a voyeur's notes on cine europa

Watching film is so much like voyeurism. You get pleasure out of watching (if not eavesdropping) people and their short lives on the silver screen.

Orgasmic is the ending of every good film and frustrating are those that don’t give you climax. And those films that give you multiple orgasms, oh man, they’re gonna be in your top 10 list.

For several weeks I have been watching film festivals sponsored by different organizations.

First is Cine Europa (thank you, EU). As much as I wanted to watch all of the films, I saw these, only these:

1. El Greco.

This is the Greek painter who came to Italy then to Spain to paint his life and live his art. El Greco, the rebel painter, stood against the Inquisition and all grand laws of the Catholic Church (set in the Middle Age) including the marital vows, because he believes that Love need not be subject to any so-called higher laws.

2. Mio fratello e figlio unico (My Brother is an Only Child). 

Before Mafia wars, there was ideological wars fought between the fascists and the communists and this film, a tragicomedy, is a fine work that can show both the brilliance and foolishness of fascism and communism in the quiet life of an Italian family. The main character acts like the stupidest person in Italy who couldn’t and wouldn’t get the point of any -ism in the Italian intellectual market, but in the end, he actually gets the point of equality, or maybe communism, without really knowing it and without joining the Movement, as he distributes house titles and keys to the underprivileged.

Wait, I have to say this: the kuya is so gwapo. I just can’t skip that fact.

3. De Scheepsjongens Van Bontekoe (Storm Bound). 

A Tom Sawyer-ish movie. This one is an adventure type of film from the Netherlands. Three under-age boys set to a journey as they sail with the commercial ship of Mr. Bontekoe. Think of all misadventures that could happen to sailors: they all took place. And this drove the filmgoers nuts. Laugh trip if you want to call it. But they all came home ahoy ahoy–everybody died but them.

4. Philantropique (Philantrophy)

This film from Romania almost bored me. It’s dark, literally. Maybe because it’s an old film or something. The sound is muffled. The story is one of those that make you ask “what? tapos na? why? what happened?” Pero of course, you will walk out of the cinema, quietly, like you’re the only person who understood what the efff the ending is all about. But the story is worth telling: it’s about a poor professor of Literature who writes novels that NOBODY wants to buy nor read. He paid so much for the printing press and the bookstore just so he can publish. Nobody wants his writings, even for free. Then he met a sexy hot babe whom he wants to date but since he’s a poor middle-aged man who still lives with his parents, he agreed to a “philantrophic” racket of a man he accidentally met. The racket is this: the professor will date the philantrophist’s secretary in fine dine restaurants where they will order coffee, then the waiter (who’s part of the conspiracy) will bring in the bill amounting to hundred thousand dollars (or million lei) worth of wine, steaks, etc., but since that town is full of wealthy people, the “couple” will put up a dramatic show and have the rich customers pay for the bill. Everything gets up because of the philantropist’s greedy schemes.

Wow, I said a lot. To think that this is my least favorite.

5. Vratne Lahve (Empties) – Czech Republic.

This made me cry. As other films about old folks do. The main character, an old man, quit his teaching post to be a biker-messenger till he met a minor accident so he quit again to work in a grocery store where he collects the beer bottles of grocers who return these. It’s funny and it’s a pervert love story.

6. Juana la loca (Mad Love) – Spain. 

This is one of my favorites. Although it didn’t end happily, I enjoyed the character of young queen Juana who’s so libidinous she can’t have enough of her young king-husband. So when the King starts being unfaithful, she does crazy things like shouting and running around the palace’s courtyard while it’s raining, sniffing her maids, and using her childhood sweetheart to make him jealous.

But is that insanity? I say no! It’s love, putamadre! It’s Love!


Till next Cine Europa.

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