Thursday, October 17, 2013

INSIANG -- The truth, the real and the classic by: Uel Ceballos

photo clip from the movie Insiang
Set in the slum area of the country, Insiang was opened with the montage of a depressed location in its different shots and angles. Lino Brocka had shamelessly shown here the Philippines in its worse poverty-stricken state. It was released in the year of 1976 during the Martial Law period (under Marcos regime). Just when the first lady Imelda Marcos stood firmly to her beliefs of “the truth, the good, and the beautiful” and thereby claiming the duty to act as the star to light the poor men’s way, Lino Brocka and Mario O’ Hara boldly made a film that demonstrated the Philippines in its ugliest and worst condition. Insiang not just challenged Imelda’s principle but slapped hardly the administration as the film frankly stated the real circumstances in the country.

photo clips from the movie Insiang

Insiang told the story of a pretty young woman who strove hard to get the affection of her mother. Her father left them for another woman and her mother so bitter and infuriated had diverted her grudges onto Insiang. The film was made richly with interesting conflicts and it was bombarded with poverty issues,which included the effects it had on each member of the society. The story of Insiang was made with attention-grabbing plot that would hold you still on your seat up to the last minute of the movie. This dramatic film strongly stirred sympathy for Insiang who was harshly challenged by fate, which left her seeking for revenge.

Hilda Koronel as Insiang
Actress Hilda Koronel had given us here a knockout performance, as she not only excellently portrayed the character but proven as well that no other actresses in her generation would be more fitted for the role but she alone. Kudos to the whole casts and to the production team, whom with all their joint efforts had made the film a big hit that Insiang became the first ever Filipino film to go into the Cannes Film Festival. Its entry to Cannes did not win the favor of the Marcos but the administration barred instead the showing of film in France. Small wonder why the Marcoses wouldn’t want to show off the film in the festival where other foreign countries would be present – Insiang described Philippines in ways that didn’t complement to Imelda’s own version of “the truth, the good and the beautiful”. However, just as the movie was brazenly produced and shown in the Philippines, there was nothing indeed to stop the production team especially by that time that they had already gotten the attention of one of the most prestigious films festival in the world. In spite of the prohibition of Marcos to bring the movie to France, the producer had bravely sneaked the disc by carefully hiding it in her baggage and flying Insiang to the Cannes Festival.

It has been three decades now since Insiang was first released, but until today, you can still see those same sceneries that you have seen demonstrated in the 1976 movie. It seemed like Philippines has still a long way to go before it could finally lessen if not eradicate the issues of poverty.

For this classic Filipino film that blatantly discussed the society’s issues even if it could mean threat and danger to the lives of the whole production team, let’s drink to it with the perfect rate of 10 shots of espresso!

Movie details:

Title: Insiang
Director: Lino Brocka
Writer: Mario O'Hara, Lamberto E. Antonio 
Casts: Hilda Koronel, Mona Lisa, Ruel Vernal, Rez Cortez

Hunger Games Trilogy – “Glory and Gore go hand in hand.” (A song from Lorde’s album) By Lyn Bungar

Photo courtesy of
I heard about this song Glory and Gore by Lorde from her album Pure Heroine. The title definitely described my thoughts about Hunger Games Trilogy.

Hunger Games Trilogy – the book my co-bloggers were crazy about, so might as well take a look at it.

I got the chance to know about Hunger Games from a friend who was very helpful to download the movie for my sake. I admit, I really enjoyed the movie and I couldn’t get enough of Katniss Everdeen’s character. But reading the book is incomparable. I read the book for 3 consecutive days and only stopped for meals, bathroom and other important reasons. I was so hooked. It was like watching the film again for 3 days, only much better since I get to know the every bit of details of the story.

The Capitol created the Hunger Games as a punishment for the districts’ rebellion 74 years ago. Hunger Games is an annual event to remind every district in Panem how powerful the Capitol is and that the rebellion that happened in the past should not be repeated. Kids ages twelve years old and above is entitled to reaping. Reaping is the process that determines who will represent each district in the game. Every district will have two representatives, one male and one female known as the Tributes. They will fight to death until only one remains, called the Victor. Katniss Everdeen volunteered in the game to take her sister’s place. Her little sister, Prim, 12 years old, was originally picked as one of the tributes to represent District 12. Peeta Mellark, a bread-maker, is the other tribute. I am not a fan of violence, of bloody and gory fights but this novel is far more than that and has change my perspective about books or novels in the same category.
Photo from
The first book is my favorite of all, because of Katniss' sarcastic humor despite her state. The Hunger Games trilogy was written in the main characters perspective - Katniss Everdeen. She was a tough teenage girl, a hunter and someone who does not show her emotions to other people, especially her mom because she knew that these people will only break her in the end. 

