Third Golden Age’ of PH cinema showcase at MoMA

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The much-heralded and debated “Third Golden Age” of Philippine cinema will be showcased at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, with a series of film screenings from June 1 to 25.

It’s certainly not the first time for Filipino films to be shown at MoMA since different local movies have had intermittent screenings through the years. Next month, however, the venerable American cultural institution will “present a survey of Philippine movies from 2000 to the present” - acknowledging and celebrating a period dubbed as the Third Golden Age.

(The First Golden Age supposedly unfolded in the 1950s, while the Second Golden Age spanned the 1970s and early ’80s, according to the MoMA website.)

The MoMA describes the ongoing “wave of sustained creativity” as “unusual in its diversity of genre and style, audacious formal experimentation, and multiplicity of personal, social and political perspectives.”

Powered by digital technology, this gilded era “defies simple description,” because of its “dizzying array of distinct cinematic statements [that make it] an exceptionally unique, vibrant movement.”

Included in the retrospective are 18 films made by 13 directors - including two documentaries, Ditsi Carolino’s “Bunso” (2004) and Ramona Diaz’s “Motherland” (2017).

Among the 16 feature films in the lineup are works by two of the most awarded and admired leaders of the current filmmaking scene, Lav Diaz and Brillante Ma Mendoza.

Diaz, who won the Golden Lion in Venice for “Ang Babaeng Humayo” last year, is commended by the MoMA site for his “minimalist tales rendered at epic lengths.”

Meanwhile, Mendoza, who won best director in Cannes for “Kinatay” in 2009 and whose “Ma’ Rosa” won best actress for Jaclyn Jose in Cannes last year, is lauded by the site for his “gritty realist portrayals of the margins of society.”

Diaz’s “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” which premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section in 2013, and “Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon,” which won the Golden Leopard in Locarno in 2014, will be shown at MoMA.

Mendoza, for his part, will present three films which likewise made waves in festivals abroad: “Serbis” (2008), “Thy Womb” (2012) and “Ma’ Rosa” (2016).

Also, singled out by the site were Raya Martin (for his “experimentation with storytelling”) and Erik Matti (for his “riveting thrillers”).

Two of Martin’s solo films - “Independencia” (2009) and “How to Disappear Completely” (2013)—will be shown at the MoMA. On the other hand, Matti will screen “On the Job” (2013).

Completing the list are Kidlat Tahimik’s “BalikBayan Box #1: Memories of Overdevelopment Redux VI” (1979-2017), Adolfo Alix Jr. and Martin’s “Manila” (2009), Isabel Sandoval’s “Aparisyon” (2012), Ato Bautista’s “Gemini” (2014) and “Expressway” (2016), Marlon Rivera’s “Babae sa Septic Tank” (2011), Pepe Diokno’s “Engkwentro” (2009) and Hannah Espia’s “Transit” (2013).

MoMA’s website hails the chosen filmmakers as artists who “push cinematic boundaries and [tackle] subjects as varied as colonial legacy, martial law, drugs, crime, corruption, fertility and migration.”

Founded in 1929 and located in Midtown Manhattan, MoMA is “a place that fuels creativity, ignites minds and provides inspiration.”  -