Posted by: nastypen | May 30, 2008

Death of Cinema

or “Why Should I NOT Watch Movies at Cinemas Anymore.”

The worst thing that happened to me watching in a cinema in the Philippines is not these nasty perverts wagging their engorged penises that prompted me to look for a security guard, no, the worst thing that happened to me was watching at an SM cinema and the kid behind me decided to use the back of a chair near me as a urinal.

His father was grumbling that he did not want to miss a scene and so the kid stood up, undid his pants and pissed. His urine trickled down the floor. I forgot the movie but I remember I was with my classmate Ferdinand and the urine splashed on his shoes. I thought that this scene is the worst thing to happen to a film buff in a Manila cinema.

I am wrong.

Watching films in Manila is so cheap. Relatively cheap. I was so tempted to watch Kill Bill Vol. I when I was in Tokyo because I heard they had the fight scenes in color. But then again, a movie ticket there costs AT LEAST one thousand pesos. In America, I knew some of my friends and relatives designate one day to watch a movie so that they can sneak in to other cinemas in the complex showing different films because of the hefty ticket price. In Manila, the most expensive ticket I paid for was 300 pesos to watch on a Lazy Boy with bottomless popcorn. Most of the time, I shell out 150 to 190 for a ticket.

I recall what Jean Paul Sarte said “Hell is other people.” And this is so evident while watching films at local cinemas. After that hideous pissing incident, I rarely watch movies at an SM cinema. I either go to Greenbelt, Glorietta or Power Plant. Yet, even in these supposedly snazzy and elite (Some parts of Glorietta excluded) malls, I cannot escape morons who have the ability to pay for their tickets.

In Greenbelt, I watched A Very Long Engagement. Guess what. Some woman in front of me decides to take the call and gab for several minutes about her hairdresser. HER HAIRDRESSER! People were hooting at her. I stood up went to her and leaned to her and said “I know this is a French film but I’d rather listen to a language I cannot understand than your voice.” Some people deserved to be shamed. I watched the movie again with Addie and yet another woman just spoke to the phone!

I don’t understand why people bring their children to cinemas when all they do is start screaming, running and asking their parents to explain the movie. I just wish there was a movie house that explicitly bans children irregardless of movie shown.

And we have the talkers…. or frustrated commentators and film critics. I want to bash the heads of these hipsters with their stupid emo haircuts that talk about the auteur theory while watching Quentin Tarantino‘s films.

And the gripes go on. So much so that I chose to watch only the first screenings. Why? Most people are at work or at school, so a few people venture into the cinemas. It was blissful to watch Spider-Man 2 in Glorietta when you were just less than 30. I practically ran from the MRT to the ticket booth. But even if I escaped some irritant, I could not escape one major hell that is causing grief for cinema lovers here: Censorship.

I detest censorship. No, let me clarify that. I detest the idea of a group of people dictating to me what I should watch and let them do the dirty work of cutting certain scenes for my “own good.” Censorship is what is keeping me from watching movies lately. I mean, in Singapore it is state policy to police the films, but hey, at least their state university professors are amply paid for them to watch movies in their expensive movie houses. Whereas here? So what if we have one of the cheapest movie going experiences on earth when other people spoil it with their imposed morality….AND STILL GET A RAT’S ASS-LEVEL WAGE.

Case in point: Sin City. It was one of the movies I could not wait to be shown but had to because I thought it is best to watch this in big screen rather than with a dvd and a TV monitor. So when it was time to be shown, I flew to the cinemas all giddy only to be hit in the belly by this mountain range of cuts, snips, and scenes ripped apart. In the end, I purchased a DVD instead.

Now, there’s Sex and the City. No, I did not watch this, nor do I intend to watch it. I have friends who saw it texting me in wrath for the blatant disregard for the viewer. Several scenes were cut. I found out that some saw it at an SM movie house. I reminded them that the SM malls decided to make their cinemas family-friendly thus killing off local film production outfits life Seiko film who made skin flicks.

