Sunday, September 29, 2013

Scenes From A Marriage

Year: 1973 | Directed by: Ingmar Bergman | Roundup Rating: A+

Ingmar Bergman is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers (he ranked number three on my 2013 auteur list) and from his ouvre Cries & Whispers was my personal favorite. But that was before I've seen this one ― because everything changed from thereon. Originally a five part TV miniseries, I only managed to watch the theatrical version of Scenes from a Marriage, starring Bergman's longtime and favorite actor Erland Josephson (who can boast the most number of collaboration with the Swedish auteur) and Norwegian actress Liv Ullman

Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke used this movie as a yardstick in making Before Midnight. There are so many marriage films out there, I can even name a few of them, but this Bergman masterpiece probably started it all and raised the bar higher for everyone attempting to create a movie about couples struggling in their relationship. 

Bergman's films have always been a careful meditation into the psyche of it's filmmaker's past. I've been thinking the length of autobiographical influenced to this movie, especially in the aspect of marriage. Bergman himself was never good in his own marital commitments, he was divorced four times out of his five marriages. He even admitted in an interview that he left his ex-wife while she was suffering from an illness. If there is one out of the many things I could take from this movie then that would be the fact that there are no marriages secure enough to last for a lifetime and that people are naturally complex beings. 

Johan (Josephson) and Marianne (Ullman) are considered by their friends as an ideal couple. In the opening scene they were being profiled and interviewed by a journalist due to their successful marriage. They were both divorcee, but successful in their own careers  as a doctor and a lawyer. They were friends first, got married for companionship and their love for each other grow from there. Having the perfect balance between their work and family, two children, a lovely house without any financial problems, they seem to have everything figured out. Smooth sailing it was, until Johan fell in love with a 23 year old woman named Paula (not seen in the movie). He confessed this to Marianne a day before he would leave for Paris with his young mistress. Everything was portrayed realistically. As their marriage disintegrates Johan appears to be cold and callous and lacking of any empathy for his wife, a complete definition of an arse hole. Marianne, on the other hand, restrains herself from any lamentation, while the audiences tears apart on her behalf. 

It would take years before they finally put an ink to their divorce. Marianne struggles to move on while Johan enjoys the duality of his life  living with a mistress and having a sexual affair with her soon to be ex-wife. (Which is every foolish man's dreams). His idea of being a man is letting a woman down, wanting them to be at his beck and call, and using them for his sole benefit until they have no identity of their own. 

Time skip here. Marianne wants to fast track their divorce, she looks forward to a possibility of remarrying, of happiness. Johan, on the contrary, is exhausted with his relationship with Paula and has realized that he wants her back. However, she needs him no more, at least not as a husband to come home to night after night. They were divorced afterwards, they married other people, remain friends, but in-between they continuously have sexual liaison's together behind their partners backs. Marriage and relationships are a confusing puzzle, because after all the years of their stupidity it is obvious that these two still love each other and can't let go of what they have. 

I was re-watching PT Anderson's film Magnolia two days ago and the character Earl Partridge comes to mind as I try to piece together Johan and the rest of the male populations reason for cheating on their wives. Earl Partridge and Johan did what they did out of their selfish "machismo" reasons. They crave for extra-marital sex because they think it would make them more of a man.  It's an old and phased out state of mind, but men are men, and they are ruled by their balls not by their brains. However, in my opinion, Johan's action is more on, "hurting someone before they can hurt you," kind of thing. Men are simply obtuse creatures who tends to hate what is blasé, repetitive and old. Different sexual positions were invented because of their fondness for things that are exciting and new. And clearly, mistresses are good at that. But let's face it, when they get tired of eating out they would always come back home. Unfortunately, not all women turns a blind-eye on cheating or wait around for a man to come back to them, especially if they've been had or abused physically or verbally so many times. 

Going back to Scenes from a Marriage, I think it is rare to see a movie that focuses on the couple alone, and does not involved a huge cast or a storyline that widens the gap of the story. After all, marriage is about the two people in it and not everyone else. A lot of underacting by the actors, which is a good thing, because real people do not exaggerate their emotions. The images, courtesy of the great Sven Nykvist, is a feast in the eye and a classic, it doesn't need those 3D effects to look real because it does have a life of its own. 

