Festivals, Reviews

QCinema 2022: ‘Itim’ and the Ghosts of Injustice

Itim (also known as The Rites of May), Mike de Leon’s feature film debut released in 1976, revolves around a photographer (Tommy Abuel) who returns to the province to be with his father (Mario Montenegro) and to document the town’s Holy Week practices. During this time, he finds himself drawn to Teresa (played by Charo… Continue reading QCinema 2022: ‘Itim’ and the Ghosts of Injustice

Festivals, Reviews

QCinema 2022: ‘Elehiya’ Review—Grief and Anger in the Crumbling Remains of Imperial Power

Elehiya is a 2022 film directed by Loy Arcenas about a grieving widow (played by the late Cherie Gil) who finds herself returning to her husband’s family’s estate on an island in the Philippines to scatter his ashes. During her time back, she is restless about days lost and left behind, and she plays out… Continue reading QCinema 2022: ‘Elehiya’ Review—Grief and Anger in the Crumbling Remains of Imperial Power

Festivals, Reviews

QCinema 2022: ‘Return to Seoul’ Review—To Be Everywhere and Belong Nowhere

Return to Seoul is a 2022 drama written and directed by Davy Chou about a young woman attempting to rediscover her heritage by going to an impromptu trip to South Korea. Adopted by French parents after being abandoned by her birth parents, she attempts to connect with the local culture and her biological parents while… Continue reading QCinema 2022: ‘Return to Seoul’ Review—To Be Everywhere and Belong Nowhere

Essays

‘West Side Story (2021)’: The Dazzled and the Damned

The original West Side Story, as a musical film and a cultural touchstone, is strangely both tied to the time period it was made in (seen by the fact that many of the actors were white folks in brownface), and also progressive and timeless and provocative in its message, craft, and presentation.  A loose adaptation… Continue reading ‘West Side Story (2021)’: The Dazzled and the Damned

Essays

‘The Matrix Resurrections’: Destroying the Illusion of Binaries in Society

In Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix Resurrections, we find Thomas Anderson, A.K.A. Neo (played by Keanu Reeves), having to choose whether to take the red pill or the blue pill while watching a similar scene from the first Matrix movie projected on the screen of an abandoned theater, with Morpheus (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) showing… Continue reading ‘The Matrix Resurrections’: Destroying the Illusion of Binaries in Society

Essays

‘Blood and Black Lace’: The Yellowed Mysteries of Giallo Films

Down and Dirty Cinema explores exploitation films and how they helped shape the cinema of today. *** Watching the opening sequence of Blood and Black Lace, it feels like you’re in for a ride. There’s a hall of mannequins lit in colorful neon lights; jazzy music plays in the background as the camera pans over… Continue reading ‘Blood and Black Lace’: The Yellowed Mysteries of Giallo Films

Essays

Hope in The Time of Chaos: How Action Films Make Great Christmas Films

Christmas films are usually a different beast from the typical movies made with the expressed goal of bringing hope in hopeless times. Normally, the inspirational aspect of these films comes not from extraordinary people or events, but from ordinary people with ordinary morals and failings. They come together in this time of year to find… Continue reading Hope in The Time of Chaos: How Action Films Make Great Christmas Films

Reviews

‘Benedetta’ and How Power Structures Validate The Beliefs We Have

Spoilers ahead. Paul Verhoeven might be one of the greatest modern-day iconoclasts in film history. A satirist and provocateur who never lets good taste get in the way of his moral statement, he has made some of the most subversive critiques of Western society while making them fun and accessible to a general audience.  His… Continue reading ‘Benedetta’ and How Power Structures Validate The Beliefs We Have

Essays

‘Atypical’: Finding and Reclaiming Your Humanity

Spoilers ahead. There’s a great scene in the final season of Atypical that provokes a burst of freedom in me every time. Casey (played by Bridgette Lundy-Paine) has just decided to quit track and drop out of Clayton. She was only in that high school in the first place because she runs super fast, but… Continue reading ‘Atypical’: Finding and Reclaiming Your Humanity

Festivals, Reviews

A Festival in Review: Cinemalaya 2021’s Dokyu Program A

I remember reading once this quote about cinema: “The cinema is truth 24 frames per second.” It felt, to me, like it came from the early Soviet filmmakers, perhaps the person who did Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis. (The quote comes from Godard, which makes more sense than my first assumption.) Even in a world… Continue reading A Festival in Review: Cinemalaya 2021’s Dokyu Program A