The 15-year rule of movie history
In an article in the NYTimes, A.O. Scott parlays the notion of American film critic F.X. Feeney: that a decade and a half after a nation undergoes radical social and political transformation, its cinema will experience a burst of creativity. Cases in point: the French Nouvelle Vague and their brash new way of upping le cinema du papa, the Italian NeoRealism of Antonioni, Fellini with their missing bicycles and traveling circus themes, the angry young men of the British new wave—all of it cresting in the 60s, chronicling the gritty life of post-WWII Europe with every inch of film stock they could get their hands on.
The theory doesn’t only apply to Europe, it also moves Eastward. This year’s Cannes is well represented with films from Asia (, or at least paying tribute to Asia (in the case of Tarantino). Even Latin America is having this flourishing of movies. And it’s not just the Mexicans upping the energy level, the entire continent seems to be catching up. What’s sad is that while there are a bunch of movies from HongKong, Thailand, North Korea and China, which more or less proves the 15-year theory, there’s hardly anything we can show for ourselves. I’m starting to have serious movie envy with Thailand and Korea, even if they started with copycat The Sixth Sense type movies (stooping as low as the I’m so lonely acacia tree for all we care), but guess what they’re being watched all over. Sure, Babae sa Breakwater is in the playlist, but Ghost in the Shell 2 made it to the competition, so what does that mean?
Yes, we had that entire pito-pito buzz happening a few years back, with directors coming up with interesting plots and executing it quite well given the shoestring budget. As I’ve said before, our cinema seems to be propelled by libog, but I’ll be waiting for the day our cinematic feasts of talong, itlog, kangkong, buko pandan and whatever else is there in the agribold bandwagon conquer multiplexes everywhere.