What more can I say about Ingmar Bergman? He's superb as always, especially with the way he fleshes out his characters, may it be in the screenplay or through the performances of his actors. He writes what he knows best, mostly it's about his search for God, but this time around it has to do with his own demons, relationship wise. Although the story moves slowly he doesn't dawdle or beat around the bush. He takes his time to really develop the characters, until the audiences have a sense of understanding and affinity with them. There's a lot of close-up shots in his films, especially with this one, but I think it's his way of emphasizing their internal attitudes instead of his or her surroundings. By observation in the eye movement and the gestures there's meaning behind them and Bergman used those close-up angles for us to interpret a character beyond the realm of their dialogues and interaction with others. Out of all the films by Bergman this is "the-one" that really broke my heart. I cried everytime Liv Ullman was playing nice, passive and accepting of his husband's decision. You want to console her after she found out that her friends knew of his husband's cheating a long time ago. 

I couldn't help myself from saying this, but I think this movie is the prelude to Nancy Meyer's It's Complicated, before they were divorced and started to have an affair. So basically, although I am not entirely sure, Bergman really influenced a lot of marriage films we have today, which is a good thing as long as they can keep it up or make good of it. 


Heaps of sparkling good luck for you on your special day. My firm believer and number one fan and band-aid. Always going for the miles to see me after my dreams. Thank you for the heart-to-heart conversations and hangout sessions. College days were a blast and I seriously wouldn't pass Algebra without you. Hahaha. You are one of my favorite persons in this whole galaxy. Our pact as "The Untouchables" will be intact forever more. No matter what happens we'll always have each other's backs despite of time, distance and change. Have the happiest birthday mi amiga, also known as Shinjee, Helga, Hyde's, Haide...Miss you lots. xoxo :-;

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Must-See Pinoy Films For 2013

Two Filipino language films that everyone must see this year -- fresh from their wins at the recently concluded Cinemalaya are Sana Dati by Jerrold Tarog and Transit by Hannah Espia, with the latter receiving a prestigious honor as the country's entry for Foreign Language film at next year's Academy Awards. Sana Dati is currently having a national screening, and I'm crossing my fingers that I could catch it at the cinema's one of these days. 

Bicycle Thieves - Clip

I've seen this film last year and I could feel a sense of pity for this man after he lost his bike -- a must-have item for his job. In a moment of desperation he decided to stole somebody else's bicycle only to be caught red-handed by the unforgiving mobbed of Romans. What a cruel twist of fate indeed. His son, who idolizes him, cried and pleaded to the policeman and the owner to cut his father loose. One of the most ironic films I've seen in my lifetime. Imagine, after running on foot to chase the thief all over the city, hungry, and jobless, he was shamed instantly for doing the same deed, while his thief is out there rejoicing. De Sica sure knows how to stab you upfront with the bitterness of reality.

MUBI: My Top 10 Auteurs

Just updated my list of favorite auteurs. Here is my top 10 for this year; the below 20 are not ranked in order though. For the first time in years it consisted of different nationalities: Alfred Hitchcock (British), Wong Kar-wai (Taiwanese), Woody Allen/PT Anderson/Billy Wilder (American), Michael Haneke (Austrian), Kieslowkski (Polish), Jean-Luc Godard (Swiss-French), Hayao Miyazaki (Japanese). For a change there are two Asians who made it on my top 10 bracket (Kurosawa, one step closer and you'll be here soon!). It seems my taste, as I am growing older, leans to somber stories and film making, more conversational and substantial in their context, compared to ten years or five years ago. 

To view the complete list please visit

Movie Quote: The Hours

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Little Helpers: Posca-Camposano Nuptials @ 08.03.2013

The Cake Rack Bakeshop (formerly Sugar Rush by Anne)
Since the first day I step foot into your office for inquiries you made this little event planner very much welcome and at ease. The whole experience of choosing the number of layers and design for a wedding cake was stressful indeed but you made it easy for the couple's to choose from the entire gamut. The finished product really live up to everyone's expectations. Thanks for designing a cake that match up to the Breakfast at Tiffany's wedding theme -- it look so sophisticated and the taste is just delicious.

