Live movie-watching is alive & well in Manila
LIVE FEED - Bibsy M. Carballo () - May 2, 2012 - 12:00am

In a land where anti-piracy laws and intellectual property rights are respected as far as the blind eye of authority can see, it is interesting that movie theaters can still pack the house. Whether we admit it or not, we’re all suki to an underground market of pirated DVDs that provides cheap entertainment and is the scourge of the movie industry everywhere.

With media rapidly transferring to digital formats, we can surmise that traditional forms of entertainment and information are completely on their way out. Look at what Kindle has done to megalithic bookstore chains in the West! The print media must either transfer to the web or worse, must offer its news for free. The music industry is in an even worse state, and locally, only big names can sell records. And what of the movie industry? Walking through Greenhills we encounter hawkers whispering “DVD, Ma’am/Sir” and follow them to a corner for cinema’s latest hits from the US, Hong Kong, Korea and elsewhere.

But there is still a part of the movie industry that will remain out of reach for the black market — the cinematic experience. Rupil Briones, a waiter at a Japanese restaurant at the Podium, tells us that he would welcome a cinema date with the barkada, dinner and Starbucks after the film, for what he considers important bonding times and most especially, for the “cinematic experience.” “Nothing beats watching a movie in a theater, with ‘sensurround’ you can’t have at home and great details on the big screen that we would miss on a TV screen.”

Of course, like typical Pinoys, they would go for sex and action, local or made in Hollywood. No one will argue with the box-office record of The Hunger Games, and even No Other Woman and Praybeyt Benjamin.

Hunger Games became a big hit worldwide

Ronald Marcelo of Sampaloc agrees. In fact, he scours film reviews before choosing a movie to watch, avoiding what he calls “predictable” films and preferring those from books made into movies. However, he also succumbs to the will of his gang for nights of bonding and fun. But he adds that he also likes to go to the cinema alone. It is something like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City celebrated in saying that New York City was her favorite date. Indeed, at times, Manila is our favorite date.

The cinematic experience with its broad screen and cavernous room is a perfect break from reality, a two-hour holiday where we let our minds go empty and be taken on a journey that only live cinema can offer.

Oscar winner launches Italian series at Shang

One night recently, we watched at the Shangri-La Plaza Cinema Gabriele Salvatores’ Mediterraneo, an Italian comedy that won the Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards of 1991.

Set in 1941, after Italy joined Germany in the war against the Allies, the film follows the exploits of a group of undisciplined Italian soldiers sent to a tiny Greek island on the Aegean sea on lookout duty until they find themselves cut from civilization and falling in love with the place. It has been described as a fairy tale “whose most daring conceit is that love, in one form or another, makes the world go around. “

If this is the kind of film the Italians show monthly, in cooperation with Shang, the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Philippine Italian Association, we would recommend it highly to everyone. Call Shang cinema for schedules at 633-7851 local 171.

(E-mail your comments to bibsymcar@yahoo.com. )

ACADEMY AWARDS BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE CALL SHANG CARRIE BRADSHAW FILM DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE PHILIPPINE ITALIAN ASSOCIATION HONG KONG HUNGER GAMES NEW YORK CITY NO OTHER WOMAN AND PRAYBEYT BENJAMIN RONALD MARCELO OF SAMPALOC
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