The Dire State of Philippine Entertainment

15 11 2010

**Here’s a draft of a speech I once delivered.

Today I want to share my observation on the dire state of Philippine entertainment.

I am sure that you share my sentiments on how predictable Filipino movies are. If it’s an action film, you can easily ascertain that the plot will go like this:

There is this poor simple character protagonist, that he is law enforcer, that he is engrossed in putting down a big drug  syndicate, along the process of fighting the drug syndicate, the drug syndicate would kidnap the protagonist’s daughter or wife; then the hero will become a one-man army as he would be attacking the ware house of the drug syndicate; then there would be an explosive gun fight where he will be killing all the villains, and then after killing all the villains, the cops would then be arriving.

When it comes to TV shows, the same disappointment is expected. Not only do they show extremely ridiculous twists, the artists that portray these roles are often times over the top. I guess the industry also admits of the poor writing skills of Filipino drama writers when they began flooding the airwaves with Koreanovelas or Chinovelas.

Worse, what TV stations are doing now is to recreate the Koreanovelas into Pinoy Telenovelas.

The same can be observed in the country’s music industry. Ever noticed how new music artists resort into reviving old songs rather than composing their own? The obvious case here is that, we have a lot of good voices out there, but not good songwriters. And sometimes it pains me to hear that a classic song is being desecrated by some artist reviving it in an over the top manner. Also I am sick of these artists who do nothing but imitate Hollywood stars.

The point here my friends is for us to raise our level of taste. I watched a documentary before about Director Brillante Mendoza. He is the famed director of the indie film Masahista. This director has been included as one of the world’s top 15 movie directors.

He is in the same higher echelon as with more famous Hollywood directors.

What he said makes sense, the indie films that he and his colleagues are creating are indeed top of the line movies. But these movies lack support here in the Philippines. Frankly, how many of us watched the movies he directed? These are indie films that depicted daily living in the Philippines.

Abroad, his films are being recognized. He is winning in the Cannes Festival. But here his films are “nilalangaw”.

His observation is that, the media filled the people with too much trash. He likened it to junk food. People like junk food because superficially they taste good. No one likes vegetables cause they do not taste that good. But sometimes what doesn’t taste good is what’s good for you.

So people watch junk movies because they are appear to be good, but these movies offer no educational value. They are just star studded but the quality of the story and the plotting is so poor.

People resort to fantaseryes for one reason. And that is, if I may quote my friend, “escapism”. No one wants to watch documentaries or movies that depict reality because people are  simply tired of seeing it in their daily living. They’d want to have a deviation which is what the magical world of fantaseryes is offering.

Brillante Mendoza said that the reason why people the movie industry creates junks is that because people like them. They demand junks. As a solution, elevating the taste of the Filipinos may make them demand class. The quality of movies is dependent on what people demand. So if somehow we would be able to elevate the standards of the Filipino viewers, we may be able to see quality Filipino movies in the near future.

As a closing remark, I would like to bring your attention to the fact that the entertainment industry is a capitalistic venture. It creates fads and popular culture. I know very well that in this class we know how to determine which is crap and which is not.

So by exercising our good judgment, we may hopefully be able to help elevate the Filipino’s taste when it comes to entertainment. Let me then invite you establish a counterculture. A culture of critique which may slay the junk dragon that is menacing the movie industry.

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