Entourage Flowers, Wedding Assistance and Hosting by ThinkWarren

Thank you Bea for putting together the entourage flowers per our instruction that truly complimented the Posca-Camposano wedding theme. Everyone is just raving about their bouquet, especially my sister, and it is still sitting on her vase until now. My mother couldn't even complain. I would also like to send my gratitude to the entire team of ThinkWarren for assisting us, and in particular, me, before-during-and-after the event. For taking my nagging phone calls, listening to my instructions and for following them spot-on. Thank you Sir Warren for hosting the reception beautifully and for making it really fun for everyone to participate at the program. I wish you and your company all the success in the future. 

Ceremony and Reception Music by Infinite Soul Acoustic

If there is one thing that I am grateful for for the internet then that would be my luck in finding this band through YouTube. There are so many wedding band's out there but they couldn't cater to my ideas and needs. Most of them are expensive and difficult to reach. I drop by a message to Infinite Soul Acoustic's Facebook account for inquiries and got a response right away from Ms. Monica Gil. You can schedule a meet-up with them and they would gladly fit you right in at your most convenient time and place. They do accept special song requests, but make sure to consider the date of your event. They played every song that we put up in our playlist and their performance is nothing short of fantastic. They sound great at YT but they are even better live. If you are considering them for your event, my advise for you is to BOOK THEM right up! You won't regret you choice. Lastly, I'll have to send my thanks to the band, especially to Ms. Monica, for accepting some of our late song requests, for answering my text messages, for being so punctual and professional, and for making my sister and brother in-law's wedding truly memorable. You truly live up to your word. 

Event Styling and Catering by K by Cunanan

For my sister's wedding I want our caterer to be the best. And that best in my opinion is no less than K by Cunanan. We chose the cheapest package and yet we still get all the satisfaction guaranteed treatment from them, from the food that is oh so yummy and the design that made the venue look like a whimsical Tiffany's. Our EA Ms. Monique Pascual took our pegs and made the Tiffany Blue scheme and our Audrey Hepburn dream come to life. Our family's money was very well spent. The reception, with those centerpieces were both simple and idyllic, and the food was to die for - it stuffed our guests's famished stomach and made them very satisfied and full. The couple were on cloud nine and totally happy with their service. 

Hair and Make-up by Touch of Arlan

Thank you very much Arlan and his team for making the bride and everyone else look incredibly pretty for this very special occasion. I gave him sample pegs for our hairstyle -- my sister did an Audrey Hepburn number and mine was Carey Mulligan's Bob hairdo, and they executed them effortlessly. They even made my mother and aunt look very hip, sleek, chic and younger than their age...haha! Extra thanks for all the doses of laughter they kicked in during the process. They truly made our day a happy one. If you need any hair and makeup services for your event then, I highly recommend them to you guys. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nick Drake - Day is Done

"When the part is through / Seems so very sad for you / Didn’t do the things you meant to do / Now there’s no time to start anew /Now the part is through”

Every song by Nick Drake makes me teary eyed and introspective. This one always hits me on the gut level, especially when I’m listening to it during the gloomy and windy weather. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fall Anime Preview 2013

Time flies by so fast, and now I'm here posting the last anime preview for 2013. Yes, believe it or not, it is now Fall in Anime-landia. Just a few episodes from the Summer season and our new line-up would finally kick start. I'm still having some separation issues from some of the shows that I've been truly enjoying last quarter. But well, every thing has its end and every ending has a new beginning, at least for our favorite studios. Here are some of the titles I'll be keeping my eyes on for the Fall. Crossing my fingers that they'll be worth my time, especially for my year-end roundup. 

P.S. I forgot to include the new Gundam franchise on this list.

Watch the trailers here:


Germilyn Jammy favorite ka-hangout in beauty bars and my go-to person when it comes to girly things, our favorite baker, my favorite shopping & taste buddy, and my long time friend since our NFI days. Just in case I won't be able to greet you tomorrow here is my greeting's in advance. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Welcome to the 3 year's old club. Love and light, Chin.

Movie Quote: The Ice Storm

"In issue 141 of the Fantastic Four, published in November, 1973, Reed Richards had to use his anti-matter weapon on his own son, who Aannihilus has turn into the Human Atom Bomb. It was a typical predicament for the Fantastic Four, because they weren't like other superheroes. They were more like a family. And the more power they had, the more harm they could do to each other without even knowing it. That was the meaning of the Fantastic Four: that a family is like your own personal anti-matter. Your family is the void you emerge from, and the place you return to when you die. And that's the paradox - the closer you're drawn back in, the deeper into the void you go."
- Paul Hood by Rick Moody, The Ice Storm

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sensory Overload: Anime Summer 2013

I feel sorry and quite ashamed for the late posting of my 'Sensory Overload' entry for the Summer-Season. I've had a quite the busy schedule for the past few months that kept me from writing the previously mentioned entry. However, sufficed it to say, it is not a valid excuse to not post it anyways. So before the Anime-Autumn take its course here is my ranking for the summer season, of course, in descending order. 

