Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sa North Diversion Road - An Analysis

Being an adaptation of a stage play originally written by Tony Perez, Sa North Diversion Road is one of a handful of Filipino films that can make audiences laugh and cry. Its charm comes from its unique storytelling which makes the film more interesting. The story is about a couple having marital problems. But this is the best part, given the one storyline; it is told in different situations, different situations with the same characters only with different personalities. There is only one setting for the film, a car driving along the North Diversion Road.

The film is all about possibilities or the question of “what if?”. Just like what Tony said, it’s all about seeing what happened, what he wished had happened, and if they were different people. The body or the second act of the film is all Tony’s imagination of what would happen if they were different people dealing with the same problem of infidelity. The script does a fine job in defining these different personalities of the characters and these different situations that they are in. Even the dialogue defines the characters that they embody in each and every scene. Certain scenes like “Ang Kabit” which shows that they are both loud-mouthed people who spurt out vulgarity and insults to each other. And the scene “Sala sa Lamig, Salas a Init” which shows that they are both intelligent or, shall I say, geniuses. The acting gave justice to the narrative that the film is trying to employ. The actors, John Arcillia and Irma Adlawan, embodied different personalities in different situations. One scene they can be serious and crying, and then in the next scene we see them laughing and being crazy, then the next scene they are fighting and shouting. The performances are top-notch, given that both actors are accomplished stage performers. It just shows the talent both actors have and that both of them are the centerpiece of this film. Costumes also played an important part in every episode as the costumes also convey the different personalities of the characters in each and every episode. Certain examples are the costumes in the Malolos Exit episode show that both characters are from the province, also in the Bigaa Exit episode where we the costumes matched their personality which is “maarte” as we call it in Filipino, even in the Obando Exit where both characters are wearing black even the girl is wearing leather which makes them both like the people in action movies. Though for most of the scenes, costume played an important part, in the Bocaue Exit episode, costume wasn’t that of an importance. Their clothes weren’t visible in this scene as the scene only concentrates on their faces. Body movement wasn’t important in this scene; it’s the emotions that bring out the personality in both characters. Cinematography was also important in conveying the atmosphere of every scene. The camera movement in the Obando Exit episode felt like a suspense or action movie. It pans from left to right and zooms in and out constantly. Another example of the importance of cinematography was in the Baliuag Exit episode where the scene cuts from angle to angle constantly, the camera shakes a bit, they even used an extreme close up of both character’s mouths, the use of this techniques in cinematography in this scene helps in showing the friction that the couple is experiencing. Music also played in some episodes just like in San Fernando Exit episode, music plays when the wife is suspecting something. We can hear three to five notes when ever the wife is in suspicion, it adds to the drama and the mystery that the wife is experiencing. Also in the Malolos Exit episode, the music sounds provincial which makes us know where they are from and what their personality is.

This film is simply unique. In the expressway, it’s smooth, it’s wide, and it’s bright, no problems according to the characters. Anything can happen in an expressway, there is a story inside every car in the expressway. The thing is that this film is all about love. Love is the central theme of this film as the guy is cheating on his wife. But then he still loves his wife and it shows in every episode. He is guilty of his sin and he wants to make it up with his wife. Every episode is an imagination of the guy as he imagines the possible situations if they were different people. Just like the expressway, every story has a beginning, a body, and an end. Every episode has the same beginning, and body, but every episode ends in different ways.

North Diversion Road has one entrance, one long body, and many exits. The couple’s story is just like the expressway, it started with the relationships, it continues with one body where there is suspicion and then a revelation, but every episode has different endings. This film succeeds in every aspect. Acting is superb and even the writing. As what I’ve written earlier, only a handful of Filipino films have been this unique. This film is something we all could all be proud of. Just like what the film’s song says, “If there are tears in her eyes, and her heart …………….. You should tell her that you love her, that you will go on loving her, in the present and forever.” The guy did just that, and in the end, everything was okay.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sideways and Me....a continuation

Disclaimer: I wrote this during the 1st semester of 4th year, i just want to share this to everyone

Miles from that scene finally revealed himself, and what better way to do this than to talk about something that interests him, wine. It was subtle revelation as he talks about himself though symbolized by the very grape from which his favorite brand of wine comes from. Miles lived a lonesome, depressing life. He lived in a shell. But then this event occurred, and someone took him out of his shell. Miles was a bit shy about his life that is why he disguised it by comparison from a grape. But what is seen here is that he finally saw someone who he can trust, someone who can understand him. I can see so much of myself in him.

