Ride Lonesome - Budd Boetticher, 1959, 35mm
Comanche Station - Budd Boetticher, 1960, 35mm
An exhausted traveller / on his way alone - / one parasang / from his destination.
As we began driving out of the park I looked to my right down the mountain & observed some lovely pasture grass waving beneath some considerably strong wind. I asked Jim [Gianvito] to stop the car & got out & quickly ascertained that this was way too beautiful an image to pass up & that I'd be kicking myself afterwards. I quickly loaded the camera & to save time thought I could get the shots handheld. Very rapidly the wind power went up a few notches & holding the camera steady was quite a challenge. Again to Jim's credit I told him I think I need to unpack the carefully-packed tripod and he unhesitatingly ran back to the car to get it. For the next 45 minutes or so, despite lightning flashes (but no thunder & no rain) I shot image after image of the grass, leaves, & brush swirling about every which way beneath powerful wind. I pray this roll turns out ok as it was a unique experience to say the least. By the end of it my body was racked with weariness, covered in sweat despite the hot wind, arms scored by bramble scratches & bug bites, & absolutely exhilarated. With more time, film, & light I could shoot endlessly under such conditions. In every direction there were images to mesmerise.--John Gianvito, 14.07.2005.
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.
from the void, to the forest