MIKHAIL RED: Unimaginably Brilliant

MIKHAIL RED: Unimaginably Brilliant
a commentary

Mikhail's father, Raymond Red.
photocredit to his site.

November 29, 2008 -ATANG and Coffee

McCafe, Quezon Ave. I groped my pencil and write my accounts of the day inside a coffee shop. I waited for 6 o'clock to strike. By that time I expect my father and the rest of my relatives to text me confirming their location. I sat blindly on my chair with a semi-warm cappuccino smokes entering my nostrils. Intoxicated by the strong scent of dark coffee mixed with steamed milk, i ponder moments of my day.

Earlier that afternoon, i attended Floy Quinto's ATANG at Wilfredo Ma. Guerrero Theater at 2nd floor Palma Hall of UP Diliman. I almost forgot that i have to attend a play by 3 PM. My clock prior to that stroked 230 PM when my memory remembered about my Comm 3's scheduled play. That time i had to send a text message to my father and tito to postpone their pick-up time at 230 PM. So i clasped my bag and rushed towards the dorm like the wind. I almost break my ankle doing it. I prayed with exuberance and sighed to reassure my breathing is strictly okay. I flooded my closet looking for the stupid ticket and went directly downstairs, greeted Ate guard, and flushed a smile.

I consumed by mind with thoughts of being closed by the theater, but i got there just fine. Everything in me looked wrecked, but not to the extent that my i am sweating ugly and convulsing like a heap of wheat leaves. Tireless as hell, i went straight to the booth to verify my ticket and entered the theater with composure of a 'critic', a stupid idea i had while rushing stuff.

I sat 3 rows from the stage beside my classmates, forgive me, i don't recall their names. after fifteen minutes, a ticking bell rang inside the semi-quasi-dark theater. As my clock continue to sail, the tune of clicking bells increased in frequency. I smiled, for it was the first time i experience such pre-theater mode. Perhaps DUP made it. Or is it standard for formal theaters to make a signal sound like that?

A scene from

There were no curtains. The stage design conspired airs from 1940s to 1950s styles. I initially thought that the conglomeration of floral and curve lines deflates the stage. What i mean by deflate is that it conjures a decrease of space and size of other structures. However, the particular stage design (composed by Tuxqs Rutaquio) painted in white, stretched and expands the stage elements. i was astounded when a projected video clip, probably a black and white clip from a custom made ATANG filmography, on the white design. The effect exudes a new technique quiet modern and scenic for photography, film, and stage play. Glorified, i considered it as a breakthrough in modern play. The Projection effect, with the aid of a modern LCD projector, contributed to the scenes when Atang(played by Shamaine Centenero-Buencamino) and Gia Almonte (played by Ayen Munji-Laurel) reminisced Atang's past lives.

Wonderful Arch with The Projection Effect!

photo credit to tuxqs' multiply site

The interior stage design. Applause for Tuxqs!

photocredit to again, tuxqs' multiply site

A closer look at the stage design!

photocredit still to tuxqs' multiply site

In my position as a cinephile, i could not criticized a theatrical stage play or roost of actors and they way of delivering the acting part without the prior knowledge of the theater. But i am a bit astounded by the brilliance of Ayen Munji-Laurel's role as Gia Almonte. My eyes drooled tears everytime she sang Kundiman songs, and when she sang the song KITANG DALAWA a tear fell from my eye. I fled the theater mixed with the anxiety of my father's arrival in manila and Atang's wonderful experience.

Tuxqs(cool scenic designer) crowning Shaimaine(ATANG).

photocredit to tuxqs' multiply site.

Shaimaine Centenero-Buencamino

photocredit to tuxqs' multiply site.

MIKHAIL RED: Unimaginably Brilliant

One of Mikhail's film, The Threshold(2007).
photo credit to this site.

Still @ McCafe, Quezon Ave. I did have something to do at McCafe McDonald's below the MRT station. The cafe wasn't that crowded as Starbucks, and i personally like the ambiance and stillness of the place. I watched my cappuccino smoke flew away. I grabbed a copy of PDI dated the same day and browsed through the entertainment section, as always. Honestly, i skip the front page and the news section to decrease stress levels due to unfiltered depressing information from headlines, especially given that at that moment my nerve would likely to break for impatiently waiting at a fastfood store because my father(and the rest of my relatives) were caught in traffic down at Antipolo.