1. Gin no Saji (A-1 Pictures)
Slice of life has never been more realistic in my opinion. This anime puts the genre into a whole new level. From the same mangaka of 'Full Metal Alchemist', Arakawa has grabbed my attention and never, for one second, let me go. Damn, food porn every single episode! This anime is so friggin' marvelous, there were times I even wanted to be inside the story and to study in that school or to work in a dairy farm. 

2. Uchoten Kazoku (P.A. Works)
Japanese folklore and magic. I'll never get tired of watching anything with magic. And this anime is nothing sort of ordinary. A very well-written story indeed about a family, their crux, a lot of twist and turns along the way. Do not be driven away by the animation though. it!

3. Watashi ga Motenai no wa dō Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! (Silver Link)
A drama story coating itself as a black-comedy. Either you'll love the lead character or you'll hate her for being a pain in the ass. But this anime shows us perfectly the realities of a person with serious psychological problems. The funny side is only a front, but in my opinion there is nothing more heartbreaking than Tomoko and her lonely plight. 

4. Blood Lad (Brain's Base)
I've never been into anime's with fat breasted female characters, but Blood Lad is undeniably awesome in all proportions and never boring, not even once. You'll end up liking every single characters -- the bad guys and the extras are no exemptions. Kudo's to Brain's Base for a magnificent job on the animation. 

5. Servant x Service (A-1 Pictures)
It is refreshing to watch an anime about working-class adults - and their problems. But let's be honest here, I love Servant x Service best when the story focuses on the pairing between Hasebe and Lucy. After all, I'm still a sucker for good love stories. 

6.  Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun 2nd Season (Studio Deen)
One of the most ignored anime's today, with some viewers disregarding its many good qualities. I've seen the first season and given that the pacing of the story was rather slow, but once it got to episode 12 all the way to season 2 Hakkenden became an interesting adventure piece and has consistently produce one of the most interesting mysteries that grabs you by the neck week-after-week. Very well drawn characters and backgrounds, never had a single fluke since season 1, and it will probably be a strong contender for best animation on my 2013 roundup.  

And the other half of this list (from number 7 to number 12):

Visit their Websites:

De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone)

Year: 2013 | Directed by: Jacques Audiard | Roundup Rating: A

For what its worth, if appropriate, you can renamed this movie as  "blood and sweat" for all its hard-boiled scenarios that comes across as unflinchingly violent, almost at par with the cinema of  neo-realism - sans the used of non-actors. Ugly is the word I associate intrinsically with the former genre, after all neo-realism, coining it astutely, is about life in general — a wasteland  of mess, fucked ups and human decay. Audiard's motion picture is a  raw entertainment art piece that rouses its audiences the ardor of  its pure imperfection.

The emotional and evocative jolt displayed by the lead actors — Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard, comes close-to-personal  and at times terrifyingly convincing, both sparingly and unsparingly  in their silences and in their intense outbursts — the way  circumstances are dealt with supposedly in real life. 

When it comes to the story Rust and Bone is more than just a  depiction of what it seems to be firsthand. Above all, I think it is a story about love, its redemptive power and ability to transform us even if we are scarred deeply and the wounds inflicted by incidents or by our own making appears to be beyond repair. This film shows us that by all means what is hopeless can be saved, especially when there is  someone willingly able to believe, may it be from friendship or  family or anyone whom we choose to be connected with in our life. 

I always love a good love story and I think this one is not your  typical one at that. If you enjoy love stories but vehemently detest  chick flicks Rust and Bone would do good for you, particularly if  you like the brutal truth of things — no smoke and mirrors, then this motion picture is highly recommendable for your viewing pleasure. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

HAIM - The Wire

"It felt great, it felt right, oh…But I fumbled him when I came down to the wire.” 

