Thursday, February 10, 2005

Adios Ayer

Este es mi momento. Ahora. Aqui. Adios ayer.

The weeks from my last entry have been full and busy. I just completed my first project for February, an ADB-funded publication. Carlo patiently walked me through the many wonders of InDesign, something I was long overdue to learn (thank you!). The files went off to the printers on Tuesday but I was still taking care of residual concerns ‘til yesterday morning. Two new jobs are lined up. So far today, I’ve just been trying to organize my thoughts, making notes, picking up materials. Every time I finish a project, I find myself a bit disoriented. It’s as if I am still running on the momentum of a previous creative process, and it takes a bit of calming down and “switching” before I can start work on something else. It must have something to do with my preference for personal ceremony (as opposed to the social kind). I worry that I am sometimes inhumanly slow, and that I am enamored with detail.

After Jose Padilla, it's the soundtrack of Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind now playing. Just skipped the Polyphonic Spree track. I can’t explain it, but their music makes me nervous.

Yesterday afternoon I was in Panay Avenue for my first viewing of the full-length film I designed for in December last year. It was the third edit – no music and sound design yet, but there is always a real pleasure in seeing the story finally put together. You straddle a line between getting lost in the tale, and remembering what was happening off-camera. In one scene for example, the actors were gathered around the family patriarch’s hospital bed, grieving at the prospect of his death. While watching it, I suddenly thought, “And there we were, crouched behind the screen divider watching the monitor…” There were also some frustrating moments. Because of framing or camera movement, design details I had layered the room with would disappear, leaving shots that (to me) looked horribly bare despite my best effort. Interestingly enough, one of the sequences that charmed me the most was one I hadn’t been there to see during filming – Eddie Garcia’s character, tired of being cooped up at his daughter’s house and being treated like an invalid, commandeers the family van and spends the day out in the city on his own. Mr. Garcia was given a single instruction – to do exactly what he wanted – and the camera would follow. Our little art department had advance-partied to the next location while they shot that sequence, so seeing what came out of that was a real surprise for me. I thought it poignant, and hope that the addition of a musical score or any further editing only serves to keep it so. The Cinemalaya Film Festival is in June or July. It’s beginning to look as if ours is the most “family-oriented” offer. No sex, no nudity, hardly any violence. Not even an on-screen kiss. Oh god, we will be ostracized by our fellow indie filmmakers. But at least, as the joke went yesterday, our work doesn’t look like a thesis project.

C. is away on holiday, tearing through Shanghai with his family. Shades of National Lampoon, I’m sure. He has been sending phone messages, slices of exotica to one “marooned” in working Manila—sleet at the airport, a visit to Su Zhou (the birth place of Xiao Long Bao, is it?), live music at lunchtime: a woman singing Chinese Richard Clayderman-ish kitsch pop, the kind he knows I can’t stand. I haven’t been to China, and wouldn't mind seeing it one day. However, I’ve always imagined that after I do, I would cross into Mongolia and spend some time happily freezing my ass off in the desert.

If money were no object, where would you travel to this year?


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