SUNDAY, MAY 2 | CHILDREN METAL DIVERS | 12:00 PM | DGA 2
|CHILDREN METAL DIVERS
DATE: SUNDAY, MAY 2
TIME: 12:00 PM
VENUE: DGA 2
CHILDREN METAL DIVERS (Baseco Bakal Boys)
(Philippines, 2009) Dir.: Ralston Jover; Scr.: Ralston Jover, Henry Burgos
Video, 88 min., color, narrative, in Tagalog w/ E.S.
BAKAL BOYS follows a day in the life of a group of children who dive perilous depths into the polluted waters of Manila Harbor to scavenge for metal scraps. In the course of the day, we see them as children, playful and raucous, but their savvy and hardened exterior remind us that these moments exist amidst a life filled with uncertainty and desperation. BAKAL BOYS continues the re-emergence of Philippine films, ubiquitous in film festivals around the globe while attaining prestigious awards along the way (most recently, Brilliante Mendoza’s 2009 Best Director prize in Cannes). Director and co-writer Ralston Jover has played an integral role in the resurgence. He wrote TIRADOR and FOSTER CHILD for Mendoza as well as co-writing KUBRADOR for Jeffrey Jeturian (all seminal works from the recent wave of Philippine independent cinema). However, in his directorial debut, Jover has found a voice both in tune with his contemporaries while achieving an aura and mystique all its own.
The film focuses on the precocious Utoy and his best friend, the caring and pensive Bungal. It is in Bungal and his relationship with the ocean where we have the film’s emotional and near mystical core. It is the sea, after all, where the duality of their lives co-exist, as exuberant children diving in make shift flippers and goggles and as fearless swimmers providing a source of income for their families as they risk their lives for an extra handful of leftover dinner. Jover depicts the tragic dichotomy by contrasting extreme poverty with an elegant and naturalistic visual style. The remarkable underwater footage of the dim and filthy waters of Manila Bay is shot with sunlight penetrating through, creating luminous greens amidst murky browns. The warm hues of the skyline and the shadowy dark spaces of the ram-shackled homes and decrepit piers further provides backdrop for the precarious presence of the boys. Jover has not only recalled neorealist masterpieces, most notably Vittorio de Sica’s ode to adolescent friendship and survival, SHOESHINE, but also the dreamlike, ethereal films of Terrence Malick fused with Charles Burnett’s profoundly sweet and sad KILLER OF SHEEP. Jover’s humanity is eloquent and his style lyrical and mysterious.
— Joel Quizon
(Philippines, 2008) Dirs.: Johan Bosma, Salvador Valdez
Video, 7 min., color, narrative, in Tagalog w/ E.S.
Maria, a poor Filipino girl, finds that in order to care for her sick father, she has to cross a line she thought she would never cross.