A Revelation and Reckoning: Good, Evil, and a World Gone Strange

Danas ng Digma, Digmaan ng Pagnanasa

Ang Matutuklasan

Aural Fixation

The Aged and the Restless

Haunted by History

Mga Pangil ng Pahinga, Paghinga, at Pagpaparaos: Rebyu sa Dokumentaryong "Jingle Lang ang Pahina"

Young Critics Circle (YCC) set to honor awardees on August 20

Appraising Awards

The enterprise of conferring awards—and by “awards” here I refer to the whole gamut of honors, grants, residencies, and other symbols of validation, commonly obtained by way of a competitive application or nomination procedure—which is to say the enterprise of manufacturing, and not merely acknowledging, achievements, is always a perilous and potentially debilitating one, not least because prize-giving is a typical instance of the games that individual and institutional agents play in advancing and reinforcing their claims to authority and legitimacy within the field of cultural production: the inevitable, if often disavowed, counterpart of making distinctions in order to advocate a certain aesthetic, to endorse specific practices, or, in some cases, draw evaluative attention to what seems to have been little noted or acted upon. That the ritual of hailing accomplishments in a given arena is usually a public, mediagenic one, and, as a result, rather prone to spectacularization as an ecstatic, even sublime, event that somehow transcends or escapes the complex of social, political, and economic configurations making up the very ground of its possibility, can only compound the difficulty.

Writing Space

The singular utterance that introduces Cartas de la Soledad’s trailer foregrounds the crisis of spatial transience. This somberly pronounced proclamation of placelessness thickens with the very language of its articulation – Spanish – as it echoes within the confines of an old Spanish house, itinerant against local space.  The voice of the transient subject haunts the montage of its interiors, a specter accompanying us, cut through cut, from the house’s shadowy, obscured spaces to its lamp-lit artifacts. The visual movement finds its climax on the image of pen and paper, only to be cut dramatically by the directorial credit still written in Spanish against the black background.

From the darkness of this interruptive shot, we find the character writing by lamplight, visually reminiscent of the quintessential ilustrado writing to conjure the memories of the faraway homeland, writing in order to supplant his physical absence with a narrative self. This, the act of writing, already loaded by the semantics of the title (literally letters of solitude), we are shown, is the attempt at salvaging the lost space, and consequently, his lost identity. But how does one make sense of a concrete space when the constructing self is in itself in a state of spatial liminality?