Cinema of Attractions

Next Attraction - Raya Martin, 2008, DV


Next Attraction - Raya Martin, 2008, DV

Tren de sombras - José Luis Guerin, 1997, 35mm


Autohystoria - Raya Martin, 2007, DV

Next Attraction - Raya Martin, 2008, DV


AT: You've told me before that historical accuracy was not necessarily your goal. You're making a period film, but not a historical film.

RM: And I'm actually moving away from that, establishing facts, other than maintaining a sense of period, a sense of time.

AT: Correct my phrasing, but you've said that you want to focus on the emotional history of the time, that you want to evoke pathos. Can you tell me about this?

RM: With the history education that I went through - elementary and high school in a Catholic private school - it was very much a memorising of dates, places and events. You would take in characters as one-dimensional... 'Rizal was this educated guy, and then you have the other pole, Bonifacio, who didn't know anything', etc. It was like the opposition of the heart and the mind. Where is the room for man, for man as a maker of history? So I wanted to try this out...

AT: By 'man' you mean, the ordinary man; not Rizal, not Bonifacio, but what happened to the regular Filipino?

RM: Yeah. Because once you elevate someone into a historical icon they lose their right to be human. They (simply) assume their role in history. So previous 'history making' or perceptions of history were based on this kind of list-making: one-two-three; I wanted to find articulation in trying to create an atmosphere, feelings, emotions of the time, so I thought: you get themes of the time, issues of birth, war, death and you try to put together reactions to these themes, how people would engage themselves (when) surrounded by these situations.

AT: I feel the film has more to say about the present than it does about that period, about the past - as if you're trying - not to understand that period, or why these events happened - but to understand today through the things that did happen.

RM: Is it because of the video part?

AT: Partly, I think. Because I think for me it's very hard to separate, to dichotomize that we have this video, and we have this black-and-white part, (it's difficult to imagine them) as separate films. They interact with each other. The tricky thing about the video part is that it's in video, in colour, and with sound, but it doesn't seem as if it is that far removed from the time-frame of the rest of the film. I don't imagine it to be modern-day. Perhaps this is a feeling that I have, knowing you and relating to you, that a big part of your reason for making this film isn't for you to understand that time, but for you to understand today through the events that took place at that time.

RM: Pwede (that could be true). Following Ileto's history, it still rings true that the attitiudes of the common man are still the same today. We're still very much a Catholic society, a Catholic country, our messiahs are politicians, and we're looking forward to being saved by politics rather than religion, or by spiritual icons. We still have that attitude. It is possible that the film is a reflection of me actually trying to understand (the Filipino today).

--"My Own History", an interview with Raya Martin, by Alexis Tioseco, Cinemaya 1.3, July 2006, p. 32-33.

A Short Film About the Indio Nacional - Raya Martin, 2005, 35mm/DV

Syndromes and a Century - Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006, 35mm

from the void, to the forest

A Short Film About the Indio Nacional - Raya Martin, 2005, 35mm/DV


Anonymous said...

From voids to forests, where forests are voids; voids nothing but voids.

So pleased that you're blogging now, it's taken too long!

Matthew Flanagan said...

Thanks, Edwin! We'll see how it pans out...

Mubarak Ali said...

Wonderful posts, Matthew! Welcome to the blogosphere (says he who's seemingly all but abandoned it).