Thursday, June 21, 2018

Dance gala and more in Pulso Filipinas at the CCP


Various dance groups and artists celebrate diversity in dance in Pulso Filipinas: Filipino Dance Gala 2018 Synergy in Philippine Dance happening this June 30, 2018, 7:00 PM and July 1, 2018, 3:00 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

Directed by Paul Morales, the show will feature various dance genres including folk, contemporary, hiphop/jazz, ballroom and classical ballet performed by CCP resident dance companies namely Ballet Philippines, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, Philippine Ballet Theatre, and the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group; Bacolod City’s Dance Pull Project; University-based Dance Companies such as UP Dance Company; and various groups from the NCR including Ballet Manila, Airdance, G-Force, Philippine AllStars and Belinda Adora Ensemble. It also features performances of Abbey Carlos & Michael Barry Que and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Ligaya Amilbangsa with the Alun Alun Dance Circle.

Pulso Filipinas aims to educate, enrich and deepen the appreciation of dance as a form of expression through the various works by Filipino dance artists, choreographers and dance groups as they aspire to unite the dance community.

Aside from the performances, the event will also have Body Talks that includes an Arts Online talk with Paul Alexander Morales, open rehearsals, round table discussions, a dance talk with Ms. Gina Katigbak, and lecture by Gia Gequinto. Dance workshops on hip-hop, ballroom, modern dance and adult ballet will also be conducted.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Getting back to Bach through Glenn Gould graphic novel


The Canadian pianist Glenn Gould has intrigued me a lot. As far as I can remember, I’ve always seen his name associated with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations BWV 988. This is not surprising since his 1955 recording of this set of variations has attained legendary status and is considered as one of the most important albums not just in classical music but in all of music history.

Those who know me quite well are aware that playing Bach is probably my biggest weakness. I do appreciate listening to his works and I usually find myself marveling at how he was able to compose such counterpoints. The architecture in his music is simply astounding. As I try to work my way into getting back into Bach, I happen to come across Glenn Gould once again which is inevitable.

A very attractive way for me to pump me up for Bach came to me through Glenn Gould A Life Off Tempo a graphic novel by Sandrine Revel. In this beautifully painted work (entirely done in digital watercolors), Revel jumps back and forth through several moments in Gould’s life. Some of them key moments like his first recital while some may seem mundane like his disastrous first attempt at fishing. And scattered in between these vignettes are sequences of fantasy attempting to grasp the thoughts and feelings of this visionary. These pages made me pause and savor the art more. And it somehow made sense to go larghetto at some point since not everything should be allegretto.

At first, I thought that having some characters recount their respective Glenn Gould experiences take away from the focus of the book. But these first hand accounts, that remained etched in these people's minds, were just the stuff that contributed to Gould becoming a legendary figure. I remember having to pause for a bit after reading about his first performance in Soviet Russia told years later by a witness. I had to stop so that I can let it sink in.


And don’t get me started with how the book captured the essence of the Goldberg Variations without the aid of sound or motion. That page was just sublime.


Clearly, reading the graphic novel was more than enough to make me give Bach another shot. Additionally, the book lists at the end recommendations on what to listen, read and watch. There are loads of resources available online too such as Glenn Gould's official YouTube channel. As for me, it’s on to listening to Glenn Gould’s legendary recording and working my way through Bach’s two part inventions.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

24th Fête de la Musique, the biggest so far with more than 40 stages (and counting)


Right after the Manila leg of the 23rd French Film Festival, it’s time for me to switch gears from film and go back into music mode in time for the Fête de la Musique starting this June 23, 2018 at various venues in Makati and in surrounding areas.

Now on its 24th edition, the Fête is one of the longest running music festivals in the country and this year is poised to be the biggest yet with performances happening on 2 main stages plus 40 (and counting) pocket stages in Makati and surrounding areas on June 23, at Intramuros on June 29, and then all the way to Laguna and Baguio on June 30. And add to that the Fête at the Park pre-event concert that happened at the Rizal Park last June 16, 2018.

I was actually looking forward to going back to the Fête last year (I missed it back in 2016) but due to security concerns, the organizers opted not to have any of the outdoor main stages.

