Vancouver International Film Festival

Film: The Natural Phenomenon of Madness (Philippines, 2011, 135 minutes)
About: a broken relationship
VIFF website says it’s: sharp, visually arresting, it’s unlike any other Filipino indie
I think it’s: technically well done, but dragging

Film: The Sandman (Switzerland, 2011, 88 minutes)
About: a man who is leaking sand
VIFF website says it’s: part “Eternal Sunshine…”, part Kafka and wholly unique
I think it’s: very entertaining and creative

Film: Headshot (France, Thailand, 2011, 105 minutes)
About: a cop turned hitman turned monk
VIFF website says it’s: smart, original and very, very stylish
I think it’s: good, solid

Film: White (South Korea, 2011, 106 minutes)
About: a pop girl group recording a cursed song
VIFF website says it’s: a zappy horror thriller
I think it’s: scary enough, but it explained itself too much

Film: Box Man Hong Kong Lonely Heart (Canada, HK, Australia, 2011, 4 minutes)
About: a man in a box meets a woman in a bag
VIFF website says it’s: charming
I think it’s: pointless

Film: Advanced Cybernetics (USA, 2011, 4 minutes)
About: a sentient computer on an empty spacecraft
I think it’s: a purely visual experience

Film: Bike Race (USA, 2010, 13 minutes)
About: a bike race and a love triangle
I think it’s: good, entertaining

Film: Friday Night Tights (USA, 2010, 4 minutes)
About: a male dancer
I think it’s: fun

Film: Lose This Child (Israel, 2011, 4 minutes)
About: a newly hatched sea turtle
VIFF website says it’s: a music video
I think it’s: really good

Film: The Man with the Stolen Heart (UK, 2011, 8 minutes)
About: a man who lost his heart
VIFF website says it’s: a surreal oil-painted tale
I think it’s: not telling or showing me anything new

Film: Moving Day (Australia, 2010, 9 minutes)
About: a little girl who finds bad fairies
I think it’s: well done, with a cool story

Film: The Nest (UK, 2011, 12 minutes)
About: a daughter and her overbearing mother
VIFF website says it’s: an amazing oil painterly animated world
I think it’s: beautiful

Film: Out of Erasers (Denmark, Sweden, 2011, 15 minutes)
About: a strange new epidemic
I think it’s: good, creative

Film: Outside In (Austria, 2011, 6 minutes)
About: a suicidal ogre
VIFF website says it’s: actually an old man, not an ogre
I think it’s: interesting

Film: Brick Novax’s Diary (USA, 2010, 16 minutes)
About: an international supercool legend
VIFF website says it’s: about an amazing, crazy, multifaceted life
I think it’s: really funny

Film: Dreileben: Beats Being Dead (Germany, 2011, 88 minutes)
About: a nurse and a hotel maid
VIFF website says it’s: one film in a fascinating, sensational three-film project
I think it’s: a good love story, a film that could stand on its own

Film: Dreileben: Don’t Follow Me Around (Germany, 2011, 88 minutes)
About: friends finding out they dated the same guy
VIFF website says it’s: one film in a fascinating, sensational three-film project
I think it’s: not really value adding

Film: Dreileben: One Minute of Darkness (Germany, 2011, 90 minutes)
About: an escaped convict
VIFF website says it’s: one film in a fascinating, sensational three-film project
I think it’s: a good sad story

Words (to me)

hey :) xx xxxxx x xxxxx xxxxxxxx xx… xxxx xxx xxxx xxx xxxxxxx xx xxxxx xxx xxxxx xxxx… xxxxx xxxx x xxxxxx xxxx xxxxxx xxx xxx xxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxx xxx xxxxxx xx xxx xxxxxxx xxxxx x xxx xx xxxx xxxxxxxxx :P

ANYWAY, yeah, I xxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxx x xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx xxx… but xxx xxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xx xxxx xxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxxx

it’s really truly xxx x xxxxxxxx xxxxx… but x xxxx xxx xxxxx xxxxxx xxx xx xxxxxxxx, and since xx xx x xxxxxxxx xx xxxxx xxxx, it’s xxxx xxxxxxx

xxxx x xxxx x xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx, but I think it’s best if we stay friends

VIFF

I saw Pinoy Sunday at the VIFF about a week ago. It’s a Taiwanese-directed film about Filipino expats in Taiwan. The two lead characters come across a couch, and they carry it across Taipei to where they live. It was funny, I enjoyed it.

