Category Archives: Academic Writings

Compre Exam Review Notes and Updates #1: Zhang Yimou/Campos/D&G/

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DAY 1 – 3: REFERENCE HUNTING

With only a few days after the orientation last January 9, I spent my few days gathering all the book needed for the review. Very, very special thanks to Rose Roque for providing more than enough reading material for borrowing, especially the Philippine Cinema section. I also bought books available at the academic press. Thanks to mother and father for providing financial contribution for the references I bought. I still have other references to look for and book to photocopy. I managed to find other references in the web and have them printed right away. I will have access to other book tomorrow @ the library.

So far, I have 80% of the required literature reading and I am infinitely astounded by the volume of readings I have read. What more if this is a PhD exams? Can I survive? I enjoy theory a lot and I enjoy reading all these texts, but given the time pressure, it’s a torture. Let’s put it in numbers: 25 books in one month. The hell with it! Let’s read them all, even at lightning speed.

DAY 4: A Day with Zhang Yimou

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JAN 14 (Sat) – I saw for the first time Zhang Yimou’s Raise the Red Lantern (1991), one of the required films for the comprehensive exams. It was astounding! The use of color red as a metaphor for so many things, but does it function only at the metaphorical level? The color red functions also as a cultural index and a territorial marker. I could go at length in discussing the geopolitics of red, and even implicate McKenzie Wark’s Molecular Red for odd reasons. Where am I going? But the delirium and poststructuralist avowal of the color red in the film reactivates the politicization of the mise-en-scene. The mise-en-scene is at work here.  More of writings on this in the next few days.

Day 5A: Campos and Crossings

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Day 5B: C

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The Nonface in Class Picture

 

[This article was published in Kino Punch (Issue 3), U.P. Cinema’s Film Critique Magazine. The magazine was successfully launched last March 28, 2015. The published form of this article has jumbled its footnote section, which is, to me, a curious result. I constructed the footnote section with its own politics. It stands as a threat to the main text, a supplement, inseparable yet removable from the text. The footnote section is the marginalized sector, the subaltern, the silenced, the underground. The dominance of the main text is, in many ways, threatened by the marginalization of the footnote. It is the main text’s undoing. Hence, this online version will preserve this political relationship. It is a modified form of the printed text.] 

The class picture.[1]

In writing about Class Picture (2011), we begin, as in any experimental work, in the middle, the between. The between is a space of liminality, the space where the image resists to ground itself in any given time, in any predetermined space. In writing and in reading about Class Picture, we inhabit this space. And we proceed by saying: an experimental work is always on the verge of transformation, never arrested by space, never stopped by time. It is always speeding towards the future, taking the present and the past with it. The tenuous forces of becoming within its body – their very placement in this space of liminality – jettison various rules of representation by transforming the image of experimentation into an unreadable set of intensities. Each image is a new island, a place to be, a dangerous strip of time and space, a rupturing force of possibilities. Each experimental image is an object of a ‘question’ that ceases to ‘be’ (if ‘be’ stands for being). For each is always a ‘becoming’.

Capturing the image – this is the task of every critic. We capture the image with words. We use language to stop its ceaseless becoming. Language has mastered its mode of reinscribing life itself in its own way – a form of regulation. Writing, any form of writing, is a form of ‘colonialism’. Its apparatus of capture is made of various sets of predetermined concepts that man has mastered through time – the traditional, commonsensical, habitual expressions in dominant language. Film criticism, as a discourse-forming machine, is populated by ‘capturing devices.’ Phrases such as ‘beautiful shot,’ ‘ugly lighting,’ ‘tremendous intensity,’ ‘great frame composition’ circulate in film journalism as ‘catchphrases’ that hold various images in captive. These ‘catchphrases’ resituate the image in a new plane of existence – the realm of dominant language – in order to achieve meaning. Only during this moment of linguistic capture can the image produce meaning. Production of meaning is always a result of image-to-text transformation. Also, we can only interpret an image the moment it reaches language.

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