Now, the main stages are back with the A Venue Main Stage having August Wahh, Baihana, Basically Saturday Night, Hernandez Brothers x Lowleaf x Planet Zips Philippines,  Lady I,  Cheats, Brass Pas Pas Pas Pas x Pochoy Labog, Oh, Flamingo!, Tukar Sinati x Radha, Kjwan, and Motherbasss  in its lineup.

Over at the Greenbelt Main Stage, the acts scheduled to perform are Ourselves the Elves, Hansom, Toni B., Bawal Clan x Butta B., The Blue Rats, She's Only Sixteen, LUSTBASS x Kat Agarrado, Pedicab, Orange & Lemons, Tarsius x bp Valenzuela, and Red-I x Ras Taro. The performances at the main stages will start at 4:00 PM lasting until midnight.

Lady's Symphony
Percussionist Narjess, DJ Liz Candy, and violinist Nyna

One of the main highlights of the festival is the visiting French music act performing during the prime spot at the main stages. But this year’s French act, Lady’s Symphony is not among the lineup at any of the main stages on June 23. Instead, the group, composed of DJ Liz Candy, violinist Nyna, and percussionist Narjess will perform at the Intramuros Main Stage at the Puerta Real Gardens on June 29. Other acts for Intramuros include Better Days, Shirebound and Busking, Joee & I, Shamanism, Dayaw, Tom's Story, Apartel, Ebe Dancel, Autotelic, <S>andwich.


As always, I’ll be heading over to the A Venue Main Stage (although I am also very tempted to check out Intramuros Main Stage too) and then I’ll see what I can check out from the handful of pocket stages that are within walking distance. Usually, there is a map where one can get a glance of where the various stages will be. But keeping track of the numerous stages, the music genres that has gotten a lot more specific now, as well as the acts per venue could be a tad overwhelming.

To aid the overwhelmed festival goer, a Fête PH mobile app was recently released where one can find out everything about Fête this year. I’ve downloaded it already but it’s not as user friendly as I hoped it would be. The app becomes cumbersome whenever I navigate to a pocket stage as I get directed to a facebook event page. I understand that not everything about the pocket stages is set in stone yet with all these updates. For example, I just learned that MTV Philippines is now the official music channel which is a recent development. Those running the app probably have a lot on their plate right now and I don’t envy their position.

I can’t say that I am a Fête expert but my simple advice to those attending, especially those who will troop over to the A Venue Main Stage is to wear comfortable clothing and footwear. And also be ready just in case the rain decides to join in the fun. But most of all, keep an open ear and be receptive to all the new music that one can discover in festivals such as this.

The 24th edition of Fête de la Musique in the Philippines is presented by Alliance française de Manille, in partnership with B-SIDE Productions and the Embassy of France to the Philippines, and is co-presented by San Miguel Beer.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Lay out the cards! Chihayafuru 3 premieres at Eiga Sai 2018


Due to popular demand, the Japan Foundation, Manila brings Chihayafuru 3/ちはやふる 結び to the Philippines premiering at the 21st Eigasai Japanese Film Festival this July 4-August 26, 2018.

Chihayafuru 3, the third installment of the live action film adaptation of Yuki Suetsugu’s manga series about the Japanese card game karuta will make its premiere at the opening night on July 4, 2018 at Greenbelt 1 Cinema 2 with the film director, Nori Koizumi, gracing the event. Koizumi will hold director’s talks on July 6 at the Ateneo de Mania University and on July 7 at Greenbelt 1 Cinema 2.

Director Nori Koizumi

To get viewers up to speed, the first two installments, Chihayafuru 1/ちはやふる 上の句 and Chihayafuru 2/ちはやふる 下の句 will have encore screenings during the festival. A demonstration on karuta will take place one hour prior to the screenings on July 4-5 at the Ateneo de Manila.

Aside from the Chihayafuru trilogy, Eigasai 2018 features a diverse line up that includes Let’s Go, JETS! From Small Town Girls to U.S. Champions?!/ チアダン ~女子高生がチアダンスで全米制覇しちゃったホントの話~, Rudolf the Black Cat/ルドルフとイッパイアッテナ, Survival Family/サバイバルファミリー, Honnouji Hotel/本能寺ホテル , Memoirs of a Murderer /22年目の告白-私が殺人犯です-, Tora-san of Goto/五島のトラさん, Tori Girl/トリガール!, ReLIFE, and Daytime Shooting Star/ひるなかの流.

