“See you in six years” is the unfunny joke to friends, much of them artists who yearn to fight on. I for now don’t have the heart.
We all want to skip the Marcos years. All six years. They’re back in power, and I am still in shock.
We say, “See you all again,” because Marcos Jr. won by the largest of margins. An overwhelming majority. This is a nightmare.
*All sound was captured between the Duterte pandemic period to the first one hundred days of Marcos II. Sound was the only thing that could travel. We were in one of the longest lockdowns in the world. I wanted to capture a period of conversations and space and see how to convey things that would murmur along with dreams.
Marcos won and in his first hundred days in office, we were looking at symptoms that might harken to the years when Ferdinand Sr. was in power. Martial Law. Killings. Other excesses.
“Kailangan mo ba ng tulong?” (“Do you need help?”)
Our president was nowhere to be found when there was a typhoon that devastated a group of islands. Rumors were he was away on vacation (again). Headlines and photos of him in Singapore for the F1 weekend. When he chose to show himself on-cam and report to the nation, we quickly looked at the mise-en-scene: things on the wall behind him that felt art/production-designed (Is he really in the country with his family or is this a hotel room made to look like the country and his family? It felt like a hodge-podge of grids of spaces and faces in frames.)
And through typhoons and COVID-19, we still don’t have a Secretary of Health.
History is like chismis (gossip).
This was a time of gossip, or words flying in the wind. Marcos was able to convince a lot of people, revising, changing their place in history through Tiktok and vlogs, replacing traditional news media as sources of information. Textbooks here are all pro-Marcos, anti-Yellows (Cory Aquino onwards).
*All video here (except for one news clip) are student works. These are all submissions of their work from prompts that I give them to think about what’s happening. I wanted to see where they are, what they think and feel.
The car ride. Manila. It was raining one night. I wanted to say goodbye to my friends. We were off to Germany to be with family. So I asked to meet two of my friends. At the time of the recording, there was a journalist who was gunned down driving from work. So I didn’t quite feel protected anymore in this intimate space. I wanted to see my friends and talk for a bit.
We ended up gossiping that night. I was slipping in and out of a haunting somehow, throughout. A sadness all around that weighed down. They talked about their personal lives, and I asked them if this was okay. We took out a bit of details, and while I was editing and subtitling, my daughter came up to me and immersed in the soundscape.
Then I remembered my mother who just passed. And I still couldn’t subtitle my grief.
Then I felt like interrupting something: my ever spiraling subtext, splicing in sound of someone riding a motorcycle going somewhere. Just for rhythm.
The ending, juxtaposing it with the news of the journalist killed, is a cop-out because I didn’t know how to make an ending.
So see you again. I miss you, Mama. How does it all unfold from your eyes?
“John Torres is the poet of Philippine cinema. A poet with his own rules and ways of working.” – International Film Festival Rotterdam
“He stands out above the other filmmakers of the generation of independent filmmakers and their boom cinema of the present, as he is one of the most conscious of his art, and its purveyance in his art cinema.” – Rolando Tolentino, film critic
“…Torres is not only one of the best Filipino directors of his generation, but also one of the (already fulfilled) promises of contemporary cinema.” – Festival Internacional de CineUNAM