Sunday, January 25

Scorpio Nights and other consumer updates etc.

I finished reading Kathryn Harrison's "The Kiss," and it depressed the hell out of me. It's a personal narrative of a daughter who had an affair with her long absent father--not exactly coffee table reading, but I finally managed to wade through it.

There's a particular scene there where the mother brought her daughter to the gynecologist to have her fitted for a diaphragm. She wanted to protect her daughter from the "evils of college life." Sounds fine, except that the girl was technically a virgin and should the doctor do that, he would have to deflower her with clinical instruments. But the mother was still insistent and the daughter had to endure all of that. I say, no bleeding way! I mean, what a way to go, right? Pardon the pun and all.

I'm now reading Douglas Coupland's Life After God. I'm just about halfway into the fourth story.

In other worlds, Astrid informed me earlier in the week that the original Scorpio Nights is now available in VCDS in your friendly neighborhood Astrovision. I searched for it last Wednesday at the Glorietta branch and in the other video stores there but they didn't have it. The following day, I went to SM Manila with my brother and found a copy there. A Pinoy cinema gem for Php150. Not bad at all.

I didn't get to watch the video until Saturday though. I realized that the actor I thought to be Orestes Ojeda all my life had to be some other character actor, because the sekyu in the film was definitely not him.

If I'm not mistaken, I think Scorpio Nights has been declared one of the best Pinoy films ever, but it's also been banned because of its many many graphic sex scenes. But it does make a point: what good is it to see many shots of nudity when the object of fantasy lies very very still and apparently doesn't care much for the sex? I felt bothered watching those scenes, which was probably the point of it all: Just how much mechanical sex on screen can you take? Will you even try to get off at something like that?

The movie is set in one of those dilapidated bahay na bato in old Manila, populated with the great unwashed. All the characters in the film are -er beauties: driver, worker, peeper, whatever. Save for this preppie guy who is kind of tisoy and very preppy, they're all greasy and just hang around in their short denim cutoffs, playing basketball or making tsismis and fantasizing about the sekyu's wife. One of the -er guys, a young "Engineer Feati" Danny, fancies the wife. He conveniently lives in the apartment directly above Mr. and Mrs. Sekyu's. There are holes on the floor from which he gets very good views of what goes on in there. He knows the routine so much that when he got the chance, he entered the apartment and mimicked Mr. Sekyu's act and got to sleep with the wife, who sleeps with no underwear for the easy access and just pulls down her nightgown when everything is over. And she doesn't even open her eyes, not once.

It's really freaky to watch it. It has Freud written all over it. And the most popular stills from that film as represented in film books and in all subsequent film homages is that of Danny's eyes peeping into the hole. It's not long before his penchant for peeping turns into a yearning for some, uh, interactive gaming. Both voyeur and bored wife get drawn into mad, animal sex complete with rain effects, meowing cats and transparent raincoats. I pity the cats.

In the film, there's this guy with the guitar who was constantly singing. At one point, he was singing that "Lay-la-lay-lay-la-lay-lay-la-lay psssh!" and then everyone does the sound effects. It was really funny.

My only beef about the video is that it is too scratchy in parts, especially in the beginning where the film stock could have been exposed to the elements and all. But still a very good buy. At least it didn't end up as torotot.

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