Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Day 2 - The 1st International Silent Film Festival (9/10/07)

The second day of the Festival featured Spain's "El Sexto Sentido" directed by Nestor Sobrevila. In it, an outgoing guy named Carlos advised his gloomy friend Leon to see an inventor named Kamus to cure him of his pessimism. Leon has just given his girlfriend Carmen, a vaudeville dancer, an engagement ring, which she swore never to take off her finger. Carmen lives with her father, an old guy who dreams of watching bullfights but never had the money to do so. Carmen sold the ring so that she could give her father some money.

So far so melodramatic.

Turns out that Kamus has invented a movie camera, which according to him captures real life better than literature, and that it never lies. Kamus proceeded to show Leon street scenes of Madrid, essentially a documentary within the movie. This part jumps out of the screen as its style is totally different from the melodrama that has unfolded so far. It recalls Jean Vigo's "A Propos de Nice" from 1930, but El Sexto Sentido is actually a year older than that. From that point on it was back to melodrama, as one of the scenes filmed by Kamus showed Carmen giving money to an older man. Leon thought Carmen was having an affair, so he told his friend Carlos about it. Confusion ensued and bad consequences followed.

More than anything, the movie shows that as early as the 1920's, questions have already been raised about the credibility of film as a medium for capturing life. For this reason, I wonder why this movie is relatively obscure. I've read somewhere that it was considered a lost film until a copy of it was found. Maybe in the future more people will rediscover this film. It's not a masterpiece, but it can be considered a lost gem.

The music for the night was provided by Wahijuara, an 8-piece band composed of guys from the UP College of Music. They did a great job. Their musical score was a melange of jazz, flamenco, Henry Mancini circa Peter Gunn, with a dash of Lawrence of Arabia thrown in. They managed to make certain scenes more interesting. All in all, it was another good night at the cinema.

The conclusion of the Festival will be on Thursday, September 13, 8pm at the Greenbelt 3, with Japan's "Orochi" (A Monster Serpent). Music by the Makiling Ensemble.

No comments: