Went to Cine Europa at Shangri-La last night to catch the two French movies. I’d gone early, expecting a crowd, but there were fewer people than usualâ€”I think the recent event has made people a little leery of malls, or maybe they were all crammed into Megamall for the weekend sale.
You know how many people mentioned the bombing to me today? One. Everyone else went, “That was awful” and changed the topic, cause what the hell are we supposed to do. No one claims responsibility for the blast, so we just assume the usual suspects. There’s a bit from Casablanca that sums up the state of things around here (Hmm that’s two references to that movie in three days). Police captain Louis (Claude Rains) orders Rick’s closed, ostensibly for gambling. “I’m shocked, SHOCKED that there’s gambling on the premises,” he declares, then the croupier hands him a stack of cash and says, “Your winnings, sir.”
I’ve seen The Umbrellas of Cherbourg on DVD, and I wanted to view it on the big screen with the lush colors and the big, swoony Michel Legrand music. Turns out they’re projecting from the DVD at the festival, but if you haven’t seen Jacques Demy’s musical, catch it anyway. Umbrellas addresses the basic absurdity of the movie musicalâ€”people bursting into songâ€”by having the actors sing all their lines. So Catherine Deneuve and her mom are arguing in song, and the postman interrupts with the mail, and he sings as he hands it over. The mom sums up the movie thus: People only die of love in the movies. In other words, You may feel like love will kill you, but most likely you will go on living.
Next I saw La Mome, the Edith Piaf biopic (US title: La vie en rose) starring Marion Cotillard, who’s brilliant and will likely be Oscar-nominated. I sat with Ronald, Raymond, and the Lav Diaz, who recently won a prize at the Venice festival. Piaf: What a life, pink is the last color I would associate with it. I realized that Piaf’s songs must be played very loud in order to get their full visceral impact. She is not a crooner or a whisperer; she’s in your face, you can smell the wine on her breath.
Afterwards we got to talking about how Piaf’s life was so Extreme Nora Aunor, and how singing icons like Piaf, Judy Garland, and Nora Aunor have histories that rival the most outrageous movie melodramas. Apparently you have to plumb the emotional depths, get battered by life and endure the kind of shit that would kill a lesser mortal. You don’t just sing the pain, YOU HAVE TO BE THE SONG. Hmm, a Nora Aunor biopic produced by Ronald Arguelles, written by Raymond Lee, directed by Lav Diazâ€”there’s a 15-hour movie.
Then Raymond, Ronald and I ran into Eric Ramos, who’s setting up the local edition of Playboy, and I offered to write for him. That’s when we established definitively that if you’re thinking of potential Playboy covers, don’t ask two gay guys and a girl for suggestions. I don’t think a Temptation Island (Jennifer Cortes! Bambi Arambulo!) 30th anniversary reunion would work in a men’s magazine, although we had some spectacular ideas for Playgirl.
At midnight Raymond and I headed to Martinis Bar and gatecrashed Martin’s birthday party. Alright, I was invited, but gatecrashing sounds more fun. I learned that it’s best to show up late, when everyone is already hilariously drunk. I have to check with legal before I blog the party, but Manny, you gave us a blank cheque, don’t think we’re not going cash it as soon as we figure out how many zeroes.