Romance (film), 1999

I watched Romance because I googled Rocco Siffredi, who apparently, according to G, is one of the more phenomenal porn male stars there are. Thank you G 🙂 🙂

 

The movie is brave for its time.

We must remember that in 1999, the internet was just a baby (or maybe a toddler). Emails were used primarily for business/academic purposes, MIRC chatrooms were the norm, “blog” is an unheard of word, there was no Facebook (Twitter was just a dream), internet porn was in the fetal stage.

On the other hand, video porn was available way back in the 1960s.

Romance by writer-director Catherine Breillat is not porn. Though, one can understand why a lot of people would think of it as such. It garnered XXX ratings in several countries. And it did feature explicit sex scenes, masturbation scene, cunnilingus, fellatio, BDSM, rape — you name it, it has it; except for bestiality, necrophilia and other conditions that may be considered pathologic.

The raciest thing it was accused of was featuring unsimulated sex between the lead actress Caroline Ducey and eye candy Rocco Siffredi.

Ladies and gentlemen (especially the gentlemen), take it from me, speaking as someone who has had sex in all manners of undress and in various positions before, Caroline and Rocco did not have unsimulated sex.

It is difficult, well at least uncomfortable for the man, to enter a vagina in that position. Trust me — or try it, whichever you prefer.

That must be the reason why, as Roger Ebert said in his review, “At a screening at the Toronto Film Festival there was some laughter, almost all female, but I couldn’t tell if it was nervous, or knowing.”

Roger, darling, the women were laughing because it was funny. Rocco and Caroline could not have had sex, like penis-in-vagina sex, because if they had done so, Rocco would have sued Catherine Breillat for a broken (or fractured) penis — which medically, is not an impossible condition.

The female audience may also have been laughing at the BDSM scene between Francois Berleand and Caroline Ducey. Their second BDSM encounter is really funny. Again, try it, to understand why.

It has been 18 years since Romance was screened. Thank God, I did not see it in 2012, otherwise, I would have had some seditious ideas (knowing how impressionable I was) and G would probably have had a nasty headache on his hands.

In any case, between 1999 and 2017:

  • the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists,
  • in a certain Southeast Asian country: Erap Estrada was booted out of office, GMA became a fake president for 9 years and Noynoy Aquino became the highest leader in a country despite being single and accused (probably unjustified) of autism (what is so wrong with being autistic, I have no idea, people with Asperger’s can lead perfectly happy and productive lives), then he was succeeded by self-confessed murderer, Rodrigo Duterte (proving that the Philippines as a nation is the one with mental disability)
  • Friendster then Multiply then Facebook then WordPress then Twitter then Instagram were born … yipee!!
  • Sheryl Sandberg became a CEO of Facebook, ditto for Marissa Mayer of Yahoo,
  • Sex and the City re-defined how we see women who do (and I mean “do” in all sense of the word, prurient or otherwise), Girls finished 6 seasons and it redefined how we see women (or girls) interact with each other and the men (or boys) in their lives
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James became (undeservedly or not) a book and movie phenomenon (in the financial sense),
  • the Arab Spring happened,
  • Rocco Siffredi retired from porn (2004), then returned to porn (2009), then retired again (2015)

A lot of things can happen in 18 years.

When Romance was screened and Roger Ebert watched it, he had this to say:

“… the film has an icy fascination. Perhaps it is a test of how men and women relate to eroticism on the screen. I know few men who like it much (sure proof it is not pornographic). Women defend it in feminist terms, but you have the strangest feeling they’re not saying what they really think.”

It is my opinion that the reviewer sounded defensive or maybe baffled? I cannot blame the guy — he is a male, after all.

I wonder, though, what he will say about it now.

Advertisements

Whoever Declared March as Women’s Month, I Wonder

“You asked me to explain myself. I just wonder what needs to be explained. Let me be very clear. Look into your own heart. I swear to you, mine’s no different. You want a place in the trades and professions where you can earn your bread? So do I. You want some means of self expression? Some way of satisfying your own personal ambitions? So do I. You want a voice in the government in which you live? So do I. What is there to explain?”

(Quoted from the movie, Iron Jawed Angels; spoken by Hilary Swank who played the role of militant suffragette, Alice Paul.)

