My Green Flick Top Picks

Earth Day is just around the corner and if you’re looking for inspiration so you won’t merely celebrate the day but take action, here are some environmental films which you may want to watch. Frankly, every day should be Earth Day  because caring for the environment is actually for our own good. But what do I know. I’m not as smart as the politicians in my hometown, Baguio, who think it’s necessary to put up a mall and a parking podium at a park; and drive away people from the area to pave way for a trade fair. Just bloody brilliant, isn’t it?!

Now, some of the films can be depressing but I hope you join the cause and be an environmental warrior after watching these.

1. The Lorax

Based on Dr. Seuss’ children’s book, this is a story of a world without trees. It’s also about greed and how businesses tend to disregard the importance of the environment for the sake of profit. SM Baguio and Baguio politicians, you should watch this (related story: For the Trees!)!

Image result

2. WALL-E

Another animated film, WALL-E, paints a dystopian Earth covered in garbage with people turned obese due to an automated lifestyle (sounds like the present Earth if you ask me). Featuring the love story of two robots as a subplot, WALL-E is a cute, funny, and hopeful movie to watch.

Image result

3.  Racing Extinction

Animal species are going extinct and it’s our fault. Dealing with illegal wildlife trade, climate change, and other environmental issues, the documentary is a call for change of habits for the survival of species.

Image result

4. Food, Inc.

We don’t really know where our food comes from. The documentary, Food, Inc. exposes the unsustainable industrial production of meat, grains, and vegetables. I hope the movie can make you more mindful about the food that you eat.

Image result

5. Okja

Okja is not your typical action-adventure film. It’s also a social commentary on genetically-modified organisms, ethical diet, and environmental activism. It revolves around the story of friendship between a young girl and Okja, a super pig. Okja will make you cry but more importantly, it will make you think.

Image result

4. A Plastic Ocean

This year’s Earth Day focus is to end plastic pollution. A Plastic Ocean may convince you to stop single-use plastic that ends up in the ocean and eventually on your plate.

Image result

Advertisements

Art, culture and all that jazz

Yesterday was a very cultured day for me.

I got to attend Pierre de Vallombreuse’s talk on his photo exhibition, The Valley, that features Palawan’s indigenous group, Tau’t Batu, in black and white prints. Pierre shared his personal story of how his feet led him to Palawan 18 times, totaling to almost four years.

20863687_1643615565662755_4594558539909780653_o

Developing a close relationship with the Tau’t Batu, Pierre was able to capture special moments, some unexpected, that tell the story of this group of people that is able to maintain its unique cultural identity while integrating to modern society.

I asked Pierre for a tip for someone like me who is not a photographer but would want to create stories through pictures. His simple answer, to the amusement of everyone, take a photography class. Okay, let me add that to the growing list of things I want to learn.

One line that I really liked from his talk was when he said, “Each picture is not a statement, it’s a question mark.” Indeed, as I left the National Museum I asked myself, “How can cultural identity thrive in this modern world?” I also belong to an indigenous group but I can barely see any trace of Cordilleran in me.

20626994_10155265171420804_1934108221248962779_o
Ichiro Kataoka, a benshi. (Photo from Japan Foundation)

From the photo exhibit, I traveled through Manila traffic (of course!) and headed to Shangri-La Plaza for the screening of the Japanese film, “Dragnet Girl” which is part of the 11th International Silent Film Festival. The film is a love story of a gangster couple but what made it even more interesting is the live musical score by the Celso Espejo Rondalla and the presence of Ichiro Kataoka, a benshi or a silent film narrator.

The black and white film with English subtitles, the string accompaniment, and the animated voice of the benshi were a treat to all senses making this a one of a kind experience.

It’s amazing how there are numerous opportunities where one can appreciate art in all forms here in Manila. And a lot of these events are for free!

Speaking of art forms, let me add dance to my “to-learn list” as I’m a frustrated dancer. Last Sunday, I watched “KoryoLab 2017,” a showcase of the works of six dance choreographers. Two of the pieces had the issue of EJK as its theme and I found the performances powerful and emotional. Like Pierre’s photos being not statements but questions, the dance performances were certainly more than statements but evoked questions on relationships, life, and social issues.

21150468_1792784874069548_5948322057498260993_n
“Postcard” choreographed by Russ Ligtas. (Photo by Marveen Lozano)

From photos, to films, to dance, to this piece of writing. We all love telling stories. And we share them the best way we can.

 

 

 

Let’s #BeInconvenient Together

Why is truth inconvenient? We know that climate change is real but why do some people deny it? Why don’t we seem to care much?

Maybe because we don’t belong to the underprivileged sectors of society who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Maybe our priorities are corporate agenda and economic development which doesn’t factor in sustainability.

Maybe we feel that climate change is too big an issue and is out of our hands.

ais_tumblr_share.jpg
Photo from https://inconvenientsequel.tumblr.com/

As a follow-up to Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary focusing on the realities of climate change, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” premiered in the Philippines on August 28, 2017 at Trinoma. The movie further takes a look at the urgency of the issue and likewise highlights the Climate Reality Project, the climate negotiations held in Paris, and the shift to renewable energy.

And while we watch this sequel and is reminded of the devastation brought about by climate-related disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc in the US and just recently, devastating floods hit India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Facing these realities of climate change can be overwhelming. But according to Al Gore, despair is another form of denial. He draws hope from individuals and groups doing what they can, contributing to climate action.