I lived most of my life in a shell. I'm like a person who is sitting in a corner, letting others pass him by. It was a sad life. I was afraid of sharing my life to other people because I was afraid of what they might say, or what they may think of me. I did not trust people that easily. Like Miles, I was looking for that certain someone who can take me out of my shell, to force me to stand from the corner that I have been sitting on all my life and make me move on. Just like Miles, I have found that someone. God blessed me with this person and made me stand up again. She brought me out of my shell, and you know what, I felt like I was born again. It felt like everything else opened, widened, there was more breathing space. I have found someone who understands me and makes me feel special. She made me feel important to her, and to everyone else. She's a very special person, though she sometimes denies it, she is special to me and to everyone else. I have found my Maya. And like Miles in the movie, I love her.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sideways and Me

Sideways is one of my favorite films, and this scene which i am writing about is a pivotal scene in the story. It is a revelation of loneliness and tragedy, but at the same time a start of a beautiful relationship between the characters involved. As i watch this film, i can't help but compare it to my life.
"Why are you so into Pinot? It's like a thing with you."
"I don't know. It's a hard grape to grow. As you know. It's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's not a survivor like Cabernet that can grow anywhere and thrive even when neglected. Pinot needs constant care and attention and in fact can only grow in specific little tucked- away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing growers can do it really, can tap into Pinot's most fragile, delicate qualities. Only when someone has taken the time to truly understand its potential can Pinot be coaxed into its fullest expression. And when that happens, its flavors are the most haunting and brilliant and subtle and thrilling and ancient on the planet."
- Miles and Maya, Sideways
These are lines from the academy award winning film Sideways. This scene, which by the way was well acted by both Virginia Madsen and Paul Giamatti, strengthened the relationship between Miles and Maya as they talked about wine, about the grape which the Pinot was made from. Miles talked about the complexities of the grape. But Miles in this line was referring to himself, a lonely man. Such a sad and heartbreaking statement.
Maya, because of this subtle revelation from Miles, falls in love with him. Maya touching Miles' hand though he backs away, is already a proof about the care that Maya has for Miles. Miles was a tough nut to crack as Maya continuously tries to reach out for Miles.
Maya's answer:
"No, but I do like to think about the life of wine, how it's a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing, how the sun was shining that summer or if it rained... what the weather was like. I think about all those people who tended and picked the grapes, and if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I love how wine continues to evolve, how every time I open a bottle it's going to taste different than if I had opened it on any other day. Because a bottle of wine is actually alive -- it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks -- like your '61 -- and begins its steady, inevitable decline. And it tastes so fucking good."
- Maya, Sideways


The first time we met , it was like a typical social occasion. Getting to know each other, talking to one another. Friends were made. As time pass by, we were more attached to each other. We spend more time together, she speaks I listen, I talk she pays attention. Until the time when I feel kinda weird. I can’t eat properly, for example, because I kept on thinking about her. I can’t get her off my mind. She’s in my dreams, my ideas, and prayers. She became my inspiration. Yet whenever I’m about to meet her my emotions begins to grow. I think this is love. Yet I don’t know if she feels the same way that I do. But to tell her what I’m feeling, I can’t grasp enough courage, because I’m afraid of her response.”
“I wasn’t looking for love, yet its love that came to me. It gave me enough confidence to tell her. It knocked at my heart and I accidentally answered.”
“We were getting to know each other a little too well. We're starting to show our feelings and people can tell. Every time that her eyes meet mine I light up like a neon sign. Yes we're getting to know each other a little too well.”

At first i wrote this poem without thinking of anyone. But now, this is for someone...

.Citizen Kane - An Analysis (And a few Ebert bashing....hehe)