Apart from the festival’s regular run, there will be special screenings of other films in conjunction with other upcoming Japan Foundation projects.

Director Hikaru Toda

Independent film Of Love & Law/愛と法 will have its Philippine premiere on August 4, 2018 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines with the director Hikaru Toda in tow during the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. Another screening and a panel discussion about LGBTQ, minorities, and inclusion happen on August 5, 2018 at the Cinematheque Centre, Manila in collaboration of the Japan Foundation Asia Center’s project EYES for Embracing Diversity.

The UP Film Institute – Cine Adarma leg of the Eigasai will include Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai/七人の侍 to coincide with The Spirit of Budô: The History of Japan’s Martial Arts exhibit to be held at the National Museum of the Philippines from July 21-September 26, 2018.

Playwright-director Hirata Oriza

Lastly, in line with Tanghalang Pilipino’s upcoming production of Japanese playwright-director Hirata Oriza’s Manila Notes, the Philippine version of the award winning play Tokyo Notes, the film When the Curtain Rises/幕が上がる, based on Oriza’s novel, will have a one-time screening on August 17, 2018 at the CCP Dream Theater. The screening will also feature a special talk by Oriza where he will also introduce the upcoming Manila Notes project.

The regular run of the Eigasai 2018 is as follows: July 4-8 at Greenbelt 1 Cinema 2, July 4-6 at the Ateneo de Manila University, July 12-15 at SM City Davao, July 27-29 at SM Naga, August 9-12 at SM Bacolod, August 12-15 at UP Film Institute, and August 23-26 Ayala Center Cebu.

Special screenings in conjunction with other Japan Foundation projects happen on August 4 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, August 5 at the Cinematheque Centre, Manila, and August 17 back at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Admission is free on a first-come first served basis except for the Greenbelt 1 screenings that has an affordable price of P100 per film.

Here are the films lined up for the 21st Eigasai Japanese Film Festival.

Chihayafuru 3/ちはやふる 結び (2018)

© 2018 “Chihayafuru” Film Partners
© Yuki Suetsugu/ KODANSHA LTD.


Chihayafuru 1/ちはやふる 上の句 (2016)

© 2016 "Chihayafuru" Film Partners
© Yuki Suetsugu/ KODANSHA LTD.


Chihayafuru 2/ちはやふる 下の句 (2016)

© 2016 "Chihayafuru" Film Partners
© Yuki Suetsugu/ KODANSHA LTD.


Director: Nori Koizumi
Starring: Suzu Hirose, Shuhei Nomura, Mackenyu

Hirose Suzu debuts in her first leading movie role as the heroine, Ayase Chihaya. Hirose has become the most sought after teen actress since her appearance in the hit films Our Little Sister and The Boy and The Beast. Directed by Koizumi Nori of The Liar and His Lover. Chihaya (Hirose Suzu), Taichi (Nomura Shuhei) and Arata (Mackenyu) are childhood friends, bound by their passion for "competitive karuta (Japanese traditional playing cards)." Chihaya and Taichi are reunited in high school, and together, they form the "Competitive Karuta Club" to train and compete in the national championship.

Let’s Go, JETS! From Small Town Girls to U.S. Champions?!/ チアダン ~女子高生がチアダンスで全米制覇しちゃったホントの話~ (2017)

© 2017 “Let's Go JETS!” Film Partners

Director: Hayato Kawai
Starring: Suzu Hirose, Ayami Nakajo, Yuki Amami


Film adaptation based on the true story of the Fukui Commercial High School cheerleading team's victory at the U.S. Championship. High school girls pour their hearts and souls into cheer dance. Directed by Kawai Hayato of MY love STORY!! Newbie high school freshman Tomonaga Hikari (Hirose Suzu) joins the cheer dance team on a lark so she can root for a certain boy at school. However, what awaits her is spartan training under the direction of a fiendish teacher. Her teammates quit one after another, but Hikari and her classmate Ayano (Nakajo Ayami) manage to endure the tough practices.

