I was in the middle of juggling a million different things and my head was crackling with all the static that tends to roost and make noise when you’re juggling a million different things. But the lure of the Cebu International Documentary Film Festival (CIDFF) was irresistible, being a mash-up of two of my favorite things to do: leave Manila and go to a festival. Sitting inside an air-conditioned theater for hours on end watching films may not be everybody’s idea of a good time but it’s certainly mine and I’d take it over going to the beach or going to a gig any day. Which is to say it was a blast. And oddly therapeutic, too, as all the static in my head receded to a puny hum. By the second day, Manila was all but forgotten and my three days of jury duty have become, without bullshit, three of 2014’s best. Thanks to April Dequito and the rest of the CIDFF board for treating me like a King, and for wreaking havoc on my diet. Thanks, too, to my fellow jurors (from left-right) Ramon Tort, Gingging Dumdum, Janice Villarosa and Tom Davia. The time was too short, and hope we see each other again. Thanks, too, to all the people who said hello. I promise to write more, if only to remind people I’m still alive. Special props to the University of San Carlos. I saw the banner for their film screenings for the year. Badass programming. Always good to see film students moving on from Akira Kurosawa and Chalie Chaplin. All told, we saw some pretty good films, some I want to see again (Hiver Nomade, One Minute for Conductors, Racing With Legends). I found a spanking-new Lydia Davis collection at the National Book Store near the hotel. And not only did I break my decades-old embargo on pork twice, I also lived to tell the tale. I may have thought it was the worst time to leave Manila but turns out it was the best. I honestly didn’t want to go back. Good times. Daghang salamat, CIDFF. Daghang salamat, Cebu. Sa uulitin.
A few months after the bang that started 2014, two bits of news, possibly unrelated unless you’re the sort who believes in cosmic designs, conspired to pull me in two diametrically-opposed directions. One into fear and paranoia and confrontations with mortality and stock-taking. The other into art and industry and adrenaline and exhilaration and joy. This was not some fork in the road. These were two matters I had to see through at the same time, on top of the usual hair-pulling and torch-carrying and heart-breaking. And the emotional push and pull of the past six months since then has been ambivalent, to say the least. One does tend to feed into the other, and chances are this synergy is for the good of both.But I am still in the whirl of it all, as things have barely begun. And there’s a catch in the throat with every whoop of delight that I have no choice but to regard, with not a little hope, as a blessing in hiding. Suffice to say that this could well be the Worst year of my life as much as it’s shaping up to be the Best. Take my hand, then, and let’s dance this mess around.
In the time of your life, live—so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed.
Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.
Be the inferior of no man, or of any men be superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man’s guilt is not yours, nor is any man’s innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret.
In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it."
Bell Bottomed Tear, The Beautiful South
I love you, Briana Corrigan.
Stretch Out And Wait, Morrissey