Let 2019 Be A Strike (II) Against the Fascist Order

Strike

Before I lay down a more comprehensive lookback of 2018 and recount the violence of the State against the working class, farmers and the indigenous people, let me just greet you: A Merry Krisis and A Prosperous New Year ahead. Let 2019 blossom into a year of resistance. I call every one to strike against the fascist order and usurper of people’s rights and maintain a line of critique that rejects all forms of reactionary resistance, a line of critique that hinges on the antagonistic opposition between the ruling class and the proletariat.¬†

Resist Crackdown on Teachers’ Union!

Resist Crackdown on the Progressive Youth Sector! 

Stop the Attacks! Stop the Killings!

Peace Talks, ituloy! Strive for a Just and Lasting Peace!

Strike II

 

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This year, our writing collective will be officially launching Strike II, a radical film journal set out to reorient the local practice of film criticism beyond its commercial function as a consumer’s guide to local film viewers. Our statement reads as follows:

Strike II is a radical film publication that focuses on the theoretical and practical issues in the Philippine Film Industry. Stemming from the historical event of Philippine Cinema’s first strike, the massive anti-film studio labor strikes of local film workers that overturned the local studio systems (LVN, Sampaguita, Premiere, Lebran) in the 1960s, Strike II aims to uncover the antagonistic oppositions and contradictions of the capitalist mode of production of the contemporary film industry. Strike II also stems from Hito Steyerl’s video of the same title in a futural sense as it aspires to abolish the means of production of ‘film-as-art’ and ‘film-as-commodity’ and rethink of the ways by which cinema can be re-integrated in a socialist society. Using the revolutionary and scientific framework of Dialectical Materialism, Strike II also aims to provide the baseline data on labor conditions of film workers in the Philippines, as well as to demystify the ruling class’ fetishistic film culture.¬†


Strike II also builds on Eisenstein’s film ‘Strike’ (1925) as its second movement as the publication shall also take part in expanding the discourse on revolutionary forms of cinematic production.

STRIKE II, will, by all means, rally against all forms of exploitation and suppression of the freedom of expression in the film industry, and shall serve as a critical platform that elevates film criticism as a militant practice.

 

Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Interactive Cinema

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There are a lot of claims that Netflix’s newest season for their Black Mirror series titled Bandersnatch is a game-changer in terms of changing the whole way of watching movie/series ([1], [2], [3]). While the claim bears no essential radical truth that would actually change cinema itself, it only shows the power of commercial¬†hype in generating false claims.

Upon checking cinema history, Netflix’s Black Mirror:¬†Bandersnatch is not the game-changer for interactive Cinema. The first interactive movieblack-mirror-bandersnatch-netflix-review was a Czech movie Kinoautomat (1967) that premiered during the Czechoslovakian Expo 1967. Some Netflix users also argued that Bandersnatch’s interactive form does not allow it from being commodified as a bootleg/pirated material. However, contrary to common understanding, interactive films has been distributed in the web for awhile now as uploaded DVD formats.

I also encountered some interesting studies and articles on Interactive Cinema. Here is a list:

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  1. [Book] Hyper-Narrative Interactive Cinema: Problems and Solutions by Nitzan Ben Shaul [2008]. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. [link]
  2. [Article] Key Frame: Beyond Interactive Cinema by Birk Weiberg [link]
  3. [Journal Article] Methodological questions in ‚Äėinteractive film studies‚Äô¬†by Bernard Perron in New Review of Film and Television Studies: 6(3):2008 [link]
  4. [Article] Meaning and the Interactive Narrative: In the context of Object-Oriented Interactive Cinema by Adrian Jones [link]
  5. [Book] Vosmeer, Mirjam, and Ben Schouten. 2014. Interactive Storytelling. Edited by Alex Mitchell, Clara Fern√°ndez-Vara, and David Thue. Vol. 8832. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-12337-0.
  6. [Academia.Edu] Academia.Edu Links on Interactive Cinema [link]
  7. [Article] “Interactive Cinema” Is an Oxymoron, but May Not Always Be by Kevin Neal in Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game¬† Research 12(1): September 2012 [link]

Jungle Love is Screening…

…this coming first week of January at the UPFI Cine Adarna. Jungle Love¬†(2012) is a rarely screened film of Sherad Anthony Sanchez. If I am not mistaken, the last Philippine public screening of the film was during its premiere in Cinemanila International Film Festival last 2012. It has not been screened in local theaters elsewhere (or I might be wrong?).

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When I first watched it in 2012, it was one of the unforgettable cinematic experiences I have had.  It is a funny, obscure/absurd film that reminded me of some of the works of Shuji Terayama. I want to see it again on the wide screen this coming 9th day of January.

