Friday, December 02, 2005


By Reymundo Salao

I sometimes miss life during childhood when me and my brothers would just stay home, lie in bed, lazy around, play games with friends, and watch TV all day. Having grown in an urban neighborhood, television and home movies played a big role in my childhood. When I was in Elementary school, it was the Betamax which is the ancestor of the VHS cassette format that was the tool for children like us to behave, just sit back and enjoy the movies that made our childhood memories. I remember how we would rent the entire STAR WARS trilogy and just watch the damn three movies over and over again until it made a geek out of me, especially during the long Christmas holiday vacation, the STAR WARS trilogy has seemingly become our Christmas movies. I also remember the classic Jacky Chan movies like “Snake & the Eagle’s Shadow”, “Fearless Hyena”, and “Drunken Master” that defined the childhood of many kids my age back then. Much to a point that whenever kids at my school broke out into a fight, they would make Snake kung-fu or Dragon Kung-fu stances, instead of just clenching their fists. Many of the old classic Jacky Chan kung-fu flicks have been restored into VCD and DVD format, but some like “Drunken Master” have been re-dubbed or re-edited because some of its film stocks have been lost in time. I personally would prefer the original classic version with the silly dubbings though.

Aside from the occasional “Clash of the Titans” or “Rambo; First Blood part 2” there also was the Pinoy classic “Ang Panday” and its sequels. Back when I still liked Fernando Poe Jr. as an action hero, he was the blacksmith who fought the forces of evil and a sinister and taunting Max Alvarado as Lizardo. I am, however gravely disappointed with the current rehash of the “Panday” saga. Jericho Rosales may have been a great Panday, it is the overall production, from storyline to special effects, and even to the costume designs that, for me, makes the new “Panday” series such a failure. There also was the action fantasy which stars Michael De Mesa entitled “Salamangkero” which I have not seen since then. I guess there’s also another Pinoy flick lost in time. I still am searching for some of the classic Tito-Vic-&-Joey flicks like “Fly Me To The Moon” and “Super One-Two-Three” to add to my collection of film nostalgia.

Back in my childhood, television was so different. Long before the era of Cable TV, there was network TV that showed programs from Manila a week late. An episode of TODAS or PINOY THRILLER would only be shown an entire week late and not live via satellite. I remember how so much of a big deal live network telecast from Manila is: News Watch was a big deal. At the time, no Network TV channel could contest to the popularity of IBC Channel 12 back then. Not only was it popular because of its being the pioneer in giving coverage to our city’s Dinagyang Festival, it also was the TV channel that conveniently showed the coolest filler films, the best cartoon shows, and the classics from which many of us learned how to be film critics in our own right. From the “Killing Fields” to “Ten Commandments”, from “Sesame Street” to the tagalong-dubbed “Voltes Five”, Network TV was our day-today urban life home entertainment system. We always knew we had to turn off the Nintendo Family Computer if we knew that “Diehard” was being shown.

So much for reminiscing, now, the appreciation of films is something that can now be done with ease. Many of the film classics that were then considered to be “hard-to-find” can now be found in your nearest home video stores. Some of the HARDER-to-find ones can be found in the pirated video shops. These days, there’s also the internet that can easily guide one to research about their favorite films and filmmakers. One can easily search what are the other films of Akira Kurasawa or what Pinoy films have become popular internationally. It’s certainly interesting tracing our own little history of film appreciation.

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