History Lessons

on Jerrold Tarog’s Heneral Luna

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It was one of the perks, I guess, of using an outdated text book back when I was in fifth grade primary school to still read bits and traces of the nationalist-democratic movement’s thought in the popular mindset back then. It was in the discussion of post-colonial to fifties Philippine history back then that I get to learn terms such as “globalization” and “neocolonialism”, the conditions by which the IMF and the World Bank was founded, and how the Philippines became indebted to it. Which is why it comes as a surprise to me that most college students I get to talk to recently does not have an idea what these terms are or these establishments are for, or, if I get to find by luck, a certain student know only bits of it too: just the definition or only being left to the informational level (in Barthes’ terms) of the word’s meaning. Continue reading “History Lessons”

Notes on Godzilla Resurgence and Love & Peace

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Godzilla Resurgence (left); Love & Peace (right)

Two sides of the same sentiment, but of different political position. Both has something to do with United States’ Nuclear Terror attack back in 1945. Both uses the Kaiju as a metaphor to the Nuclear bomb.

First, Hideaki Anno’s and Shinji Higuchi’s Godzilla Resurgence (2016) as outright rightist, friendly to imperialist US but with critical distance. (Wrote a 600+ word review on this, will probably appear somewhere soon, if not, I’ll just post it here.)

Second, Sion Sono’s Love and Peace, mostly anti-government critique of the use of languages of development, love and peace to censor the nuclear threat and history. Such a way that its critique also goes to neo-liberal politics and literature.

What they both may have missed is that, they both aligned with the government’s and Japanese mainstream historian’s effort to censor Japan’s war crimes from the Sino-Japanese war (Nanjing Massacre) to the World War II (Comfort Women issue), in exchange of their victim stance due to Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

My guess, since I only have the privilege of guessing and not actually witnessing, is that their text books must have soften the narration of the nuclear attack perpetrated to them by the end of World War II, hence the production of literature such as these two not to forget that the attacks were an atrocity; terrorism.

I don’t know if Sono’s trying to address all the Japanese war issues one by one (both the nuclear attacks and the Japanese war crimes), whenever I think about the Comfort Women issue, images from the last part of Tag (2015) appears in my mind. This might be a possible reading, but might be negated otherwise, I can re-watch the film to validate, if I find the time.

Symphony of Development and the Ideology of Speed

on Walter Ruttman’s Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt and Railways

Walter Ruttman - Berlin, Symphony of a Great City (1927).avi_snapshot_00.08.17_[2016.09.03_16.12.23]

[For Film 220]

Railways, for the last century, has been the metaphor for development and progress. It could be said that a certain country’s richness could be grasped by the state of its railways. It’s very much fitting for Walter Ruttman to open his film, Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, with shots from and of rail tracks and train cars, it introduces Berlin as a place of promise and development. Trains also feature an uninterruptible quality (but only until the next stop), which has reduced travel time for different sectors of society, allowing fast market exchange, in consequence, fast market growth. Economies depended a lot on this very idea of growth through speed – so much that speed became an end-all, be-all—and there’s a constant need for things to move faster.

Continue reading “Symphony of Development and the Ideology of Speed”