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The restoration that was accomplished at L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna and which inaugurated the 3rd World Premieres Film Festival at the Cinematheque in Manila would proffer Ishmael Bernal’s vision of a city signifying signs of being more predisposed to its own twilight, even at a most early crepuscular instance.I thought I was seeing Jacques Rivette’s “Paris Nous Appartient” again, but the reckoning with loss was too stark, I knew it wasn’t going to be a “Paris Belongs To Us.” (1961) II.It's a tremendous film; probably ranks right up there with Dutt's Kaagaz Ke Phool as one of the best films about filmmaking ever made.PAGDATING NG PANAHON AIZA SEQUERRA Tuning: E-A-D-G-B-E INTRO: E Am E Am VERSE: E C#m7 A B E Alam kong hindi mo pansin narito lang ako C#m7 F#m B C B Naghihintay na mahalin umaasa kahit di man ngayon A F# B B Mapapansin mo rin mapapansin mo rin E C#m7 A B E Alam kong hindi mo makita narito lang ako C#m7 F#m B C B Hinihintay lagi kita umaasa kahit di man ngayon A F# B B Hahanapin mo rin hahanapin din CHORUS: E B Abm C#m Pagdating ng panahon baka ikaw rin at ako A B Abm C#m F# B Baka tibok ng puso koy maging tibok ng puso mo E B Abm C#m Sana ngay mangyari yun kahit di palang ngayon A B Abm C#m F# B E Sana ay mahalin mo rin pagdating ng panahon..In Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool (Paper Flowers, 1959), a film director, played with piercing sensitivity by Dutt, sees his career flounder as the career of his muse, a beggar he discovers while shooting a scene in his adaptation of Devdas and subsequently grooms to become a very successful actress, blossoms.The painful downfall of the director who at one time was celebrated by crowds of adoring fans after a very successful run of one of his films and at a later time is seen alone, walking the paved ways of his former studio in tattered rags, unrecognizable by his friends and peers, destroys the very core of these double lives that are forced to exist to suit the inflicted fantasies of working in cinema notwithstanding the need to endure the realities of living.Nearing the film’s conclusion, Bernal revisits the pensive mood of the opening sequence in the gorgeously shot sequence right before the film’s culminating summation, only this time with the two lovers in the heat of their careers yet suffering from a different malady, one that is caused by the callousness of the professions chosen for them by fate.
Ishmael Bernal’s Pagdating sa Dulo (At the Top) ends with a striking sequence that consummates the hypocrisy that was portrayed in the carnivalesque affairs of the film.One of Bernal's most understated tragic figures, the director persists despite living a life of unfulfilled ambitions: his marriage is a failure, his film that sought to marry truth and cinema is a failure, his unpronounced affection for Ching is also a failure.Pagdating sa Dulo opens with Ching exploited by the several men who paid money to see her dance and strip.In that initial sequence, Bernal adequately summarizes Ching and Pinggoy’s relationship.
By portraying with painstaking detail the overbearing imperfections of their life together, characterized by the graveness of Ching’s discontent with her current state in life as afflicted by Pinggoy’s paralyzing satisfaction over his existence as a cab driver, Bernal sets the stage not only for the couple’s surprising reversal of fortune, initiated first by Ching’s discovery by an idealistic film director (Eddie Garcia), and later on, the forced entry of Pinggoy to showbusiness (he figuratively and literally penetrates his way to fame and fortune), but also the accompanying transformation of their less than ideal but honest union into a publicized and sensationalized sham. It confirms Bernal, very early in his career as a filmmaker, as a director who fully comprehends the value of the moving image.Bernal has made startlingly accurate observations, pertinent up to this day.