Right in one corner, in a campus I’ve never stayed in before, I sat. Waiting as the mosquitoes feasted on my biceps. Around me are young model wannabes with their DSLRs, taking pictures of themselves. A cheering crowd to the ongoing volleyball game. The J-Lo music to accompany the momentum.
I was the loser in the corner, holding a book and on top of it, a notebook, and on top of it a pen moving. Darn, look how bad my handwriting has become! Soon, “penmanship” will become extinct. Like how notebook could mean something else now.
This was what was happening. I arrived around 8am at USC Downtown Campus for the Active Vista Film Fest 2012 (August 23-24, and yes, the post was late) that was supposed to start at 10:00am. Excited? I was but that was not the reason I was that early. Anyhow….
I took a leave from work for this event. On the list of films to watch were Bunso by Ditsi Carolino, Senior Year by Jerrold Tarog, and Kinatay by Brillante Mendoza. And I was thrilled. I have not heard of Active Vista before but it turns out that this was not their first time in Cebu. I was glad to partake.
I thought I was going to enjoy the movies…I discovered that I was not meant to enjoy them. I had to be disturbed by them. I did enjoy the films, yes, but there was more to enjoying them. I had to be haunted by their message or not even the message but the truths they are trying to portray. Truly, the films consumed my energy as they tackled a lot of issues that need more than attention but action. Plus, I had to watch the films alone, there was no one who could listen to my rants. Agony.
In Bunso (a documentary), it told us that prison is not the place for children. Because instead of changing them, the children are being exposed to even worse crimes when placed in an environment full of convicts. Worse, they can be raped or abused in the cells. Back in 2006-07, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act was passed and it includes the provision: A child fifteen (15) years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an intervention program. Just this year, congressed passed a bill amending such law and lowering the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to 12. The Juvenile Justice Network and other youth groups oppose to this. “Jail is no place for a child”.
Senior Year is the colourful story of high school – where dreams and personalities are honed. The place where you want to change the world or change yourself every time. And the place where you think you are too young and all you can do is hope for everything to be better. Eventually, more than 10 years later, without realizing that you are older and dreams did not come true – you are still hoping that change will unfold and the world is a better place.
Kinatay is the film that made Brillante Mendoza a Cannes Film Festival Best Director. Well, I closed my eyes in so many parts of the film. I could not ingest the reality it was showing me. While we do see a lot of gruesome films in the form of Texas Chainsaw, Saw, Hostel, and all those psycho thrillers, this one just feels too real to ignore. I closed my eyes, I hope I was just literal when doing that.
More about Active Vista here: https://www.facebook.com/ActiveVista