A scene from the 2004 movie starring Hilary Swank. Image from proyouththpages.com

A scene from the 2004 movie starring Hilary Swank. Image from proyouththpages.com

***

The thing is … Alice Paul, many would disagree with you; and debate that there is much difference between the hearts and souls of men and women. For example, the fact that Ms. Universe 1994 Ms. Sushmita Sen was asked the inane question: “What is the essence of being a woman?” illustrates this fact. Nobody would dare to ask a man: “What is the essence of being a man?”  with the express intention of expecting the guy to answer that his main purpose in life is to produce and take care of the next generation of human beings.

Alice Paul, 1885-1977, a militant feminist in the tradition of Andrea Dworkin. She got imprisoned numerous times and worked her ass off so that women in her country could get the vote. I think she was kinda pretty, almost as pretty as Justin Trudeau. The difference between Justin and Alice is that Justin has Sophie; while Alice's lovelife was so private we do not even know about it.

Alice Paul, 1885-1977, a militant feminist in the tradition of Andrea Dworkin. She got imprisoned numerous times and worked her ass off so that women in her country could get the vote. I think she was kinda pretty, almost as pretty as Justin Trudeau. The difference between Justin and Alice is that Justin has Sophie; while Alice’s lovelife was so private we do not even know about it. Image from biography.com.

I suddenly remember you, Alice, because last March 8 was Women’s Day and I think just this week, we were celebrating Mother’s Day.

I do not want to malign motherhood, Alice — an institution without which, I wouldn’t exist. But the thing is, people have ennobled being a mother to such an extent that not being one or not wanting to be one raises the spectre of “aberration” towards someone.

I am sure a lot of our sisters are ambivalent about motherhood — even those who are mothers themselves. Of course they would never dare to tell their children (or even other people) of this ambivalence; that would be like taboo or sacrilege.

I wonder if there will ever be a time when fatherhood is also elevated in the same pantheon of “nobility” as motherhood. When a guy can be asked: “What is the essence of being a man?” and for us to expect him to answer that being a man is all about being a father.

That is when I will truly believe that the struggle of feminism has succeeded.

***

Justin and Barry -- my favorite feminists. It doesn't hurt that they also look good enough to eat. Image from news.yahoo.com

Justin and Barry — my favorite feminists. It doesn’t hurt that they also look good enough to eat. Image from news.yahoo.com

And because it is Women’s Month, I would like to have the privilege to objectify men.

Hence …

What can girls love more than guys who just scream “eye candy” — like Justin and Barry over here. Some have speculated on the budding bromance between these two world leaders 😉

***

Reading Lists:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/03/10/the-budding-bromance-between-president-obama-and-canadas-justin-trudeau-in-11-great-pictures/?tid=sm_fb

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2016/03/heartbreak-dating-exhausted-medical-resident.html

http://www.vox.com/2014/12/15/7371737/rape-culture-definition

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/13/9523879/playboy-nudity-no

http://www.vox.com/2016/2/4/10877038/hitchhiking-woman-dangerous

Female Genital Mutilation More Widespread Than Previously Thought, UNICEF Says

 

Terminator: Genisys

Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese. The Terminator (1984). Image from wikipedia.

Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese. The Terminator (1984). Image from wikipedia.

 

So let it be known that my first-big-crush-of-all-time was Kyle Reese, as played by Michael Biehn in Terminator 1984 edition.

I was maybe 11 years old, and I had to sneak out to watch the movie on TV (on a local channel as we didn’t have cable yet) because I was only allowed to stay up til 8 pm on school days.

I remember thinking that when I have a kid, I would  definitely name him “Kyle” or “Reese”.

I remember wishing back in the 1990’s that something like a portable video player be invented one day so I can watch The Terminator over and over even if I am traveling. (That wish came true.)

I remember my delusion that maybe Kyle Reese was my soulmate. (Not true.)

I remember arguing with my elementary school friend Bernadeth (whose great big crush was John Connor as played by Edward Furlong) about who was the better guy, Kyle or John. Between Bernadeth and me, we must have created a hundred fan-fictions featuring these two movie characters.