Hunger Games highlights Katniss Everdeen’s fight in the arena. How her life transformed when she became a tribute. Her victory was seen by the Capitol as a rebellious act when she decided not to kill Peeta. She chose to die with him than win the competition alone. But since having no Victor is not part of the game, they both lived and named as Victors.

The Catching Fire, second book of the Hunger Games trilogy has a more serious tone and less Katniss’ humor. It shows the consequences of the mian characters’ actions in the first book. Katniss and Peeta were brought again in the arena, a different arena from the first Hunger Games. This time the participants were the Victors of every district in Panem.  She was with Peeta again. Katniss’ feelings for her co-tribute Peeta and her childhood friend Gale became more confusing. Katniss’ character is more confident, stronger and tougher this time. I get to know a different side of her. 

The last book Mockingjay is the most bloody and action-packed of the three books. The districts of Panem became the arena. Every district had an uprising against the Capitol. The head of the rebellion is the thirteenth district which was thought to have gone and burned into ashes 74 years ago during the Dark Days. It was the most shocking revelation in the trilogy. Katniss Everdeen became the Mockingjay, the sign of the rebellion, the people’s inspiration. A lot of characters was introduced and died. It is for you to find out who are they. The third book shows how the media played an important role in the districts’ rebellion against the Capitol. I remember my lessons when I was in College as a Mass communication student. A media team with Katniss and soldiers in the battlefield and airing it for the whole Panem to see is classic!

How a commoner, a teenage girl changed every people’s lives in Panem is the most inspiring yet heartbreaking of all. This book isn’t your typical heroes against villains’ story. It has shown the consequences and sacrifices in achieving freedom from tyranny. And that being a hero, you get to have the most unfortunate ending.

Hunger Games trilogy is a book that will connect to you in different perspectives. Can’t wait to watch if the Catching Fire movie will justify the second book! 

I can literally drink 8 cups of latte in a day for this book! :)


photo courtesy of wikipedia
If you are planning to watch Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman, make it perfectly sure that you have a full stomach. The sumptuous presentations and often display of foods in the film quiet have a mouth-watering effect to anyone who watches it. This 1994 Taiwanese film presented an amiable family consisting of a father and her three grown-up daughters. With Ang Lee’s exceptional direction, the movie successfully showcased a simple yet very strong topic concerning the culture and family tradition and the necessary adjustments that each of them has to make.

The main character Mr. Chu is a widower master Chinese Chef who has three unmarried daughters. Each of whom has different characters and beliefs – the eldest Chu Jia-Jen, a school teacher who is coming close to being an old maid, the second Chu Jia-Chien, an airline executive who’s the liberated and independent one, and the youngest Chu Jia-Ning who is still in college. The three daughters have been living in the same house with their father until the second one decided to move out.

Sihung Lung as Mr.Chu in Eat Drink Man Woman
photo clip from the movie
Ang Lee’s presented here the common situation that happen around wherein the grown-ups are already worrying about their aging parents. In this movie, the three daughters have been discussing on who will be left to take care of their father and they even came up with the idea of setting Mr.Chu to someone of his own age.

The story was brilliantly written – with the traditional ways being challenged, still the
photo clip from the movie Eat Drink Man Woman
importance of the family is perfectly highlighted. Mr.Chu and his three daughters are always having a Sunday dinner, wherein Mr.Chu is always preparing a real big feast. Here, they not only eat but also share one’s another updates. The Sunday dinner also becomes the main venue wherein big plans and decisions are discussed. Along the movie, you will find each daughter following the paths they have decided for their life and it always start up from a Sunday dinner conversation with their father. Sunday dinners will give you not only the pleasant sight of the food that are served on the family’s table but also feed you with tasty revelations coming from the daughters and from the father himself.

photo clip from movie
Eat Drink Man Woman
Eat Drink Man Woman has in store lots of surprises that will surely bring out the laughter and tears in you. Just as the delicious cuisines satisfied your eyes (if not your tummy); Ang Lee has made it sure that your impressions toward the movie will be greatly pleased as well. With all its smooth flow and sequencing, very appealing music, and ideal casting, I am confident to say that this movie will make you feel good and inspired at the end.

Just to share my side of story, I happened to watch this movie in the early morning of father’s day. After watching it, I realized that it perfectly fit for the occasion that day and I went right away to our kitchen to prepare food for my father that I myself had made. I suggest you watch it with your dad and with the whole family as well – this movie has really something on it that will not only stir your hunger but your appetite for a well-lived life as well.

For this delectable movie, I’ll give it eight shots of espresso!


Director: Ang Lee
Producer: Hsu Li Kong, Hsu Kong
Writer: Ang Lee, James Schamus, Hui-Ling Wang
Casts: Sihung Lung[N 1, Yu-wen Wang, Chien-lien Wu, Kuei-mei Yang