02 February 2007

when in rome, think of how you will deal with romans, and don't just do as they do

the thing with us film school teachers is that we are judged by our students based on our "clock hours" in the media industry, meaning they'll see if we have the "k" to teach them something based on our knowledge and experience working in the film and tv industry. for instance, if you teach production design, they'll ask what are the films you designed. if you're a scriptwriter, they'll ask what film you wrote already became a film. mga ganun ba. kami noon, as a film student, hindi yata namin ito preoccupation. mas preoccupied kami sa mga natututunan namin sa teacher, whether kulang yun, sobra or something else. basta we were just focused on the knowledge and extra na lang yun na we look at the teacher's background and experience, kahit sinabi na niya o alam na namin beforehand.

marami naman rin kasi diyang practitioners nga na magaling pero di naman magaling magturo ng alam nila. i recently asked a film director if he's willing to teach at the institute pero sabi nga niya hindi siya pang-ganun, and i respect that, although alam kong marami siyang maise-share sa mga kids.

kami naman ngayon sa faculty at instructors, balanse na. our insti director and of course the old-timers in power there want teachers who are practitioners (whether theorists/critiques or technical or both) who have the pedagogical sense to impart knowledge in an academic set-up. medyo mahirap talagang hanapin ito at laging trial and error ang proseso ng ganito. kaya nga may mga nasasala kaming lecturers at nahihilang bago. mahirap lang to deal with faculty kasi di basta-basta ang case namin. kaya mahirap ring balansehin kung meron sa amin na medyo kakaiba ang turo...

pero marami pa rin sa amin ang balanse. isang paa ay nakasawsaw sa media at ang isa ay nakatungtong sa akademya, tulad ng inyong lingkod. kaya minsan, medyo masakit yung marinig sa mga estudyante na walang kredibilidad ang mga tulad naming film faculty dahil di kami gumagawa ng pelikula o aktibo sa labas ng akademya.  may isa pa ngang nagsabi sa akin noong thesis defense niya na kakaiba daw magkomento ang ilang faculty sa thesis proposal defense niya dahil daw inggit sa kanya ang mga ito.  masyadong mayabang na argumento at pahayag. naisipan ko tuloy dumistansiya sa kanya kasi baka mahawaan ako ng di kanais-nais na ere.

pero bakit ko ba ito nililitanya sa inyo? kasi kinokonteksto ko lang itong susunod kong sasabihin. baka kasi kapag nabasa ng mga estudyante ko ay sabihin nilang "sour graping" (or "sweet lemoning" 'ika nga ng friend ko) lang ako sa ibang tao. ang totoo niyan, hindi.

tulad ng nabanggit ko dati, sana'y huwag gamitin ang pananaw, adbokasiya at pagkatao ng mga api ng mga oportunista lamang. medyo ganito kasi ang nangyari sa pelikulang ROME AND JULIET. kung di kayo pamilyar dito, eto ang chorva niya .

di ko alam kung paano ko ito babaklasin. sa dami ng puna ng mga manonood, di ko alam kung saan sisimulan. iniisip ko nga, wag na lang kaya? oo nga, wag na lang.

so what should i write about instead? change topic? hindi rin...

people tell stories for different reasons. as a literary writer, i've learned this thing since i began hanging out in the literary world. kanya-kanya tayo ng rason para magkuwento. bakit ba gusto mong magkuwento? bakit gusto mong ikuwento ang kuwentong kinukuwento mo? bakit mo kinukuwento sa ganito o ganyang paraan ang kuwento mo?  ganyan ang mga tanong na daglian namang nasasagot ng mga kapwa manunulat. ang ilang sagot: may gusto akong sabihin, gusto kong punahin, gusto kong dagdagan, gusto kong punan ang kulang, gusto kong mag-iwan ng mensahe, gusto kong manghingi ng mensahe.

yan. yan ang mga rason. pero kung ang sagot mo sa "bakit mo kinukuwento ang ganyang kuwento" ay "kasi ang magbabasa niyan ay untapped market" e iba ang makakasalubong mo.

batikos. tulad nito.

part of women's struggles over the past decades also has something to do with who should tell their stories. fellow women? men who do not understand and always underestimate women have always recorded women's stories in their own version. this is also why english-speaking feminists hate the world "HIStory" and prefer to call it "HERstory." they say women have been erased in the history of the world and it's time to change that. i agree. if women have been totally rewritten, think about what happened to lesbian stories. practically nonexistent.

so in order to balance things out, should women write their own stories? and to dig deeper, should lesbians tell their own stories? what do you guys think?

it's just like that answer my painter friend maita said many years ago when asked about being labeled as a "lesbian artist" (she's a painter). she said it's okay for her to be labeled as such because she's not bothered if people ask her "are you a lesbian who's an artist or an artist who's a lesbian?" she says she's both, and both inform her work. she works as an artist and as a lesbian. so naturally, her works reflect her lesbian nature.

as a writer, i also tried to answer that before, because i was easily tagged as a "lesbian writer" mainly because i am a lesbian and i am a writer. naturally, they'd look for lesbian-themed stories from me. but i also write about hetero experiences and gay experiences, not just lesbian experiences.  my hetero and gay stories both appear realistic as my lesbians stories, and people never criticized them as being "fake."  why is that so? maybe it's because i've been exposed to they various gay lifestyles that i became familiar with the milieu. and as for the hetero, of course i was once a heterosexual woman. what could be more authentic than that?

so this leads me to my main point: the abovementioned film's director always gets some flak for being a hetero woman who made a lesbian film. she herself said she gets the flak because her film did not cater to the lesbian audience. but she also said her film is for everybody and she didn't set out to do a lesbian film.

uh, hm.... okay... wotevah.

i didn't rush out to see this one when the festival came out late last year. many friends have been telling me the bad reviews. and when i met the director, i quickly understood why.

i admire her willingness of trying to understand this part of the world which she never really knows, daw. she said she made this film for women, daw. but the way it was shot, it was clearly shot for men. hetero men. it has always been a hetero man's fantasy to make love to two women, and the sight of two women hitting it off gets them off. so sick. kulang na lang kumuha ng dildo sina mylene dizon at andrea del rosario at isaksak nila sa mga shaved pekpeks nila to complete the porno fantasy approach. tangina. sabi nga ng friend kong kasama kong manood, all the freaking cliches in the book about "hetero women crossing over to experience forbidden (lesbian) love" is in this freakingly long film.  another friend said "this is a homophobic lesbian film" and i agree with both of my friends.

i guess the director can do all of the lesbian-themed films, stories, plays, tv shows, music videos she wants to do. i hope she does the next ones better. but i'm not really betting on that, man. she needs to research not on how lesbians live but mainly on how she thinks of lesbians in general. because man, it clearly shows. pramis. hay naku.

tama yung friend ko. kelangan na talagang kumilos. tru ka jan, ati.  

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