Interesting how I'm back to watching movies - and how I couldn't put myself to sit for longer hours to read the Italo Calvino book that I've been meaning to finish this year. Very odd. It's like entering in phases and cycles. I wonder what triggers this switch, or if there's a pattern behind it.


I have this friend, Y, who I get to see after a couple of years, but who I still feel close to, despite the distance. When we met at a sausage shack in Cubao last night I told him how we've actually met ten years ago online, during the heydays of blogging. We get to see each other once in a while: twice in a Korean joint near his university - when he was still a fledgling law student - while I was an advertising slave. I sometimes forget and had to remind myself that Y was one of those really quiet people at the get-go - laconic, if I may use the term. He needs some time to warm up to people. He's the type who wants you to do the talking at first, but alcohol loosens him up. He's still a smoker. We talked about a lot of things. In a way I always feel comfortable talking to him about things I would have never told anybody else - maybe it's the distance, that comfort you have with near-strangers. We went to two bars - one in Cubao, another in Timog. We talked about my family, his girlfriend. Our career. His car, a grad gift from his parents. Putting on weight. Past trips in Bantayan, in Bani, in El Nido, in Hanoi, in Osaka. Their skin regimen. Our bills and finances. We talked about our plans and dreams, our worst mistakes. When we saw a white Labrador I said I wanted to hug it. He said he didn't like pets in general. One difficult question: how does it feel to be a dad? I asked his opinion about the recent news about hazing in UST. His smartphone's wallpaper is an unflattering close-up of a very chubby face - his girlfriend's pic as a child. He never wears anything in his feet when driving - he wanted to feel the pedal. I had to bring up V and it fascinated him for as long as I could remember - When? How did it feel? What made you decide? Then there were more memories - my first cigarette, those night-outs we had with blogger friends in this bar in Katipunan, etc. Those were the days, I said, when we had so much time and little money.


Begin as close to the end of the story as possible. - Kurt Vonnegut


La Ritournelle

I have a weakness for films that have less dialogue and more… images. People smoking cigarettes where you can hear them exhale and think of things to themselves. Waves smoothed by gentle summer breeze.  Aimless walks in parks. Long and lasting hugs. Stares thrown to one another across the room. Specks of dust suspended in rays of sunlight. Spare conversations - where there’s much more space room for thought. Oslo, 31 August has this quality. There was this scene where the girl Anders (the protagonist) found in a bar asks him to join her in a public pool, along with a couple of friends. It's a momentous day: it was the last day of summer, and pools will be closed until the next year. You can see the confusion in Anders' face... how he wanted to jump in and retreat at the same time. I like that. I like how this took place without being said. I also like that part where a trip to an upscale cafe became an opportunity to watch people and eavesdrop on their conversations; although you couldn't really read what was running in his mind, you couldn't help but think that this made him realize how shallow people's problems are in contrast to his, a recovering drug addict who is trying to drown his own demons - which surfaced in his job interview as an editorial assistant. He would later learn that his friends, despite leading successful lives, have issues that are just as complex, aggravated by the fact that theirs are suppressed and hidden from plain sight: Mirjam and her anxiety towards having a child with her fiancé Calle; his sister's wariness over his progress; his ex-lover's tacit rejection of his calls despite his pleas. His conversations with Thomas were the only thing that's comforting - it's the only part that gave Anders hope. Only when he found his childhood home with furniture piled up and and china kept in boxes that are about to be moved out - as the house is sold by his parents to pay for his rehab - did he realize that his case is hopeless, and he needed his fix.