Sunday, September 29, 2002

food and song

Over dinner with with Mike, Jason and Marco last night, I told them that Nikki and I were bored to tears by Mamoru Oshii's Metropolis. We gave the film around 40 minutes and were very impressed by the sophisticated level of animation - I agree, in those terms it's up there with Akira. However, the writing was not sound, the dialogue almost always expository, the characters had the personality of a dial tone, and the pacing made my stubble grow. I concede to all its visual merits, but really, I'd take something like Laputa or My Neighbor Totoro any day. Talk went on to encompass tongue length, collaborative writing, and how we'd handle a sci-fi story featuring a robot that yearns to be free (and how, given the fact that story tropes like that are done to death, it falls to how the story is told that makes it worthwhile). After that, Carl joined Mike and myself until the wee hours of the morning at a videoke joint.

at great cost

Still on films: I first saw "Battle Royale" during its theatrical run in Hong Kong and distinctly remember feeling shock, revulsion, amusement, excitement, intellectual graitification and awe as I watched it. When the film ended, everyone in the theatre gave it a standing ovation. It immediately made the Top 10 Best Films for me. When I got back to Manila, I shared it with my friends who were similarly affected in various degrees. Later, it received a limited run in an independent series of film screenings and more people got to appreciate it. Anyway, Marco told me that there was going to be a sequel, but that the situation was both wonderful and tragic. Here's what I found:

The good is so good, but the bad is so bad that it out-shadows the good, what terrible news for director Kinji Fukasaku...........

Aint it Cool News reports, "BUNTA here with some very sad, yet still inspiring news, in the world of Japanese film. Nipponese news services are announcing today that during yesterday's press conference for BATTLE ROYALE 2 in Tokyo, Kinji Fukasaku (director of films as awesome and diverse as BATTLE ROYALE, FIGHT WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY, and BLACK LIZARD) announced that he is ill with cancer. "

"The 72 year old director was originally diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in 1996 and quickly recovered. Now it has returned and has spread to his bones and spinal column. Facing a regime of radiation treatments, the doctors have advised him not to work on another film. "

"But Kinji says he is going to do BR2 any ways, saying words to the effect that he'd like to use up the rest of his remaining time making movies. "

"Kinji, as always, remains a fighter. Wish him and his family the best."

"Principal photography on BATTLE ROYALE 2 will begin in December and the film is slated for release in summer 2003."

as snow as blood

Over at the Hey Comics! Group, a question has been raised about the availability of Nikki's down-and-dirty fairy tale opus, "As Snow, As Blood". These seven or eight flash movies were work-for-hire for another entity, and are therefore no longer ours, per se (we retain owndership in terms of authorship). We do have copies of the episodes, but I think it would be inappropiate for us to make them available, except for very private viewing for friends and such. The corpus is very disturbing and not suitable for public viewing, after all - which is why it was made available via a pay site, for those individuals with certain...tastes. As for the Harem (who were the direct inspiration for the eponymous characters that appeared in The Lost), we have only a copy of the first episode, though I think a small number were also produced.

news on the lost#3

On the same list, a question was posted regarding the final issue of The Lost. I've decided, pending extenuating circumstances, to release The Lost#3 as a free PDF file for people who want it. The primary reason is financial, as the cost for printing a 56-page comic book has truly become out of reach, especially in the context of priorities. Rather than let the issue go to limbo because I want to wait to have enough extra disposable income to produce it, I'd rather give it away digitally this coming December, as a sort of Christmas gift for those our readers who liked the story. The entire issue has art by Arnold Arre, Toogy's story by Nikki and the main story by me. The way I constructed the final issue reveals my penchant for denial of closure - well, I guess you'll find out soon enough.

Speaking of comic-writing, Jason and I are working on something new and hopefully it will see the light of day - if not here, then in some other country. I'll leave it to him to fill you in on the details over at his blog, if he's in a good mood. This is in addition for a small number of other projects I'm working on with other creators, much of which I hope to show next year.


Still on the topic of local comics, I was informed that a new comicbook came out a couple of days ago - Choco Chips/Cinnamon Chips, a manga-esque little book by a group of young Filipinos, scheduled for a monthly release. The product is printed on high quality glossy paper and retails for P80. Once again, while I do support almost every little bit of effort by various entities or individuals to create local comics, my bias against a lack of national identity rears its ugly head. Gerry A. best voices most of my opinions in post on his blog called "Culture Crash and Me".

Ultimately, it will a partial matter of Erwartungshorizont or the application of literary criticism's "horizon of expectation" - a term used by Hans Robert Jauss to denote the criteria which readers use to judge literary texts in any given period. It is a crucial aspect of his aesthetics of reception (designating shared assumptions attributed to any given generation of readers), constituing judgements made in a trans-subjective way. What this means, simply put, is that the literature of one age is judged, valued and interpreted by its contemporaries, but the views of that age do not necessarily establish the value of text definitively. Neither meaning nor value is permanently fixed, because the horizons of expectation of each generation will change. What that means to me is that while this spate of manga-esque "Filipino" comics dominate the industry space, it will be the test of time (and future critics and readers) who will attribute value to it. Proponents of manga will naturally argue for its value, while people like me will categorically state that it isn't Filipino. Only the future will decide if the manga products of this age are truly Filipino, as the horizon changes after our generation. To me, the value of these "Filipino" manga is that more people are reading. The downside crux is that it isn't Filipino, in terms of art; it isn't Filipino in terms of being able to truthfully ascribe the notion of locality and national identity in its writing ( I don't think they are even aware that they are perpetuating the marginalization of the "Filipino" vis-a-vis extra-national influence); and the writing, in terms of sensibilities or even technique, is just either non-existent or simply lacking to the extent of being moronic.

Generally speaking, I honestly think a bunch of simians could write better.


return to might and magic

In the meantime, Nikki has reinstalled Heroes of Might & Magic IV and naturally I am envious. It's sad really, this envy of mine, because we both completed the game months ago (even downloaded new scenarios) and enjoyed it immensely, then moved on to other new games like Neverwinter Nights. But when I see her playing it, it's like it's completely new and I want to play too! I know it's a temporary feeling though - or is it? Sometimes I take a step back to observe what goes on in my head and I have to laugh. Gah.


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