 

MONDOMANILA 2019!

Khavn dela Cruz’s macabre masterpiece¬†Mondomanila¬†(2010) is now available on Youtube!

Shelfie for 2019

I arranged my shelf for 2019 awhile ago dedicating one layer of the bookshelf for thesis-related books. I placed the most used references on the top of each column and on the side (Hegel-Marx-Derrida).

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Some New Year’s Resolution for Omnitudo: Interventions in Cinema and Philosophy

  1. I will post frequently. Does one post per week qualifies as frequent?
  2. I will finish my close reading posts of Spectres of Marx this year as promised.
  3. I will upload some notes, presentations and other materials.
  4. I will read more books (fiction & non-fiction) this year and post some notes here. My target 25 books.
  5. I will finish my thesis year.

Parting Words, Parting Image

 

Badiou on The Communist Hypothesis

Indeed, I do hold on to the communist hypothesis. I refuse to inhabit a world in which the currently hegemonic social and economic organisation is the only hypothesis. I cannot accept this monstrosity, this inequality, the fact that 10% of the planet‚Äôs population possesses 86% of the available resources, of capital. Far from being obsolete or ready to be chucked away, the communist idea is, in my view, still too young. It is at the very beginning ‚ÄĒ lasting a few decades ‚ÄĒ of its historical journey, while capitalism, born six or seven centuries ago, is reproducing the throwbacks, the inequalities of the¬†ancien r√©gime¬†‚ÄĒ indeed, 10% is more or less the percentage of the population that were nobles in that era‚Ķ I should make clear that I know perfectly well the vices and the crimes of the communist societies. I became a Maoist because I identified in Maoism certain critical elements for surpassing and changing Stalinism. The period that opened up with the Russian Revolution of October 1917 was punctuated with errors and dramatic falsifications, the main one being that although in its very principle communism bore a distrust for the centralised state, it ultimately built a state more centralised and bureaucratic than any that had gone before, a state that gave in to the temptation to regulate every problem through violence. The communist hypothesis ran aground in its earliest successes and the lean sixty years that followed. So should that lead us to abandon the hypothesis itself? I don‚Äôt think so. We should not heap a total ideological defeat onto a circumstantial defeat.

– – – ALAIN BADIOU from Corrupting the Youth: A Conversation with Alain Badiou(Sept 2016)

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From Burning (2018)

 

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Reading #Goals for 2019

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Here is my to-read list for 2019. Well, when you see Derrida, Hegel and Heidegger in one list, you know you are in for hell the whole year. But since my thesis critically engages with Marx, Hegel and Derrida to understand the phenomenon of long duration, I have no choice but to go through this. I also want to catch up on my reading on literature, hence another list on World Lit. Here’s to another year ahead. Sometimes, cinema can be so alienating, you need a book to reawaken your sensibility, or at least, in an art-religious sense.

Thesis-Related:

  1. Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology
  2. Martin Heidegger, Being and Time
  3. Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference 
  4. Jonathan Beller, The Cinematic Mode of Production
  5. Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx
  6. Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy
  7. Karl Marx, Capital Volume I, II, III
  8. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, (Greater) Science of Logic
  9. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit
  10. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, (Shorter) Logic 
  11. Slavoj Zizek, Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism
  12. Slavoj Zizek, The Parallax View

World Lit:

  1. Kobe Abe, The Ruined Map
  2. Virginia Woolf, Orlando
  3. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
  4. William Gibson, Neuromancer
  5. Andre Aciman, Call Me By Your Name
  6. Elfriede Jelinek, The Piano Teacher
  7. Naguib Mahfouz, Cairo Modern
  8. William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
  9. Ha Jin, Waiting
  10. William S. Burroughs, Junky
  11. V.S. Naipaul, A House for Mister Biswas
  12. Roberto Bola√Īo, 2666
  13. Eduardo Galeano, Genesis
  14. Christopher Isherwood, Down There on a Visit
  15. Christopher Isherwood, The World in the Evening
  16. Will Self, Shark
  17. Edel Garcellano, Knife’s Edge: Selected Essays

Not in the photo

  1. David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress
  2. Michael Cunningham, By Nightfall

 

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Le Livre D’Image (2018)

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Two Presentations on Film Criticism

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In the latter half of this year, I was invited by University of the Philippines Diliman-based organization UP Cinema as Art Movement (UP CAM) to deliver a talk about film criticism and my output as a film critic. I gladly offered them a contrarian view on how dialetical materialism can be used to weaponize film criticism as a militant praxis to overthrow cinema’s capitalist mode of production.