(This is my personal analysis of the movie "Citizen Kane" and critique of Roger Ebert's review of this film. Please excuse the typos and the grammatical errors, it will improve in the coming writings. Actually, this is the exact paper from my film class and I got a very high grade for this. As a communicatiion student, I've got to practice writing my analysis of certain movies, plays, and others. Many more to come...... enjoy)
I would like to begin with the same quote Roger Ebert used at the beginning of his review: ``I don't think any word can explain a man's life,'' this is the line where the movie revolves. We are treated to flashback scenes provided by the memories of Kane’s friends. This movie covers the life of Charles Foster Kane; it’s all about him, from his rise until his eventual demise. Not only was it the demise of power and wealth, but also of his humanity. Roger Ebert has written somewhat of a review or a paper regarding Citizen Kane. He explained this movie’s history and meaning. First, Roger Ebert introduced us with the use of the same quote I used earlier. He opened with the brief retelling of both the opening shot and the last shot in the movie. Then from there he explained the meaning of Rosebud, Kane’s dying word. “Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn't get, or something he lost,'' says Thompson, he uses lines from the movie to further emphasize his point. Then he uses metaphors with the use of other movies. I have to agree that Ebert just wanted to show off with the use of metaphors. If he thinks that by using these metaphors it would make him knowledgeable of film and that it would make him sound smart, I think that he should think again because I’m not impressed. (I’ll continue my criticism of Mr. Ebert in my conclusion as I’ll focus more in achieving the required things to write in this paper.) Then after which, he gives a rather brief background of the movie. He then continues to explain the film with the use of quotes, specific scenes, and then his own observation. In this paper, I will provide my reaction as to whether or not I agree with the points Ebert wrote in his paper. Then after which, before I conclude, I will write my own impression of the film.
I’ll agree with some of Roger Ebert’s points about the movie Citizen Kane. It seems as if Mr. Ebert has seen this film a hundred times and he has studied it together with other people as what he has stated in his writing. He is capable of explaining the movie scene by scene. First is his point regarding Rosebud, I believe that “Rosebud is the emblem of the security, hope and innocence of childhood, which a man can spend his life seeking to regain,” as what Mr. Ebert has stated in his writing. The sled with the name Rosebud is Kane’s childhood sled. The sled has been with him since his childhood as what was seen in the childhood scene where the young Kane was playing in the snow. It is a symbol of Kane’s childhood, a time when he was still innocent and free from the entire world’s evilness. ``Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn't get, or something he lost,'' says Thompson, something that he has lost. The last shot of the childhood scene where the young Kane was taken away ends with a shot of a sled being buried in the snow. The sled was something that Kane enjoyed, with it, he is happy, he doesn’t experience any problem, and the shot of the sled being buried in the snow just shows how all these happiness he experienced will soon be buried. Then as the film ends with the final shot of Rosebud, we then soon realize that the sled was buried in all of the wealth and power Kane has had. Rosebud is somewhat the symbol of the love and happiness Kane has been looking for, but then he was blinded with his power, which brings me to the point where I disagree with Ebert’s point where he wrote “True, it explains nothing, but it is remarkably satisfactory as a demonstration that nothing can be explained.” The last word wasn’t written there just to be a mere decoration or a dramatic effect. Ebert doesn’t revolve his explanation on the sled because for him it isn’t important, it isn’t the thing that we’re looking for, it’s the memory that people have of us when we’re gone that is important. As what I’ve written earlier, the sled was the symbolism of Kane’s innocence and happiness, and it was lost. Ebert himself said that Rosebud is the “emblem of the security, hope and innocence of childhood, which a man can spend his life seeking to regain.” Then he said that the sled is not the answer, then isn’t the movie about the story of one man and his search for love and happiness? Then why isn’t the sled the answer, why isn’t it the answer? For me, Rosebud is the answer; it is the epitome of what Kane was and what he wanted to have. It is the central theme of the movie, one man’s search for happiness and love. It is the answer to Kane’s ongoing problems; it is the answer to the film’s central conflict which is within Kane. The sad part is that the answer was never found, and is forever be lost.
Another point that Ebert raises is that “The structure of ``Citizen Kane'' is circular, adding more depth every time it passes over the life.” I hate to write this but have to agree with him on this one, the movie does offer depth as the movie goes on. The News on the March news reel serves as the prologue to the whole story, giving us a brief background of Kane through the use of a newsreel. It’s like we were given a map, it gives us the location of a certain place, but most importantly, it gives us an idea of what the place would be like. Then as we visit the place, we are treated to the entirety of the whole place. Same goes with the newsreel and the movie. The newsreel serves as the map giving us certain ideas of what the story would be like, of whom Kane is and the things that he has done. Then after this, we are treated to flashbacks courtesy of Kane’s close friends and allies. This gives depth to the knowledge we’ve already attained through the newsreel. It gives us more information about the character, and with this, we are to connect with the character as he struggle with life. Then Ebert continues by writing that “By flashing back through the eyes of many witnesses, Welles and Mankiewicz created an emotional chronology set free from time.” If the film was told chronologically from his childhood until his death, I don’t think that the film would work. It would become a mere narrative depending on a single source; there wouldn’t be any mystery which makes the move more interesting. The use of flashbacks through the memories of Kane’s friends adds more drama to the story. It gives us the different points of view from the people closest to Kane, which makes us wonder, who Kane is really. But one thing is certain, and we’ve heard this from all his closest friends, Kane is searching for something, it’s making him more depressed, and it’s pulling him down.