Gnawing the pages, i encounter a great find which brings us to my main topic for this post. located almost near the end pages of the bulky newspaper i settled to read RICA AREVALO's story on MIKHAIL RED, a multi-awarded filmmaker who debuted at the recently concluded 20th GAWAD CCP Awards for Alternative Film and Video. Sitting quietly seemed to be uncomfortable. In addition, without any cyber-gadget on the overnight stuff i brought, i struggled to 'blog' using pen on a considerably academic yellow-pad paper. My hands flicked as i noted important point from the article and surprisingly i, myself, could tell how important this newsbit was not only to my cinephilic interests but also to Philippine Cinema.

Days of FPJ's "Alamat ng Gubat" and "Panday" and the time when Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal reign the cinema stadiums sank in my thoughts. With this initial thoughts, i contrasted it with the present day scenarios when Hollywood's great commercial influence and capitalist projections eat out the cinema's old grandeur and high class. When one speak of Filipino Movies these days, people would think about Resiklo, prank sex comedies, unnecessary romantic comedies, and a bunch of indie films shadowed by piercing stereotypical viewpoints and goverment's censorship. I cannot deny the fact that the glory of Philippine cinema before 'the Enlightenment of 2008' reached the penultimate level of death and decay. I might not recall any important film shown this year other than the victorious PLONING.

It might be presumtious to say that 'the Enlightenment of 2008' is held in the hand of Dante(PLONING) and Mikhail. but i regard them as important catalyst and important figures that would determine future trends in Philippine cinema.

17-year-old Mikhail Red won two first Prizes. One, on Experimental Category with his masterpiece,"The Threshold", and the secondly, on Short Film Category with his film "Kamera". I found trailer videos of the film at his youtube account. I spare you two masterpieces by Mikhail:

"The Threshold" directed by Mikhail Red

The Threshold(2007) shows the dark adventure of two main characters played by Kiko Meily and Simon Nicholar Jr. I am particularly amazed by Red's use of animation to explore poetically the symbolism he wants to portray, in the basis of the trailer. The hood can elucidate a lot of questions to some of you. Questions like, what is the purpose of Red putting hood on an actor? Does he mean death? Or something else? Or injustice?

"Kamera" directed by Mikhail Red

Kamera(2007) narrates the role of camera and it's forming connections to next generation (i.e. lolo and apo). The film constituted shinning actors, Lav Diaz and Patricia Rollon. I believe that the dichotomy of youth and old age collaborates in this film. The symbolism of the camera may connote to further notion about the new forming age of Philippine cinema or world cinema as a whole.

Mikhail Red is a son of another cinema giant, a winner of Palme D'or for short film, Raymond Red. The father figure largely influenced Mikhail in creating film masterpieces. I quote, from RICA AREVALO's article:

"I was not forced into film making by my father. He always kept to himself with his work. However, as a child, i used to watch a lot of films on laser disc with him. i grew up appreciating the language of cinema." - Mikhail.

No wonder how an artist grow as an apprentice beside a master. Raymond Red catalpulted Philippines cinema last 2000 when his short film Anino(2000) in 53rd Cannes International Film Festival. The film reigned in the event with the Palme d'Or for standard-length films, DANCER IN THE DARK(2000) by Lars Von Tier, one of my favorite films belonging to my TOP 20 list due on last day of year, 2008. Anino trailer is shown below:

Anino by Raymond Red.

Peyups.com wrote an article on the early days of Raymond Red. You might want to peek, click here!

Raymond Red's winning stance for his 12 min Anino(2000)

as Palme d'Or for short film on 53rd Cannes Film Fest.

photocredit from his own website.

I quote again from RICA AREVALO's article:

"He is both my greatest ally and fiercest rival. He's always there to challence me. I learn a lot from him during car conversations while we're caught in traffic. He usually doen't attend shoots but he's first to criticized my work." - RAYMOND

"I always tell him that the art of filmmaking is not something that I can teach him. What I can do is point him in the right direction, so that he can teach himself and go on his own journey of self-discovery. The playing field has changed a lot since the early years of the independent and alternative film movement in the ’80s, to which I belong. Ultimately, the true artists will stand out and rise above the rest.” - RAYMOND

I salute Mikhail's glory on CCP grounds, and expect a lot of films from, and who knows he will reign as BEST DIRECTOR in CANNES, VENICE, or OSCARS.

if you desperately want to see the copy of RICA AREVALO's article on Mikhail Red click here!

Or if you want to know more about his father, Raymond Red, visit his website.

That's all for now!