Salazar

At the outset, Slumber Party (2012) establishes a situation that is not especially objectionable, and certainly contains within it the potential to be entertaining. On the eve of the Miss Universe pageant, which within the realm of the film coincides…

Ordering our outrage

The problem with social media, however, is that it can perpetuate a vicious cycle of validation rather than allow for catharsis: when we vent in Twitter, Facebook, or similar platforms, there is a distinct possibility that our fury and despondency may not drain away to create a space for clear, intelligent thought, or convert itself into energy for deliberate, effective action. Instead, it may simply go round and round and round, accumulating intensity and power while destroying our ability to ask ourselves what has so provoked our emotions and to consider if our reactions are still commensurate to the matter at hand. I do not wish to suggest that indignation cannot be productive—a cursory survey of our history as a people would prove otherwise quite easily—but any expression of such ought, I believe, to be accompanied by a strong sense of proportion, of responsibility: the best instances of criticism contain within them not only an invitation to dialogue, but also a commitment to it. Engaging in vituperation helps nothing and no one, as this reduces us to mere cogs in a mindless machine of rage.

Nov 6

Statement of the YCC Film Desk on the acts of plagiarism committed by film blogger Jojo Devera


04 November 2013

We, members of the Film Desk of the Young Critics Circle (YCC), denounce in the strongest possible terms the acts of plagiarism committed by film blogger Jojo Devera (also known as Vincent Joel Llamas Devera) in his blog Sari-Saring Sineng Pinoy.

Although Devera rendered his blog publicly inaccessible at about 10:00 PM last 3 November 2013 (Sunday) and has subsequently deleted it, we have been able to gather evidence showing that Devera copied passages of varying lengths, from single sentences to entire paragraphs, from texts written by YCC members without permission or acknowledgement and presented such as his own work. Where he did not simply substitute his name for that of the author—as in the case of the post on Nunal sa Tubig (1976), which is wholly drawn from an essay by Eulalio R. Guieb III—he went a reprehensible leap further by producing reviews on films that combined excerpts from materials contemplating or assessing completely different issues—as in the case of the post on I Love You Mama, I Love You Papa (1986), which patches together parts from essays by J. Pilapil Jacobo, Nonoy L. Lauzon, and Patrick D. Flores, none of which discuss the Maryo J. De Los Reyes picture. Other members whose essays were plagiarized include Eloisa May P. Hernandez and Jaime Oscar M. Salazar.

While we have thus far managed to identify only six posts containing material lifted from both print and digital sources put out by our group, we are convinced that such constitute the merest tip of the proverbial iceberg: Devera began his blog in 2006, and before he took it down, it had nearly 400 entries—all of which, by the way, he had the gall to assert copyright over, if a line that ran along the bottom of his now defunct blog is any indication: “Karapatang Magpalathala 2006-2013. SARI-SARING SINENG PINOY Lahat Ng Karapatan Ay Nakalaan. Disenyo Jojo Devera”. Moreover, the way that Devera put together the plagiarized posts, which are in places inevitably marked by schizophrenia of tone and thought, suggests not the creativity of the parodist or the inventiveness of the pasticheur—we are not unaware of the lively and meritorious debates surrounding the concepts of authorship and originality—but something that is, to our collective misfortune, becoming more and more banal at present: the calculation of one who seeks to establish and burnish a reputation as a commentator in as expedient a manner as possible, without putting in the necessary time and effort to organize one’s thoughts and to deliberate over one’s words, or to give credit to those who have done so.

Considering the sheer amount of data that is available in the world today, online or otherwise, and the concomitant difficulty of guarding against plagiarism, it is perhaps not astonishing, but certainly unfortunate, that Devera has been as successful as he has in building a degree of credibility within the film community by carving out a niche for himself as a kind of specialist in Philippine films from the 1970s and the 1980s. We trust that he realizes, at the very least, that he has done this community a signal disservice. Lover though Devera might be of Filipino films, a claim he announces in his online properties, he might be exceeding his zeal if it spurs him to abduct the texts of others rather than to arduously work through the experience of cinema with his own body and mind in conversation with others.

In view of the foregoing, we demand that Devera immediately issue a formal public apology for his detestable acts of plagiarism, not only to us but also to every other individual and organization from which he may have lifted material without proper attribution. Furthermore, we caution all parties who have published or are considering publishing anything that Devera professes to have written to examine whatever he has done according to the strictest editorial protocols, and to withdraw or reject his work as necessary. Finally, in light of the situation at hand, we call on all film enthusiasts, bloggers, reviewers, and critics, as well as on all members of the general public, to contribute toward cultivating an environment that encourages, if not expects, judiciousness and responsibility in the production, circulation, reception, and use of information. We must always strive to uphold intellectual honesty as we pursue, develop, and disseminate knowledge.

To download the evidence, click Evidence of Plagiarism by Jojo Devera from YCC. The file is also available for online viewing via Scribd.

Nov 5

Remembering the Value of an Arts Education

(photo by Luis Calçada, via Flickr)
Ask a contemporary college student about their average day, and…

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Remembering the Value of an Arts Education

(photo by Luis Calçada, via Flickr)

Ask a contemporary college student about their average day, and…

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“Do you desire that your body acquire an affectively taxing visual life? You would do well to engage in estranged labor and produce surplus value, abject feminine subaltern!”—Britney Spears, PhD (Applied Performance)

“Do you desire that your body acquire an affectively taxing visual life? You would do well to engage in estranged labor and produce surplus value, abject feminine subaltern!”—Britney Spears, PhD (Applied Performance)