“The screenplay by Mankiewicz and Welles is densely constructed and covers an amazing amount of ground…….” I believe that this is one, if not the greatest script ever written in the history of cinema. As what I’ve stated earlier, the use of the flashback method is very effective to the story. It adds more depth and drama to the story of Kane. Both writers surely love their characters and placed perfect care in each and every one of them, especially Kane. We get to care for him, but at the same time despise him for the way he treated the people around him. He is somewhat of a villain that you could pity. The characters around him are no different. They weren’t placed there just to fill space; they were placed there for a certain purpose. And just like Kane, we tend to care for them also. All the events that happened in the movie concerning Kane justify the very message of his search for love and happiness. We knew that Kane was separated from his parents, and then we experienced his rise to power. The writers also used lots of symbolism, for one, the sled or Rosebud. Rosebud was the reason for the investigation, and it is the reason for the revelation of Kane’s life.
“A man always seems the same size to himself, because he does not stand where we stand to look at him.” These were Ebert’s closing words for his writing. I hate to admit it but I agree with Ebert’s point. The use of Deep Focus in the movie served as a symbolism to what Kane is becoming. The thing is that Kane never realized that his life was all messed up. But for us, we know that he is starting to fall. The use of Deep Focus showed Kane becoming small, then becoming big as he approaches the camera. To us, he is rather small, but for him, he never realized this change in size. Same goes with his life. We knew that with Kane’s actions, he is digging his own grave, but he never realized it as he continues to do the things that he does till until he realizes it in the very end when everything was too late.
For me, Citizen Kane is a movie that is searching for answers. It has a mystery, the mystery of Rosebud. Who or what is Rosebud? We then realize that Rosebud is a sled (or was a sled) from Kane’s childhood. The sled was placed in the furnace at the end of the film never to be found again. The earlier paragraphs stated that the sled symbolizes innocence and childhood, happiness, love and warmth. These are the things Kane has been searching for through the course of his life. Sadly he was never to attain these things. The mystery was said to be Rosebud that it had no meaning that the movie was all about the person Kane. The mystery wasn’t resolved in the movie, but for us in the audience (those who were closely paying attention) the mystery of Rosebud has been solved with the final shot of the sled being thrown in the furnace. We then see that the sled symbolizes all the things that Kane has been looking for. But the thing is the sled was buried under the wealth and power of Kane, as with the shot of all his possessions being placed in boxes maybe for auction or for the museum. I think that the shot of the sled being buried in the snow when the young Kane was taken away from his parents served as a foreshadowing to Kane’s eventual fall. But we never realized it until the end that we might become tempted to visit that certain scene. The sad thing is that Kane never found true happiness until the time of his death which makes this story more of a tragedy. Rosebud is the very reason for the revelation of Kane’s life. The film revolves around the search for Rosebud, but we were treated to something more important, which is Kane’s personal struggles. Another thing is the very first shot of the movie, where the “No Trespassing” sign is shown, it simply shows the kind of life Kane has. He lived a secluded life, yet he looks for meaning, for happiness, for love. But yet he was blinded with wealth and power that he thought that it is in these elements that he could find true love and happiness. He was wrong. I believe that the sled is the answer, but it’s the answer that was never found. Kane never found the thing that would make him sensible, the reporters never found their story.
In conclusion, I believe that the sled plays an integral role in the story. Obviously, through out the movie, we didn’t know that Rosebud was actually a sled. One of the things that went into my mind was that this was Kane’s pet name to his second wife, Susan. It seems as if we were made to believe that Rosebud was a very important thing from the start of the film, until we arrive into the middle or the body of the movie when we were made to experience Kane’s life and made to forget about Rosebud. It’s only until the end when we bring back our focus on Rosebud and realize that it was childhood possession of Kane. Roger Ebert reviewed this film in mostly a positive way; actually this is more of a study of the film rather than a review. Ebert focused more on the message/symbolisms and the history of the film. He shared his own opinions and studies about this film. The thing is that he mentioned the acting, production design, and the cinematography of the movie but only until there. He didn’t expound on the importance of each element as he just focused on their beauty and innovativeness. Actually he did mention the importance and the use of Deep Focus but he placed that in his closing. For me, his writing isn’t that organized that it jumps from one topic to the other. As what I’ve written earlier, he doesn’t expound on some of the elements in the film that he just mentions them. His use of quotes from the movie was rather effective as it helped explain his points. But the thing is that I despise Roger Ebert and I think his first partner, Siskel, was a better critic than he is. Roger Ebert doesn’t even have a proper opening and ending as I was left hanging after reading his writing. I know that he isn’t perfect and he makes mistakes once in a while but I really don’t like him as a critic which makes me want to criticize him more (hehehe). But all criticisms aside, Ebert wrote everything that he thought about the film and it further adds to my knowledge of the film. Personally, I loved Citizen Kane, and I think that this is still the greatest movie of all time. This might be a one hit wonder for Orson Welles’, but he made one hell of a movie. I would like to end my paper with a quote from the movie which Ebert also used in his writing: “All he really wanted out of life was love, that’s Charlie's story--how he lost it.”

The Beginning

welcome to my blog site. Nothing special really about this site, it's just me speaking my mind. You guys enjoy and leave your comment if you want. Peace to ya'll