How on earth will you make a movie with the word “Sex” family-friendly or at least suitable for 13 year olds?

So, cut away, censors. Save our eyes from the offensive.

One friend bitterly texted of her Sex and the City experience that she should have purchased a DVD instead.

BUT WAIT!!!! Did you know that if you purchase a pirated DVD here in the Philippines, you are supporting militant Islamic groups like the Abu Sayyaf?

Well, that is of course you would believe what the chairman of the Optical Media Board Edu Manzano has press released. He said recently that if we purchase pirated software, films, music, we are funding the activities of Jemaah Islamiyah.

The word “malamang” was used in the press release. This is the Tagalog word for “Most Likely.” Most likely is not “definitely.” Ergo, what Manzano said was mere speculation. My left eyebrow just quivered in disbelief at this accusation.

Is it just because most of the pirated DVD retailers in Manila are Muslim, these people are funding Abu Sayyaf? Oh hell no! How about the fact that a lot of piracy comes from China backed by the Triad? So, Manzano might even accuse those who buy pirated DVDs as funding the international drug trade as well.

I think Manzano just stick to dancing the papaya.

So, excuse me after I type this blog, I shall watch the downloaded film of Warner Herzog‘s Aguirre The Wrath of God. I’ve always wanted to watch this classic film of brutality and greed. Pity local cinemas opt for The Hottie and the Nottie than films of quality and high artistic merit. Better still, no cuts, no prude blinding me with thick fingers barbed with one track mind status-quo imposed morality.

Even if it were criminal to buy pirated DVDs, how on earth will I watch film classics? Do you think I can purchase a dvd of Battleship Potemkin in the malls where copies of horseshit romantic comedies are aplenty?

It is not just accessibility that is the issue. People say that piracy steals jobs. Why peg on the consumers the evil tag? I consider the big corporations with their bloodthirsty capitalist intentions to be criminal with their overcharged goods. I don’t think capitalists list “employee benefits” as their top priority. Profit is. For big multinational companies, profit is the bottomline, not employment. But it is not just the ideal of market issues that bug me severely.

Why must I subject myself to mainstream persuasion if the work has been vilified by a small group’s morality issues? I consider that imposition criminal itself. For people to say that I cannot think for myself and they know what is good for me ergo the censorship is no worse than these extremists groups bent over a theocratic way of life. That is terrorism for me. This is just as bad as theft.



  1. akala ko pa naman ang worst experience mo was having a rat crawl on you sa makati cinema square

  2. oo nga palah!!!! gahd those were the days! i watched pedro almodovar’s carne tremola in makati cinema square…and yes, may isang rat nag-decide na apakan shoes ko sabay kiskis sa legs ko…tumili akoh!!!!! pero mas matindi pa rin mawisikan ka ng ihi!

  3. The sad thing is this: I think even if the sex scenes in Sex and the City were left in there, it would still have sucked.

    This is so strange since many people who watched the premiere claimed it was good. Jesus. I believed them. How stupid of me. Hell is other people, indeed.

  4. Worst cinema experience: bats in the cinema! Bats flying near the movie screen! Where? Robinson’s Place–before it was yuppie-fied.

  5. hmmm…may ibang pirates na goldmine 😀
    teddy and i was looking over some pirated cds at imus when we saw almost all Pacino movies, some Scorsese, even Casablanca. New films like The Red Violin and Girl with the Pearl Earring meron din…

    They said Makati Cinema Square’s a treasure chest when it comes to these classic and elusive films.

  6. mito, promise….magandang source ng classic and art films ang makati cinema square. lalo na sa basement nila….malapit sa mosque…yes may mosque sa baba ng makati cinema square….meron dun mga films like the banned I Am Curious (Yellow) to operas to kurosawa films….and of course may hollywood shit rin dun…but andaming magagandang pelikula.

  7. oo nga po, ang hirap maghanap ng artistic films sa Philippines kaya most of the time eh sa dvd nabubuhay ang mga taong gusto ng magdang pelikula…

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