Rudolf the Black Cat/ルドルフとイッパイアッテナ (2016)

© 2016 "Rudolf the Black Cat" Film Partners

Director: Kunihiko Yuyama, Motonori Sakakibara
Starring: Mao Inoue, Ryohei Suzuki


Rudolf and Ippai-attena, a masterpiece of children's literature, is now a 3D computer graphics animation movie. A tale of cats, their friendship, adventures, encounters and farewells. Rudolf (voice: Inoue Mao), a black cat, is suddenly separated from his beloved master. He unexpectedly wakes up in a long  distance truck that takes him to metropolitan Tokyo. There, he meets Ippai-attena (voice: Suzuki Ryohei), a big boss cat feared by everyone in town. Unable to return home, Rudolf starts a life as a stray with Ippai-attena.

Survival Family/サバイバルファミリー (2017)

© 2017 Fuji Television, Toho, Dentsu, Altamira Pictures

Director: Shinobu Yaguchi
Starring: Fumiyo Kohinata, Eri Fukatsu, Yuki Izumisawa, Wakana Aoi


In this drama, a family scrambles about in an effort to survive a world without any electrical power. Waterboys director, Yaguchi Shinobu, writes and directs this film from his own original concept. The Suzukis are an ordinary family of four living in Tokyo. One morning, they wake to find all their electrical devices are not working. Then they learn the water and gas lines in their neighbors' homes are also shut off. The father, Yoshiyuki (Kohinata Fumio), takes his family with him out of Tokyo in an attempt to escape the crisis.

Honnouji Hotel/本能寺ホテル (2017)

© 2017 Fuji Television Network, Toho, Horipro

Director: Masayuki Suzuki
Starring: Haruka Ayase, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Gaku Hamada


The "Honnoji Incident", the most puzzling affair in Japan's history, is the subject of this mystery. It portrays a woman who, under strange circumstances, travels back to the Warring States Period just prior to the incident and her encounter with military commander, Oda Nobunaga. At the helm is Suzuki Masayuki of HERO and Princess Toyotomi fame. Kuramoto Mayuko (Ayase Haruka) goes to Kyoto where her boyfriend's parents live. In a back street, she finds and checks in to the Honnoji Hotel, but when she exits the hotel's elevator, she emerges in 1582 Honnoji Temple.

Memoirs of a Murderer /22年目の告白-私が殺人犯です- (2017)

© 2017 “Memoirs of a Murderer” Film Partners

Director: Yu Irie
Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Hideaki Ito


8000 MILES: SR Saitama's Rapper director Irie Yu remakes the 2012 Korean film Confession of Murder. Fujiwara Tatsuya of the Death Note series plays the enchanting killer Sonezaki, and Ito Hideaki of Lesson of the Evil plays Makimura, the detective who is following the case. The statute of limitations expires on an unsolved serial murder case that claimed five lives. Twenty-two years after the murders, the perpetrator suddenly comes forward. Sonezaki Masato (Fujiwara) shows up at the press conference with a defiant smile and a book confessing to his crimes in hand.

Tora-san of Goto/五島のトラさん (2016)

© Television Nagasaki Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.

Director: Masaru Oura
Starring: Torao Inuzuka


A documentary shot from 1993 and over 22 years chronicled a large family who make their living as udon noodle makers on the Goto Archipelago in Nagasaki Prefecture. It was awarded the Magnolia Award for Best Documentary at the 22nd Shanghai TV Festival. Inuzuka Torao, known as "Tora of Goto" runs an udon noodle making business on the Goto Archipelago. Every day, his seven children wake up at 5 AM, help with the business for an hour, then head for school. Over the 22 years the documentary follows them, the children all grow up.

Tori Girl/トリガール! (2017)

© 2017 "Tori Girl" Film Partners

Director: Tsutomu Hanabusa
Starring: Tao Tsuchiya, Shotaro Mamiya, Mahiro Takasugi


The film adaptation of Nakamura Ko's novel Torigirl which depicts the youthfulness of university students who stake everything on a flight contest held once every year on Biwa Lake in Shiga Prefecture. Yukina (Tsuchiya Tao) has just entered university. She is instantly smitten by an older student, Kei (Takasugi Mahiro), who invites her join the pilot team of the human-powered-flight club. The approximately 100 club members continue preparations for a summer contest, but another older student, Sakaba (Mamiya Shotaro), takes Yukina's place as official pilot. Then one day, Kei suffers a serious injury.