I remember that, in 2014, Sari Dalena also invited me also to present my idea of film criticism to her class on FILM 100. The degree of difference between my presentations on UP CAM and in Sari Dalena’s FILM 100 is that my FILM 100 presentation aims to show a possibility of developing an immanent film criticism, based on the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.¬†

For those are interested in having copies of the two presentations, you can download them below. Please also note that if you want to use these presentation for your lectures or other purposes, KINDLY seek permission from me first by sending an email: adrian.lessegers@gmail.com. Thank you!

  1. Rethinking Film Criticism
    Presented during¬† Sari Dalena’s 2014 class on FILM 100
  2. Contradiction as Critique: Applying Dialetical Materialism in Writing Film Criticism
    Presented at UP CAM’s talk last October 2018, back-to-back with Danielle Madrid

 

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New Age Maoist Aesthetics

#Maoism

Missing Codec

A trend seems to be happening among young, urban activists and allies: they get easily fascinated and responsive of positive representation of politics, rebels and activists on any platform, especially on popular capitalist art. Cultural representation seems to be the name of the game. What is formerly subversive has now become a default setting. Cultural representation is easy and, in the era of neoliberal multiplicity, profitable. In fact, contemporary cultural products tend to capitalize into notions of diversity and multiplicity (rhizomes, anyone?), only to the point that what is represented is not the marginalized being presented in contrast and as alternative against the status quo, but the marginalized performing (for) the status quo. A kind of trickle-up effect: productions representing the oppressed are revaluated and appreciated with ruling class criterion and are being produced for the expropriation of value by the ruling class.

Representation is comfort food. Representation made the…

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Repost: SURFACE ELAINE EDZEL EMOCLING!

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[Reposted from]

On October 13, 2018, four (4) members of progressive organizations, including peasant organizers from Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s PartylistРNueva Ecija and one (1) member of the League of Filipino Students -PUP were illegally arrested by elements of AFP and CIDG at Sitio Bangkusay, Barangay Talabutab Norte Natividad, Nueva Ecija.

The operatives arrived in the area by noon of October 13. Witnesses said they left the area by 6 pm and brought with them all the four (4) mentioned above. As of today, only 2 out of the 4 illegally arrested are have been accounted for and are confirmed to be in the CIDG holding cell in Cabanatuan. The two others, including our member, Edzel Emocling, are yet to be found.

The League of Filipino Students and its chapters all over the country strongly condemn the AFP and CIDG’s illegal arrests of the mentioned progressive organizers. Furthermore, the League demands the authorities to surface the two others who are still unaccounted for, including Edzel Emocling.
This is not an isolated case. The Duterte administration’s US-military backed counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan has been targeting peasant, labor organizers, and youth activists in its massive crackdown campaign to lay down conditions for nationwide Martial Law.

Instead of addressing the calls for genuine agrarian reforms and national industrialization, Duterte and his blood-thirsty armed forces have long been targetting activists who organize in peasant communities.

At a time when the administration is deliberate in its acts of impunity and state-terrorism, the youth and other sectors should forge stronger unities. We call on everyone to demand the AFP and the Duterte administration to release the illegally-arrested members of progressive organizations, and surface our member, EDZEL EMOCLING.

SURFACE ELAINE EDZEL EMOCLING!
LABANAN ANG CRACKDOWN SA MAMAMAYAN!

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Labyrinth of Dreams


Sogo Ishii 

Japan
1997
90 minutes
Black and White
Japanese


 

 

[Reposted from Auditoire]

 

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Editing, or the False Movements in Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977)

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IMAGE 1.A film operates through what it withdraws from the visible. The image is first cut from the visible.”¬†

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IMAGE 2.¬†“Movement is held up, suspended, inverted, arrested.

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IMAGE 3.¬†“Cutting is more essential than presence‚ÄĒnot only through the effect of editing, but already, from the start, both by framing and by the controlled purge of the visible.

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IMAGE 4.¬†“It is of absolute importance that the flowers cinema displays (as in one of Visconti‚Äôs sequences) be Mallarm√©an flowers…

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IMAGE 5.¬†“…that they be absent from every bouquet. I have seen them, these flowers, but the precise modality of their captivity…

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IMAGE 6.…to the cut brings forth…

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IMAGE 6. “…indivisibly, both their singularity and their ideality.

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Quote from Badiou’s essay ‘The False Movements of Cinema.

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Lav Diaz Memes No. 1

Lav Diaz Memems

from Here.

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September 4, 2018 · 10:56 am

Nothing in Heaven

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Anatoly Solonitsyn and Tarkovsky on location during the filming of Andrei Rublev (1966)

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There is nothing, nothing in heaven, or in nature or in mind or anywhere else which does not equally contain both immediacy and mediation.

Hegel, The Science of Logic

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September 1, 2018 · 3:07 pm