Aug 13, 2007

Cinemanila off to a good start

Uma Thurman and John Travolta were out of sight at the recent opening night of the Ninth Cinemanila International Film Festival. However, Quentin Tarantino, the man who directed them in landmark movies Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction respectively, was there in his cool outfit of black long-sleeved shirt and jeans to put a Hollywood stamp on the festival’s ASEAN theme.
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Tarantino’s star which is as huge as those of Thurman and Travolta’s in world cinema, made the affair star-studded and well-attended. In fact, the area where the cocktails took place was jam-packed before the director arrived. When he came, Tarantino wasn’t able to inch his way to the cocktails as photographers and admirers swarmed around him. Instead, he proceeded to the Cineplex 10 for the opening ceremonies.

“It was a dream to be here,” said Tarantino after accepting his

Cinemanila Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution to world cinema and support for Asian and indie films.

“I was excited to meet Eddie Romero early today,” continued Tarantino, a fan of Pinoy movies, which includes a collection of Cirio H. Santiago films. “We (talked) about history of Philippine movies and movies for the planet Earth. I was seven years old when I watched a Philippine movie with my grandmother in a theater. Most of these (movies) were released in the States. I feel I have a connection with them. I’m happy to be welcomed here.”

To show his enthusiasm for Pinoy movies, Tarantino said he even brought some prints of these movies with him.

He’s also an admirer of Chinese and Japanese movies. That’s why he has been using cinematic styles like wire kung fu scenes, sword fights and stylized action scenes in his movies. He was the brains behind the US release of Hero and Chungking Express.

His fellow Lifetime Achievement awardees were Prince M.C. Chatrichalerm Yukol of Thailand and Robert Maleangreau of Belgium.

Prince Yukol, a screenwriter and director, helmed King Naresuan, Cinemanila’s opening movie. It broke box-office records in Thailand and made Prince Yukol a top-notch filmmaker. King Naresuan chronicles the struggles of King Naresuan of Ayudhaya to achieve independence from Burmese invaders. Maleangreau, on the other hand, was cited for his promotion of Pinoy cinema in Europe and support for independent movies. In his brief speech, he thanked the late director Lino Brocka for bringing him here and introducing him to Pinoy movies.

Before the three honorees received their awards, Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. with Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista presented them each the key to the city.

Seen hobnobbing in the affair were Eddie Garcia, director Marjo J. delos Reyes, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, TJ Trinidad, Imee Marcos, hosts Jaclyn Jose and Gabe Mercado, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Jorge and Stella Marquez-Araneta, Christine Dayrit, Alfred Vargas, young directors Lino Cayetano and Quark Henares and Cinemanila Film Festival director Tikoy Aguiluz.

Although all eyes were on Tarantino, the important messages of Cinemanila were emphasized throughout the night: That the film festival is the Filipino story to the world. It is a venue to listen to great stories of the world in 11 days; and film, as a form of art, is the universal language of the modern time.
Jerry Donato
Philippine Star

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