Weak Signals, Chill Attitudes, Strong Connections: ‘Signal Rock’s Paean to Small-Town Life

Grabbed from Cinema Bravo’s Facebook page

This film is about connections: celebrating them, lamenting their loss, breaking them, and renewing them.

Set in the island of Biri in the province of Samar in the southeastern Philippines, Signal Rock tells the story of a young man, Intoy, who pulls out all the stops to help her sister, Vicky, win custody hearing in faraway Finland. Abused by her husband, Vicky runs away with her daughter, Sophia, and flees to a church, where the priest reports her to the police, who then turn over the case to the courts. Penniless, Vicky is sure to lose custody; she must prove that she can support her daughter. Continue reading


The Hero is a Dog is an Eagle: A Review of ‘Goyo’


Photo from Goyo website (Goyo.ph)

That it is an anti-hero film—tearing down of heroes as idols—appears to be the consensus about Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, which opened last 5 September 2018. But given the young general’s shortcomings in the historical record, the film could have done a better demolition job. Dishing the dirt on del Pilar would have been too easy. That it did not do so, however, shows it has another thing in mind: present the hero’s shortcomings but paint a more sympathetic figure. Perhaps, it works the other way too: give a more sympathetic portrait of the hero while revealing his flaws.  Continue reading

Cariño Brutal: The Politics of Caring in Duterte’s Philippines

To answer this, we must treat the politics of caring not as deception or as a deviation from modern, rational, and institutional forms of politics. It should be seen as a framework on its own right, one with different yet legitimate assumptions about the relationship between the ruler and the ruled; the mode of governance; and the scale of political action. Specifically, the politics of caring projects an intimate relationship between the ruler and the ruled; prefers direct, hands-on governance; and posits a small sphere of political action.


Photo by Richard Madelo for the Presidential Communications Operations Office

Get Out There and Love: Asian-America (Re)Asserts Itself in ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’

Criticized for its politics of representation (of Singapore), Crazy Rich Asians (CRA) has nonetheless marked a milestone for Asian-Americans. For them, the film was a “win” in terms of recognition and representation of their experiences. It is the first movie since The Joy Luck Club (JLC, 1993) to see an all-Asian-(American) cast. But if JLC focused on generational differences between Chinese immigrant women and their daughters in the United States, CRA showcases the wealth, confidence, and power of Asia and Asian America.   Continue reading