Caging Libertine

Jennifer Chambers Lynch, 1993

Nick: You're everything to me.
Helena: You're nothing to me.

Boxing Helena is what happens when Fatal Attraction makes love with Misery. After seeing the greatest f*ck of his life once again, brilliant surgeon Dr. Nick Cavanaugh (Julian Sands) decides to leave everything behind: his career, his girlfriend, his sanity, his everything – all just to be with Helena (a stunning Sherilyn Fenn), the woman of his wet dreams. Helena is everything to Nick, just as much as Nick is nothing to Helena.

To be closer to Helena, Nick moves in to the house he inherited from his recently deceased mother. And so he feeds his obsession by stalking Helena from his car, from the tree, from every corner of his timid existence.

Nick later invites Helena to his house party, to which Helena obliges. After leaving her purse, Helena is forced to go back to Nick's house. A terrible accident would later leave Helena at the hands of Nick's mercy (and obsession), making her a captive in Nick's mansion.

Boxing Helena is very much like Helena the character. Helena is essentially a libertine and a drifter, the kind so aloof no one can ever have her for themselves. Such personality is what attracted Nick to Helena. He knows he can't have her, so he wants her that bad. (Even though they only had a one-night stand.)

Venus de Milo, mother, and Helena – these three women would play a vital role to Nick's manhood.


The Code of Silence

Michael Haneke, 2000

Ah. The feeling of wanting to say something but can't say it. This dilemma is what Austrian auteur Michael Haneke explores in Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages (otherwise known as Code Unknown).

It all started with a piece of thrown garbage. From there we see a series of vignettes about various lives, people who are trapped in various worlds of silence.

Jean (played by Alexandre Hamidi), an angst-ridden farm lad, is sick and tired of his emotionally distant father (Sepp Bierbichler). He runs away to live with his brother, an out-of-the-country photojournalist (Thierry Neuvic). Instead, Jean finds his brother's girlfriend, Anne Laurent (Juliette Binoche), who gives Jean the key to their apartment. Being the douchebag that he is, Jean throws a piece of garbage at Maria (Luminița Gheorghiu), a foreigner begging on the street because she just lost her job as a newspaper vendor. Amadou (Ona Lu Yenke), a Frenchman of African origin, sees Jean's rudeness and demands Jean to apologize to the old lady; when Jean refuses to do so, the two guys fight, causing the police and Anne to enter the scene.

Communication, or the lack thereof, takes the center stage in Code Unknown. In this film, Haneke shows us different kinds of muteness: physical, foreign, forced, and self-inflicted.


Fave Movie Posters: The Getaway

One of the hottest Hollywood couples back in the day, Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw used to be what Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are today. At the height of their real-life romance, McQueen and MacGraw starred in Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway, a 1972 heist film about a couple on the run from the bad dudes.


I Am a Woman, Watch Me Make a Movie

Eve has definitely come a long way since she was allegedly taken out of Adam's rib. She has long stepped out of his shadow, standing up for herself and speaking her mind. Eve doesn't need many Twitter followers or a thousand of Facebook likes just to prove her worth. She knows she's worth it.

Cinema has given the female species an opportunity to express themselves; and the opportunity isn't wasted. Although filmmaking is mostly a man's world, women have become the captain of their own cinematic ship.

In celebration of being a woman, I listed down some of my favorite films directed by women. (In alphabetical order.)


A Failed Promise

Todd Haynes, 2015

Rare is it in life when we have an instant attraction with a stranger. No such thing as love at first sight, just "like at first sight," which eventually leads to something deeper. That's exactly what happens in Todd Haynes' latest film, Carol.

Haynes' homage to old America (the 1950s in Far from Heaven and the 1930s in HBO's Mildred Pierce) continues in Carol.

Two women at a different point in their lives cross path, become friends, and have an affair in 1950s New York. Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) is going through a rough patch with her soon-to-be-ex-husband (Kyle Chandler). Meanwhile, Therese Belivet (Patricia Rooney Mara) is a young woman with a brighter future: a marriage proposal from a clingy pseudo-boyfriend and a potential career in photography. Carol is a housewife. Therese is a shopgirl. Two women cloistered by society's sexist box.

We see most of the film from Therese's point of view. She's a young woman who initially evaded taking risks, avoiding taking photos of people because she has some affinity issues. And then she meets Carol. Therese finally opens up her heart for the very first time. And she's now taking photos of people, of Carol to be exact. (So she has Carol to thank for that.)


Lez Do It: The Best Lesbian Music Videos I've Seen

Ain't love such a lovely feeling? So lovely, like women. Love and women are basically synonymous with each other; they are both beautiful, fascinating, sweet, moody, and unpredictable. Love and women are a many-splendored thing, but most of all they can make you go insane.

When two ladies fall in love with each other, it's like a super-gay-lactic explosion of milk and honey, a pretty rainbow you can't take your eyes off. Ever since Blue is the Warmest Color was released... ever since Ellen Page came out... and ever since same-sex marriage was legalized in the US, gay ladies are starting to be seen and recognized and, maybe, accepted. Heck, even Philippine TV had its very first lesbian-themed show.


Fave Movie Moments: V for Vendetta

"It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses and apologized to no one."

My most fave part in V for Vendetta is the Valerie moment. The film deals with struggle for freedom in a totalitarian system, a government that objects "the different and the subversive."

Imprisoned, Evey (Natalie Portman) finds refuge in a series of letters "given" to her by "next-cell neighbor" Valerie (Natasha Wightman), an actress who was incarcerated for being homosexual.


Fave Movie Posters: The Silence of the Lambs

One of the iconic and most creative movie posters of all time, The Silence of the Lambs' poster is a portrait of Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), whose mouth is concealed by a moth. A significant element in both the novel and the film, the moth is a Death's-head Hawkmoth — the kind that is known for the skull-like image on its thorax.


Fave Movie Moments: A Patch of Blue

Blinded by her abusive mom (Shelley Winters) at the age of five, Selina D'Arcey (Elizabeth Hartman in her film debut) is off to meet her only friend, Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier). She traverses the streets full of darkness and strangers, a fragile lady thrown into the world of blind noise and danger.


Moving Movie Monologues

Ah. Monologues. Most actors probably crave them monologues. It's that one significant moment that can make or break an actor's performance. A good monologue is either wonderfully written or beautifully acted. Perhaps both.

There is an overwhelming profusion of soliloquy ever since cinema bid adieu to the silent era — but only few captivated yours truly. Here are some of them. (In chronological order.)

Charles Chaplin as A Jewish Barber
The Great Dictator, 1940

We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

After being mistaken for Adenoid Hynkel aka the great dictator, A Jewish Barber was compelled to give a speech in front of "his people." (Here's the speech's transcript.)

In this touching speech, the silent film icon laid bare both the good and bad side of humanity. A universal statement of the human existence, this monologue has the power to edify one's mind and soul.

(The speech's "Inception remix" is just... wow!)

Natalie Wood as Maria
West Side Story, 1961

All of you! You all killed him. And my brother. And Riff. Not with bullets and guns. With hate! Well, l can kill too, because now l have hate!

After her lover dies because of the street war between the Jets and the Sharks, Maria berates all those involved in the senseless fight. Maria's monologue defines the very idea of war: hate.

What would happen if the world is consumed with hate? World war!

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