Manila, 4 February—Ah, February. Either you hate it or you love it. :) This week has been a sort of feast for me—I finally got to watch Call Me By Your Name at the cinemas and finish One Day at a Time's season 2 on Netflix. Plus, I sat through the fantastic Graphika Manila conference—what a great stimulus dive, that one.
Caught Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Luca Guadagnino's 2017 film, "Call Me By Your Name" when it finally got its commercial cinema run earlier this week. It's a gorgeous coming-of-age film that follows 17-year-old Elio and their family's American summer guest/his father's research assistant, Oliver, as they bike through a beautiful Italian summer, dipping in lakes and wearing criminally short shorts.
The colors and the locations are perfect, and the languid pace is fitting, I suppose, in depicting the slow unfolding of a first love. To be honest, a lot of it was new for me—for someone who has been primarily exposed to coming-of-age films featuring women, "Call Me By Your Name" was a revelation, though admittedly, many portions seemed confusing to me, and there were many obviously emotional beats that I was unable to connect with.
I was parsing my reaction to the film afterwards: Long story short, I was underwhelmed, and I feel really bad for not liking it as much as I wanted to like it. It was okay—but I didn't relate as much as I had hoped with either Elio or Oliver. I wasn't able to see through their characters, get to know them as intimately as I wanted, nor was I able to fully appreciate where they were coming from.
Perhaps this is because I'm a woman-loving-woman: I am unable to "fill in the blanks" for their logic and their motivations, unlike, say, when I watch and appreciate a coming-of-age film featuring a younger girl who falls in love with her mother's older research assistant, who happens to also be a woman. (LBR, I'd watch this.)
I understand that this is possibly my shortcoming, influenced by my own biases, but here I am suddenly reminded by my reaction to the Jasmine Curtis/Louise delos Reyes starrer "Baka Bukas", which I also did not like very much, despite it being a coming of age movie about two girls discovering love in the city. I remember feeling this familiar mix of confusion, disappointment and self-loathing: Why can't I like nice things?
But I digress.
That said, I'm not saying I did not enjoy Call Me By Your Name—I did, and Chalamet's face in that final scene is simply devastating. It reminds me (a bit) of Blue is the Warmest Color (Lea Seydoux/Adele Exarchopoulos). Watch it if you can! :)
Feature Netflix binge: One Day at a Time Season 2
Justina Machado is Penelope Alvarez and Rita Moreno is Penelope's mother, Lydia, in this heartwarming family comedy about three generations of a Cuban-American family.
We finished bingeing Season 2 of One Day at a Time this week—god, what a good show! The 13-episode season made me laugh, made me cry, made me think. I have always loved how the show manages to discuss several issues with tenderness and nuance—from race and immigration, to religion and gun control, to LGBT and coming of age, to mental health: This series touches on them, and more.
Super duper loved mami Lydia in this season—watch til the very end! The finale made us cry, and ugh. Good show, more please, I miss it already!
And now for something unexpected: I won the raffle at Graphika Manila!
I don't even go here haha
My first time attending Graphika Manila, the country's premier conference for creatives, was super fun! It was such a stimulus dive especially for someone like me, who hasn't really been exposed to these kinds of events. Listened to Adam J. Kurtz and Chris Do, whose insights I found particularly relevant. Also enjoyed the talk of the guy behind Cool Shit, whose other projects include a giant installation of Lionel Richie's head.
I learned a lot. I'm not sure I needed to know all of that (haha) but here I am.