I hated “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (mainly because I found Claire Danes strident, shrill and annoying) and detested “Terminator: Salvation” (stilted acting from Christian Bale and Sam Worthington). But I would have to disagree with 90% of the critics who had nothing good to say about the new installation to the Terminator franchise because I loved it.

It was like having a fan-fiction  come to life.

I would have to agree that Jai Courtney doesn’t have the intensity and world-weariness that Michael Biehn injected into the role; but he does have the necessary cuteness for it and I felt that he and  Emilia Clarke had some chemistry.

The scenes with Arnold were fun and it was amusing to watch him reprise the role.

The new plot twist is a headache, that I would have to agree. And the story is obviously unfinished and it is also obvious that they are just itching to do a sequel to answer the questions at the movie’s end. The problem is, it’s also clear that the T5 flopped at the box office so where does that leave us  now?

 

 

 

In Defence of Soulmates

soulmate from FB— Michael Fiore by way of Facebook

 

***

Alice was not into soulmates.

If one’s non-belief could be gauged by the number of times one’s eyes have rolled when hearing about the concept one does not  believe in, then Alice’s eyeballs would have reached Davao by now. It goes without saying, her friends (all females) have totally bought into the soulmate bandwagon.

But Alice was not buying. Why should she?

As the Julie Delpy character in Before Sunset had  exclaimed so eloquently “The concept is absurd. The idea that we can only be complete with another person is evil!

before sunset

Evil indeed. That also goes for Valentine’s day, mushy 1980’s lovesongs, and sentimental Facebook postings on her newsfeed.

The thing is …

…  when she met him, he would (and could) cajole her into watching a play or a movie, or a walk in the park on February 14. Out of principle, she should have declined. However, he would  put on this puppy-dog look on his face, smile so adoringly, and squeeze her hand. And out went her principles. (Thinking about it now, it seemed that she’d shed her principles with him the way she had shed her clothes — one piece at a time).

… when she met him, she was more into Bon Jovi or Nirvana (when she took the time to listen to music, which was not very often). His favorite song is a dopey Tagalog ballad called “Pag-ibig”+. Of course, she had to pretend to appreciate it when he serenaded her with that on their first anniversary. (“Anniversary” is another concept she did not believe in.)

… when she met him, he was not into social media. She persuaded him to put up a Facebook profile. Which he (reluctantly) let her do for him. That was one of the few times she was completely ecstatic in performing him a service.

Soulmate is a word Alice hates because it is just so … uncool … and corny. Acquiescing that it exists would (could, should) make her too … vulnerable.

It is just like that other word that starts with an “L”.

 

***

+ “Pag-ibig” is the Tagalog word for “Love”

The original version of the song was sung by APO Hiking Society

Nong tangan ng nanay mo
Ang munti mong mga kamay
Ika’y tuwang-tuwa,
Panatag ang loob sa damdaming
Ika’y mahal

Nong nakilala mo ang una mong sinta
Umapaw ang saya at siya’y ibang-iba
Sinasamsam ang bawat gunita

[Chorus:]
Hindi mo malimutan kung kailan
Nagsimulang matuto kung papaanong magmahal
At di mo malimutan kung kailan mo natikman
Ang una mong halik/Ang tamis ng iyong halik
Yakap na napakahigpit
Pag-ibig na tunay hanggang langit

Nong tayo’y nagkakilala ng hindi sinasadya,
Ikaw lang ang napansin,
Nahuli sa isang tingin
At sa pagbati mong napakalambing.

What Happened on February 25

people power 1

Image from http://www.revolutionrevisited.com. It is a very Pinoy thing to do revolutions prayer-rally style. See the image of the Virgin Mary in this picture? While I do not discount the power of prayer, I think it is high time that my people stop relying on a higher deity in doing the dirty work of building and maintaining a nation.

My baby sister was born!