ReLIFE (2017)

© 2017 "ReLIFE" Film Partners
© Yayoi So/comico

Director: Takeshi Furusawa
Starring: Taishi Nakagawa, Yuna Taira


Live-action feature film adaptation of ReLIFE, which was serialized on the manga app comico and adapted for anime and stage performance. Directed by Furusawa Takeshi of Love for Beginners and Love and Lies. Depicts the main character giving his life a serious reevaluation. Twenty-seven-year-old Kaizaki Arata (Nakagawa Taishi) is unemployed after quitting his company job in just five months after something happens to him at work. One day, a mysterious man named Yoake Ryo (Chiba Yudai) invites him to participate in a social reintegration program called "ReLIFE" that involves taking medicine that will make him look 10 years younger and living as a high school student for one year only.

Daytime Shooting Star/ひるなかの流星 (2017)

© 2017 Fuji Television Network, Toho, Shueisha
© Mika Yamamori/Shueisha

Director: Takehiko Shinjo
Starring: Mei Nagano, Shohei Miura, Alan Shirahama


An adaptation of Yamamori Mika's identically titled comic which depicts the three-way relationship between a student, a classmate, and a teacher. In the director's chair is Shinjo Takehiko who has directed Beyond the MemoriesYour Lie in April, among other teen romance films. Suzume (Nagano Mei), who has never been in love, meets Shishio (Miura Shohei), her homeroom teacher at the high school to which she transferred. For the first time in her life, Suzume develops a crush on the kind and supportive Shishio. At the same time, the classmate sitting next to Suzume, Mamura (Shirahama Alan), who seemed averse to girls, confesses his feeling for her.

Of Love & Law/愛と法 (2017)

© Nanmori Films

Director: Hikaru Toda
Starring: Kazuyuki Minami, Masafumi Yoshida

Documentary about contemporary Japanese society through the lives of people in challenging circumstances including LGBT individuals and those left out of Japan's family registry system. Director Toda Hikaru, who has worked for many years in the US and Europe, depicts the lives of an openly gay couple who are lawyers. Kazu and Fumi are an openly gay couple who run a law office together in downtown Osaka. They met 15 years ago, and are inseparable in work at in their private lives, but their relationship is not recognized by the law. They both dream of being parents. One day, they find themselves caring for a boy with no place to go.

Seven Samurai/七人の侍 (1954)

© 1954 TOHO CO., LTD.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Isao Kimura


The masterpiece samurai period film by master filmmaker Kurosawa Akira. Upon painstaking research into the period, Kurosawa employed multiple cameras to simultaneously capture the unfolding true-to-life battles. The film captured the Silver Lion at the 15th Venice International Film Festival and has engendered many remakes including The Magnificent Seven. In the Warring States Period, peasants terrorized by bandit attacks decide to hire samurai to protect their village. Kambe (Shimura Takashi) assembles a group of samurai, and joined by the thug, Kikuchiyo (Mifune Toshiro), the seven men stake their lives to stand up against the bandits through a variety tactics.

When the Curtain Rises/幕が上がる (2015)

© 2015 O.HK/FTRDKP

Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro
Starring: Fumiyo Kohinata, Eri Fukatsu, Yuki Izumisawa, Wakana Aoi


An adaptation of Hirata Oriza's play by Bayside Shakedown series director Motohiro Katsuyuki. The members of idol group Momoiro Clover Z star as high school students who grow through their involvement in a lowly drama club. Among their co-stars is Kuroki Haru, who won a Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2014 for her performance in The Little House. Fujigaoka High School's drama club has never made it past the preliminaries in regional competitions. Under the tutelage of Ms. Yoshioka (Kuroki), known as "the queen of school theater," the determined Saori (Momota Kanako) and her fellow clubmates band together in the hope of making the national championship.
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