Monday, April 13, 2009

Voices, Tilted Screens and Extended Scenes of Loneliness: Filipinos in High Definition

Voices, Tilted Screens and Extended Scenes of Loneliness: Filipinos in High Definition
Directed and Written by John Torres (Todo Todo Teros, Years When I Was A Child Outside)

Voices is a failure. A love letter to, in the shape of. A film about making a film that never gets made, about the plan coming undone, the dream revoked. John Torres digs the annihilating of form but digs the annihilated form even more. The pseudo-espionage of his Todo Todo Teros had the layered mien of collage, effervescing as it did on the sampler's gambit of making cohere the often opponent fragments he curates- - - scraps of poetry, found footage and that haunting recurring shot of a wife watching the filmed proof of her husband's infidelity- - - with the connective tissue of a new form. It's spypunk, a miasmic voodoo of surveillance paranoia and emotional terrorism - - - love in the time of Al Qaeda.

Neither as dense nor as frantic, most of Voices are talking heads, all exiles for being adrift someplace they never expected to be at this point in their lives and almost confessing to the camera with a candor both icky and poignant- - - the homesick revolutionary lamenting his receding hair and singing guerilla songs , the son disgruntled at finding out he has a half-brother, the OFW remembering the voice tapes she used to send her boyfriends back home, the girl playacting a pretend love story who breaks down between takes to go emo about her own romantic troubles. Strung together one after the other and marooned from an overriding design, each vignette making a go at that unmakable movie but eventually folding in on itself and giving up, you're meant to parse the fragmentary quality this time. Voices is teasing frissons from the disconnect. In flux is it's mien.

Everything begins at a house pelted by rainfall, much smaller than what the people living in it thought they would move into, in a bedroom piled high with the junk they can't throw away,where a kid plays videogames between the oaken limbs of his sleeping grandparents, lost,as they are, in a vacuum of calm. You know this house - - - you've been to one, you know someone who lives in one, you probably live in one. And you know the feeling. Failure is a universal language. And everyone's a disappointment artist, adrift. The lullabylike rain fades as soon as we leave the house but its sombre, aching, serene and tender soothe pitterpatters on in my head, like some phantom serenade to that exile in all of us. * * * * *

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