Monday, February 15, 2016

Imperfections of a sincere and authentic relationship

Several films on relationship were on cable TV the eve of Valentine’s day.

TMC (Tagalized Movie Channel) aired Nicolas Spark’s The Best of Me an American production about an unlikely relationship between two young lovers that abruptly ended yet reunited again decades after.  On the same night, it telecast My Love, My Bride, a Korean film originally in Korean dubbed by Filipino voice talents  about the post honeymoon stage of college sweethearts who separately go through struggling moments in their lives kept to themselves not sensed by their partners except to friends. The undetected struggles were sufficient motivation for the mutual discomfort and dissonance.

Cinema One aired two 2013 Cinemalaya’s entries, That Thing Called Tadhana and #Y. That Thing Called Tadhana is film capture of an initially shallow developing into a sincere conversation between a woman striving to move on after a failed relationship and a stranger. That Thing has been dubbed as the “ultimate hugot film of the year 2013.” #Y is about the conyo generations’ ultimate escape from life, suicide after a failing to reconcile between self image and reality both in personal and family relationships.

My Love, My Bride is hilariously novel in character and situation. It is about a sincere and an authentic young relationship of an apparently perfect match put on a blind spot. He is a social worker and a budding poet, she an art teacher and a portrait artist. Set in modern Korea, the days of their respective his and her lives were dramatically executed with wit, humor, pain and seriousness. Daily, you empathize with the joys and sufferings of the busy professionals. Four separate episodes dramatize the ups and downs of their relationship starting with happy moments, showing conflicts and ending with the redemption of winning back each other. She got hurt when his friends sing and drink in their condo. He got hurt when she entertained her friend in the movie house. He got hurt when she watched the concert of her former musical director admirer. They both get hurt when she did not sense his pain of losing a poet mentor and he her medical condition. All these test their relationship giving reassurances of its sincerity.

Seemingly treated lightly, the movie eventually delivers a profound message of relationship expressed in a poem by a poet the social worker handles and from whom he gets advice on writing poems and in setting priorities “Ang buhay ay isang tula. At ang tula ang dahilan ng buhay. Kaya lang huwag mo sanang hayaang maagaw ng tula ang mga bagay na mahalaga.”

Similar to how That Thing Called Tadhana successfully captures the nuances of relationship in an engaging dialogue, My Love My Bride succeeds too but differently. The situations happen and the emotions are the real. And the reality is imperfect. It is the imperfection that deepens the tie that binds beyond the honeymoon stage. Life after the honeymoon stage after all is no longer a fairy tale but not totally a nightmare. My Love, My Bride shows it can be a maturing happy reality. Both films show the universality of falling in love regardless of cultural setting. One falls in love, falls out of love and recovers. If there is no recovery one moves on.


“My Love, My Bride is a 2014 South Korean romantic comedy film starring Jo Jung-suk and Shin Min-ah. Young-min and Mi-young are a young couple who get married after graduating from college. Following the honeymoon period, they begin to bicker with each other. As they struggle to make their marriage work, Young-min and Mi-young gradually understand what love really is.”

Tagalized Movie Channel is in Channel 82 on Sky Cable. Cinema One is in Channel 56.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Travel via Travel Channel

Travel Channel on Channel 82 Sky is currently my favorite cable channel initially because of 36 Hours hosted by Kristen and Kyle.

The show, a broadcast version of a New York Times feature is well written and produced. It's about food, activities and cultural significance the two American hosts experience in 36 hours in a choice city. They start off checking in a boutique hotel, move around the city with cultural significance yet not too popular, eat at either exotic or gourmet restaurants. In the afternoon, both separate ways for their respective physical activity. It can be a culinary visit, a farm visit or a sports activity. Day ends with booze and entertainment. A resource person or at times a New York Times correspondent joins them in the discussion of their food trip. 36 Hours ends with a breakfast where they summarize their takeaways.

I like the Nashville, Istanbul, Portland, Istanbul and Barcelona episodes. Their one minute closing spiel captures the spirit of the 36 Hour visit and the one hour show.

Ending the Nashville episode, Kyle narrates "Music is in their lifeblood, in their DNA . . . when you sing from the heart for your family, for yourself for the city, you are in the light.

"Wrapping up 36 hours in Istanbul, Kristen says "Istanbul is a city that spans two continents and negotiates the push and pull of two cultures. Progress is struggling on the grip of tradition. There is an expression in this country. Turkey is like a man running West on a train headed East. East or West, we fell until the spell of this magical city."

Over breakfast at Berlin, “. . .of course you are leaving and of course you are coming back! In our 36 hours, Kristen and I had a major taste of Berlin. And indeed, we will be coming back.

Expounding on Barcelona, “Barcelona is one of my favorite places that I have been in all my travels. Catalonia's struggle for independence sparked its defiant spirit, a passion for perfection in a whimsical way. You see it in the streets and taste it in every dish. There is a pulse about Barcelona that you can feel from the moment you set here. The buzz that makes you excited about what’s around the next corner. Makes you want to be in the Catalan culture for more than 36 hours. Catalan’s wonder for independence is making it the city of their dreams. Ours too! To Barcelona."

Three other reasons I am glued to Travel Channel are Expedition Unknown, Booze Traveler and Uncommon Grounds.

Josh Gates of Expedition Unknown rates Rio de Janiero, Papua New Guinea and Panama as the exotic and adventurous 2016 destination. His expeditions are supported with resource persons and experts.

Booze Traveler narrates how and what to drink anywhere in the world. Host Jack Maxwell calls for a "skol, kampai, salute, hoopa or even tagay!" with either gin, scotch, tuba, lager, beer with anyone anytime, anywhere in a day. Jack already featured the Philippines tasting the sugar cane based basi in a Vigan food strip. Unfortunately, relative to the other continents' episode, it was flat without any spirit at all. Tuba from coconut should make an interesting drink and the practice of "tabi-tabi lang" offering the 1st drink to the spirits may interest the booze traveler to revisit the Philippines.

Uncommon Grounds brings us to dangerous places like Morocco for a coffee maker, rare meats and to Colombia for expensive coffee beans. Todd Carmichael hosts Uncommon Grounds.

These shows are enough triggers for me to leave the sofa and pack to see life beyond the cable channel.