Saturday, July 29, 2006

Screening at the Ateneo

Last Thurday, I screened three of my films to a film class at the University of Ateneo.The class is taught by Quark Henares, the director. I screened Hulikotekan v. 2.1; Sausage; and The Retrochronological Transfer of Information (RTOI for short). Chipper, intelligent bunch of kids. It was Experimental Film Day and I showed my stuff alongside Lyle Sacris and John Torres.

Quark made a stab at differentiating our approaches. He said that John Torres (who might be described as carrying on the film diary tradition that Kidlat Tahimik pioneered here) made "personal" films, I (whose films are made in the light of questions like "Would it be possible to make a film that was not the record of an event, but the actual event itself?") made "conceptual" films. Lyle (a director and professional film cinematographer famed for bravura lighting and camerawork) made "visual" films. Not strictly true, of course: Lyle often intends his visuals to express personal sentiments, and John often bases his decisions on the visual lyricism of the image, the "visuals." But not bad as a rough guide as to where we place our primary emphases.

I discovered that it was a good idea to first show 1 film, and then to talk about it, which is what I did for each film. And although this carries the danger of extinguishing the process of engaging the work by giving easy "answers" to the viewers' puzzlement, I think it is possible to use the platform to give "user guides," hints as to the places in the aesthetic universe you (the artist) think the work occupies/engages/makes connections to. The perception of order produces pleasure. In the Philippines, artists either unintentionally give too little information, or flat-out intentionally use silence to cover up the confusion in the work. The trick is to talk just enough to service the frame the work with right quantity and type of information to encourage imaginative participation. To point the puzzlement towards fertile courses of speculation.

A girl came up to me afterwards, and asked about the religious attitudes behind Sausage. Gave a polite polysyllabic answer, ending by saying the "the film IS meant to be blasphemous..." Next time I ought to cut to the chase and just say "O yeah, I hate Jesus. Always have."


Anonymous said...

hi tad! hope you can go to next week's class. oh yeah, i love jesus and i like your films. :) john

angermitano said...

Hi John,

Sorry I wasn't able to go...
Glad you liked Sausage though,