Mommy delivered her at home; with the help of our neighborhood midwife, who happened to be the mom of my friend, Heidi. That time, home deliveries were still the norm and the Philippine Department of Health has not yet discouraged women against home delivery

Don't these sisters just rock!? It was 1986 and they were prating the rosary and were not afraid of being trampled amidst the millions that milled in EDSA.  Image from http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/2013/2/77-hours-the-behind-the-scenes-at-the-1986-edsa-people-power-revolution

Don’t these sisters just rock!? It was 1986 and they were praying the rosary and were not afraid of being trampled amidst the millions that milled in EDSA. A soldier was holding an armalite in front of them; and they were probably saying, “God bless you iho, now let’s do the Hail Mary.” And the soldier was reminded of his mom. Filipino males, soldier or not, are always afraid of their moms. Image from http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/2013/2/77-hours-the-behind-the-scenes-at-the-1986-edsa-people-power-revolution

My mom said that she considered my sister as the lucky charm of our family. Her pork business bloomed after Sister’s birth and she moved from  a D to a B minus (I am talking about social classes and not bra-cup sizes).

The Pinoy men at EDSA were not too shabby either. Here is a picture of several of them trying to do the impossible; which was to stop tanks using their bare hands. They succeeded. Image from http://desarapen.blogspot.com/2005/08/lasang-pinoy-1-yellow-confetti-pancit.html

The Pinoy men at EDSA were not too shabby either. Here is a picture of several of them trying to do the impossible; which was to stop tanks using their bare hands. They succeeded. Image from http://desarapen.blogspot.com/2005/08/lasang-pinoy-1-yellow-confetti-pancit.html

 

Were it not for February 25, 1986 ... Corry Aquino (the 1987 Time Magazine Person of the Year) would not have become president. Image from globalbalita.com

Were it not for February 25, 1986 … Cory Aquino (the 1987 Time Magazine Person of the Year) would not have become president. Image from globalbalita.com

***

“Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up: if a boy punches you he likes you, never try to trim your own bangs, and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, every story we’re told implores us to wait for it: the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. But sometimes we’re so focused on finding our happy ending we don’t learn how to read the signs. how to tell the ones who want us from the ones who don’t, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. and maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy, maybe it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. maybe the happy ending is just moving on. or maybe the happy ending is this: knowing after all the unreturned phone calls and broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment… you never gave up hope.”

— Gigi, a character played by Ginnifer Goodwin (He’s Just Not That Into You)

 

In fairness to my countrymen (and women) and me … we have never given up hope 🙂

filipino spirit

***

Reading Lists and Reference:

http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/184772/why-filipinos-have-to-learn-mindful-parenting

http://opinion.inquirer.net/82708/democracy-the-great-experiment

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2015/02/proud-society-provide-care-everyone.html

http://time.com/3716823/mars-one-space-travel-finalist/

Indulging in Drama (Uncategorized)

Eponine was belting out On My Own and Alice felt like weeping; this is what the cliché on unrequited love is all about — it is wanting to jump and drown yourself into the river Seine.

In her case, the Pasig river would suffice, with all its muck and centuries-worth of neglect and degradation.

Alice, stop it. You chose this, live with it. Don’t be such a goddarned ninny.

In any case, if she did cry right now, Kim would think that it’s a natural reaction to watching such a tear-jerker Broadway extravaganza as Les Miserables.

A few years ago, back in Manila, she watched a play called “Walang Sugat” with him whose-name-she-won’t-even-think-lest-she-become-depressed.

Walang Sugat” was a Tagalog zarzuela by Severino Reyes, a love story about a soldier who went to battle and the girl he left behind. The play was of the ”happy-ever-after” category.

Alice would usually classify plays, novels or stories into 3 categories: 1. the “happy-ever-after” 2. the “and-they-all-suffer/die-or-spend-the-rest-of-their-lifetime-on-Prozac” variety or, 3. the “uncategorized” category.

She was now wondering: if her and Jonas’s story made it to Broadway (or to Hollywood … ha ha!), what type of script or screenplay would it have?

If your life were turned into a movie, who would play it?” she asked Kim once they got out of the theater.

Kim had a ready answer, “Nicole Kidman! What about you?”

I have no idea. I like Lindsay Lohan.”

They would have to lobotomise her first before she can play you,” Kim laughed, obviously enjoying the discussion. “Or maybe you should be played by a not so well-known actress. Like that girl they want to be Anastasia Steele in 50 Shades of Grey the movie? What’s her name, Dakota something?”

Melanie Griffith’s daughter.”

Right!”