Maybe we have a better capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Maybe we don’t see the connection of how so-called development contributes to climate change. Maybe we feel helpless and even indifferent. But as emphasized by Al Gore, the climate crisis is a moral and spiritual challenge to us all. And therefore we have to fight like the world depends on it because our world depends on it.

There’s still a lot of work to be done. Be inspired by the growing number of Climate Reality Leaders, environmentalists, and advocates fighting for the planet. Let’s #BeInconvenient together!

Catch the movie exclusively shown at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Trinoma and Glorietta 4).

Wondering what you can do? Check out “101 ways to fight climate change and support the Paris agreement.”

Mad World

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always.” Gandhi (film), 1982

This is another movie that made me cry. Like when I watched To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and asked, “What happened to kindness?

Life is cruel. People are cruel. War in its pointlessness is inevitable. Fueled by violence, and hate, and fear. Haven’t we learned from history? Lives being reduced to mere numbers? It’s madness!

And then I saw 12 Angry Men (1957), the story of 12 jury members deliberating the guilt or acquittal of a defendant. Made me think of how our biases shape the way we judge other people. And these judgements can’t always be accurate. So in the current war against drugs in the Philippines leading to the death of suspected drug users/pushers, should I be okay with the judgement that they are deserving of this fate? Does the end really justify the means? All life is supposed to be sacred. But what do I know.

It’s a mad, mad world. Leaders making dumb decisions. Capitalists continuously thrashing the planet. Religion being used to wreak havoc. People blindly going with the flow. It’s scary what humanity is turning into. And I can’t wait for the way of truth and love to prevail real soon.

‘Train to Busan’ and Real Life

Just when you thought we’ve ran out of good movies, good zombie movies at that, along came “Train to Busan.” Hurray for quality-made Korean movies! Yeah, it’s the same zombie apocalypse plot already seen in World War Z and The Walking Dead with cliché characters trying to survive the outbreak. There’s the heroic, selfless ones, the weaklings always needing saving and protection, and the selfish prick who doesn’t care about anyone else but himself. This Korean flick, however, gave a fresh take on zombie invasion. For one, the setting took place in a train. There’s a balance of horror, action, comedy, and drama. So it’s like four movies in one. Also, it managed to be a social commentary on work life balance, kindness, and social class.

As much as movies are works of fiction, these also reflect the state of the society we live in today. Wild, rabid zombies are scary but I think the way we are transforming and becoming the undead is equally alarming. We are a slave to technology. Like hungry monsters, we can’t stop consuming and trashing the earth. We embrace this rat race lifestyle. Steve Cutts in his illustrations clearly demonstrate these. We are essentially zombies!

3098639_orig2276644_orig7704502_orig

The antagonist in the movie reminded me of all the evil in the world. His drive to survive is admirable but does it have to be at the expense of other people? It’s that one character that you would want to turn into your personal punching bag. But we are all guilty of being selfish. After all, self-preservation apparently is a basic human instinct.

But in the midst of chaos, whether that may be war, political discord, or zombie apocalypse, there would be individuals who would look out for other people. Those who would stand for what is right. Those who choose to be kind. And those who wouldn’t let themselves be consumed by the zombie virus. It is them who would reach the destination still human.

What movie should I watch next?

I’ve been scouring the net for movies worth wasting an hour or two with. I often ask people what their favorite movie is so I could make it one of my favorites too. Watching movies is the easiest way to pass the time. You get to be entertained, and if you’re lucky, learn lessons about life and realize something profound about yourself.

Here’s my top movie picks. I’m not a movie critique but these, I would say, are the best of the best just because I say so. Let me know what I should add to the list.

Oldies but goodies:

  1. Gone with the Wind
  2. The Treasure of Sierra Madre
  3. Sound of Music

Feel good and inspirational:

  1. Shawshank Redemption
  2. Goodwill Hunting
  3. Front of the Class
  4. Forrest Gump
  5. 3 Idiots
  6. Toy Story 3

Drama:

  1. Dead Poet’s Society
  2. Schindler’s List
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird
  4. Miracle in Cell No. 7

Thought-provoking:

  1. Inception
  2. Memento
  3. Dark Knight
  4. Boyhood
  5. Waking Life
  6. Before Trilogy

Adventure and action-packed:

  1. X-Men
  2. Lord of the Rings

Gore and shocking:

  1. Final Destination
  2. 24 Days Later
  3. Old Boy
  4. Battle Royale

What happened to kindness?

I cried while watching “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

I’m not a crier. I was told I’m cold-hearted because I don’t easily show my emotions. I don’t think the film is even a tear-jerker. But for some reason, tears suddenly started falling.

Is it a sad realization of man’s cruelty? I must have been wrong believing that we are naturally good. It seems like it’s the opposite.

Sometimes it’s better to feel numb. To not care. Nothing can be done about it anyway.

But then again, you see acts of kindness going viral online. What’s so fascinating about being kind? Perhaps this is a revelation of our true selves. That kindness is not an afterthought but is a second nature or first nature if there’s such a thing. Deep inside, we are actually kind people.

Harvey in the movie, “The Dark Knight” said that you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Life has a way of bending you to your limits. Until you finally give in to the other side. Where it’s much more convenient. Or less painful. Or would make you feel nothing at all. And that’s the danger. When you reach the point of not caring. Because by then, you have nothing to lose. And you do whatever pleases you regardless of consequence.

I wonder why I cried that evening. I hope it’s because I still give a damn.