Tonight I saw 108 and The Two Escobars. 108 documents a Paraguayan director’s quest to learn about her dead uncle. The uncle turns out to be one of 108 gay men who were arrested and tortured, by order from the dictator at the time. This dictator turns out to be doing all this because his son is gay. The film was good. Made me want to hug someone and say: Be exactly who you are.

The Two Escobars is my favourite so far. It’s an incredible story about Colombian narco-soccer in the 1980s and early nineties, leading up to the death of drug lord Pablo Escobar in the hands of the police and the murder of soccer star Andres Escobar (no relation) after he scored an own goal in the 1994 World Cup. The film explores the political and social contexts surrounding these deaths, as well as the psychology of the characters. Pablo pulled himself out of the slums through illegal means. He donated soccer fields, health centres, schools, and houses to various communities — all from dirty money. Andres loved his country and did his best to keep his integrity amidst the corruption and violence that plagued Colombia. Just… watch this if you get the chance.

Memories. Languages.

Went tobogganing with little kids today. Everyone slid down the slippery, snowy slope on plastic sleds — even the eight-month-old boy, who licked the snowflakes that fell onto his lips.

***

I am eight years old. I take old candles and old crayons, scrub them onto one side of a small, thick wooden board. Then I flip it over, sit on the unwaxed side, knees tucked under my chin, bare feet flat on the board. I wear my rubber slippers on my hands, use them for control as I slide down the inclined, paved street.

***

Me: Ano ang kuliglig?
Sis: Wart!
Bro1: Hinde, cricket!
Sis: Eh ano yung wart?!
Me: Kulugo.

Bro2: Diba dati tinatanggalan natin ng palakpak [yung insektong] yun?
*laughter*
Me: Ano sa Tagalog ang wing?
Bro2: Hindi ko alam!
Bro1: Pakpak! Palpak.

Mom: Namimintas ka nanaman.
Bro2: Namimintas, diba yun yung pag nagha-harvest sa trees?
Me: Namimitas yun.

Asian Studies and other stories

I finished two novels in two days. The first is Comfort Woman by Nora Okja Keller. It’s for my Literature of Korean Diaspora course. Obviously it’s about a Korean woman who was a comfort woman during the Japanese occupation of Korea (pre-WWII). The second is The Rice-Sprout Song by Eileen Chang, for my Modern Chinese Fiction course. It’s about the life of Chinese peasants just after the Land Reform, around the time that the Communist Party was supporting the Koreans in the Korean-American war (post-WWII). Also, in one day, I’ve read half of Three Kingdoms (the Iliad of China) by Luo Guanzhong. It’s about the battles between the different powers in China after the fall of the Han dynasty in the 3rd century. And I’ve watched Jodhaa Akbar for Hindi Film class, about the marriage of Muslim Emperor Akbar the Great to the Hindi Princess Jodhaa in the 16th century. They’re all amazing stories; I’m enamored with Jodhaa Akbar. Well, actually, Comfort Woman was a nice literary piece, but sexual slavery, obviously, is not cool. The next Hindi film we’re seeing is Bandit Queen, about this girl who was married off when she was 11, and of course she was forced to consummate the marriage at that young age, and it’s just so repulsive.

So many stories to be told, not enough time to do the telling.

My twelve-year-old brother got surgery on his knees two days ago. He was born with bow legs, and he had to sleep with leg braces when he was younger, to straighten them. He wasn’t supposed to get the surgery until after the Winter Olympics because some health care funding was diverted to the event, but apparently somebody cancelled, so my brother got an earlier slot. Anyway, I went into the operating room with him, gown and all, to wait on him until the anesthesia kicked in. He was so adorably brave. His last words before going under were, “I can feel a little pain on my wrist [where the IV thing was]. I’m feeling drowsy now. My perception of ralty isnrak shfieua hfsidhf.”

Signs everywhere

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I took 35 photos from April through September this year. Random stuff. It was supposed to be a one-photo-a-day thing but I got busy slash lazy. The photo on the left was taken on June 17 at a bus stop in school. Watch the sunset, it says. The photo on the right was taken on September 7. In school, too. On a building complex layout map. See the writing on the lower right corner? Aren’t we a wholesome bunch. Don’t Worry Be Happy.

So 2009 is ending, eh? I don’t think I have the words to describe the kind of journey that it has been. But on February 15, from inside a plane, I witnessed the best sunrise I’ve ever seen. The plane was flying over a part of the world that was still an hour or two away from sunrise. Looking out the window and down to the ground, it was pitch black. But farther out, the horizon was getting its first rays of sunshine. It wasn’t like a normal sunrise viewing from the ground, where you’d watch the sun’s rays as they approached you; instead I watched the Earth turn to face the light.

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