They passed by a homeless person and Alice thought, so this is not so different a world from the one I left, after all.

The big difference about New York and Manila,” she said, “is that everything here is … big. You don’t know if you want to swallow it before it can swallow you.”

Out of the blue, Kim remarked, “You miss him – Jonas.” There was no question mark after that statement.

Alice said, “Yeah, well … long distance relationships don’t work, quote unquote.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore! You can Skype or email or do Facebook or Twitter or blog or … you know, maybe even snail mail. I have an aunt who did that with her husband, a marine engineer who would be gone 10 months a year. They did snail mail for 18 years!”

Then what happened?”

He retired from the ship with a hefty bonus and retirement pay. And then he and my aunt went on a cruise, just the two of them. But he had a heart attack during that trip so he’s now dead.”

Are you trying to make me feel better or worse?”

I am just saying that for two people in love, time or distance shouldn’t matter.”

Kim, my friend, the operative word there is ‘should’ – something completely different from ‘would’.”

I think the two of you would end up together, no matter what,” Kim announced with conviction.

What makes you so confident?”

I set the two of you up. I wrote your story. I’ll be damned if it will end up to be anything less than a happy ending.”

In her heart, Alice was thinking: it could be Uncategorized.

A Friendly Get-Together

These days, Ana can’t stop thinking about her good fortune.

She and Christian are doing well both in financial matters and in the more personal aspects of their relationship.

The intensity that defined their first years together has mellowed and has settled into something like heated coals that glows toastily warm or blazing hot depending on one’s vantage point

dinner-with-friends-box-cover-posterLast night, they went out to dinner with Christian’s friends, a bunch of men and women that Ana is particularly fond of. This group has none of the affectations and city stiffness that defines their other friends from the school they met in. Provincial people is what these are, and Ana feels warm around them.

One of them, a thin tall man whose wife Ana occasionally sees in her work, has just returned home from his job in a foreign country. Let’s call him Aidan.

Aidan’s wife, a woman that he has known since high school and has courted during their college days when she was still in a relationship with another man, was laughing at her kids’s antics – a boy and a girl. The boy is impishly cute; the girl is as quiet as a reed and as thin as her father.

To this group comes (in his usual lateness) a fair skinned, slightly slanty eyed male in cargo pants. We will call him Jonah.

Ana imagines that Jonah must have some serious father issues. His dad left when he was small and his seeming brashness belies, Ana thinks, a huge chip (the size of a boulder) draping on his narrow shoulders. He has just gotten out off an “it’s complicated” type of relationship.

So today Ana was thinking: I think Jonah would hit it off with my friend from work, Madelyn.Who is a sometimes-separated mother-of-two, and is very pretty.

She floated this idea at Christian when they went home, but Christian was not too excited with this idea.

“Darling, your friend is married,” he told her with some tenderness and a whole lot of emphasis on the “m” word.

“Her husband is a jerk and she wants to leave him!”

“They are married and they have two children.”

She gave him an information that would get him to Madelyn’s side. “Her husband hits her.”

Christian was silent for about 5 seconds. “Okay, he’s a jerk. I agree.”

“So I think I’m setting her up with Jonah.”

“Ana, darling, for god’s sake, leave them alone.”

“Jonah is miserable. Madelyn is very miserable. Misery loves company.”
“I can’t believe you just threw that bumper sticker cliché at me.”

“Jonah is single and ready to mingle,” Ana continues with her clichés. “You said so. And Madelyn needs a sane steady guy with stable work to help her take care of her kids.”

“Do you realize what you just said?”

“Yep, I made it sound as if Jonah is a desperate DOM* and Madelyn is an opportunistic bitch. But then, we are also more than the two-word descriptions that people make of us – and you said that… darling.”

At this point, dear readers, Ana and Christian have gotten their clothes off and while they are not naked (we will call their states of undress en deshabille), they are currently eyeing each other wondering who between them will take off that last piece of underwear.

What Ana loves about making love with her husband: 1. He can touch her down there in a manner that she could never do with herself; 2. When he comes in her mouth, it gives her a feeling of accomplishment – like she just scaled a mountain. Or something; 3. When she comes with him inside her, she feels that she had come home to herself.

*DOM – dirty old man 🙂