This song is practically stamped on to my head now. I love Haim. Every time I listen to them I can’t help but think that their sound was made from a different decade, more reminiscent of the 80s/and early 90s, but transported into the present time.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The 1975 - Chocolate

Oh my tippy toes. This song makes me wanna dance…as though no one is watching.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers

LSS for Lykke Li’s song “I Follow Rivers”, which I’ve heard played/featured in two French films. First in the official bande annonce of “Blue is the Warmest Color”, and secondly, in the disco sequence of “Rust and Bone”.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Six Seasons of Madness

If the U.S. Library of Congress could deemed any show as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," Mad Men will fit the bill perfectly. Unlike most viewers, I am generally picky with the kind of TV series I watch. I don't fall for the usual crime and action serials, rather I prefer something that would make me think. Watching (movies and TV series) is not just a form of entertainment to me but a way to educate myself, so I screen what I watch and read reviews from reliable news websites, such as Indiewire, HuffingtonPost, New York Times and The Guardian before I jump on the bandwagon. Being a Psychology major, a history buff and some sort of cultural anthropologist Mad Men is my meal ticket to anything and everything 60s. It's been 6 years since its "premier" season and we're now nearing the beginning of a new decade and closing in on a turbulent one. Season 7 next year will surely be a bittersweet experience. Whatever the finale may bring I am eternally grateful for the ride. 

Anime 2013: Second Quarter Season Roundup

Now this post has been delayed for such a long time. It feels like ages since the anime Spring, but due to real life matters that needs my personal attention my review for the First Look and Final Notes from the last season and this season were basically impeded. The third quarter is going to wrap up soon so I might as well do this entry before that day comes. P.S. My apologies for the absence of description to my other choices.

I fell in love with this P.A. Works adaptation the very first time I laid my eyes on the preview. It is scenery porn at its best and the characters are just beautiful, cute and sweet without bordering on the Moe. I could have picked Urobuchi's "Suisei no Gargantia", but except for Ledo, the characters are too rambunctious and fleshly for me, especially during the swimsuit episode. RDG's world of fantasy, magic, encapsulating both spiritual and the Japanese culture is a true delight as a visual. Never mind the poor pre-airing at NicoNico, P.A. Works is a force to be reckon with. 


Choosing Aku no Hana for best story is a risky decision, given the hatred that spurns online for its anime adaptation. But P.A. Works blotched their chance for not giving RDG a two cour run. Hence, I have to choose something that truly stood out to me as a story, in spite of its unattractive animation. Aku no Hana's story has the appeal of a European art film. It is controversial for being difficult. In a sense that our characters are going over the edge. They want to be free from the shackles of boredom and normality, to the point that their actions bring discomfort to the viewers. This is not the anime for the faint of heart, nor for the people of sunny and sweet disposition. Aku no Hana is a diamond in the rough, a rare anime gem, that dares to tell the truth about adolescence and about life. 


I am completely torn between these two. But it's all about the connection and their extraordinary character appeal that is always consistent and never generic in spite of their seemingly typical lifestyle.


The kickass level 5 "biribiri" of Academy City has always been my best girl. Her long overdue comeback is very much needed and welcome by us Mikoto fans. I don't think there is enough words (to express) why I love her to bits. 



In a true sense of the word, Nakamura is a character that is the anti-hero to the hero. She is neither nice and friendly, not a girl-next-door that people would love to hang out with. She spreads misery to her company, even if her intention is to free them from their ennui. She is brutal, a borderline psychopath, and a ruthless human being that uses violence to cover up her frailty. 



Kirino is the worst thing that ever happened to this anime. She is annoying and selfish. There are better characters over her. So why pull (spoiler alert!) the incest route to the very end? It ruins everything. What a waste of time! And I'm not the only one who feels the same way about this. 

"Guren no Yumiya" by Linked Horizon for Shingeki no Kyojin 

"Yokan" by Masumi Ito for Red Data Girl

Red Data Girl by Myu


Hands down to this series. Maybe we didn't get as much character interactions and revelations from our lead triangle compared to the first season, but honestly, I don't care. I love Chihayafuru and the whole reason that keeps me glued each week are the intense karuta matches. And for its entire 25 episode run that's exactly what I get. Just pure, unadulterated, blissful, extensive and at times torturous Karuta. Mizusawa clinched the best team trophy. Taichi finally made it to class A. Desktomu and Tsukuba also won in their respective classes. Chihaya got a fair beating from Megumu. Then there's the showdown of the Karuta Gods: Shinobu and Arata, just in time before the season closes. 

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