In accordance with FilmDoo’s mission to provide a platform for more Southeast Asian films and filmmakers, our latest offering is a string of films from the talented director Raya Martin. He was the first ever Filipino filmmaker to be given filmmaking residency at Cinefondation Residence du Festival de Cannes. While he claims that most of his early works were experimental, and to quote his words, “visual acid trips”, his more recent films unfold a more mature side of him.
Check out these films today!
A black-and-white silent film set in the 1890s during the brewing Filipino revolution against Spanish colonialism. A series of tragic and comic sequences depicts the Three Ages of an Indio (“common man”) as he progresses from boy bell ringer in a village church to teenage revolutionary to adult theater actor rehearsing a popular Spanish play.
Martin travels to Itbayat island, of the Batan group, on the far north of the Phillipines, to record the customs of its inhabitants and their life away from modern civilization. Itbayat is open to visitors only in the summer; the storms raging in the region completely isolate the islanders for the rest of the year. The camera gives them the chance to tell their stories. “I was interested in understanding the characteristics of the community beyond its practices and traditions”, says the director. Winner of the Best Documentary award at the .MOV, Manila’s alternative festival dedicated to digital film.
Through present-day reenactment, Autohystoria tells the story of the Bonfacio brothers, two revolutionaries who were raided, captured and tortured deep in the jungle by rival insurgent Emilo Aguinaldo in the Philippines. The brothers were tried and executed for treason in 1897.
Now Showing (2008)
Rita is named after a famous American movie star whom her late former actress grandmother once adored. She lives in one of Manila’s oldest districts with her busy mother and entrepreneurial aunt. Years later, she is still the same girl enamoured with television, now also tending to her aunt’s stall selling pirated DVD movies. Elsewhere, there survives footages of a movie done before the war.
Next Attraction (2008)
The film purports to document the production of a short about a young man’s first sexual experience while doubling as a coming-out film and a multiply layered making-of movie.
Early 20th century Philippines. The sounds of war signal the arrival of the Americans. A mother and son flee to the mountains hoping for a quiet life. One day, the son discovers a wounded woman in the middle of the forest, and decides to bring her home.
Watch Independence on FilmDoo (Philippines only)
Good Night, Spain (2011)
In another lifetime, a Spanish couple takes drugs and teleports through their television set. A troubled young man travels through the countryside and meets a lost woman. During the trip, they discover a museum housing the expatriated paintings of the most important Filipino artist of the revolution. Eventually, the Spanish couple disappears toward their colony. The film is inspired by one of the earliest teleportation accounts, which happened between the Philippines and Mexico during the colonial period.
Watch Good Night, Spain on FilmDoo (Southeast Asia only)
How to Disappear Completely (2013)
In Raya Martin’s thuggish fable of disengagement, a teenage girl grows distant from her parents before possibly vanishing altogether. But this is no angst drama. It’s defiance against a kind of ordered existence, treating death like a game, living life in a soft-focus daze, ready to evaporate if pushed far enough. The girl and all the other faceless kids wander numbly in slow motion through the brush, through the parental jabber, only the electronic drone keeping them from losing their bearings.