ELWOOD Perez, long-time director of blockbuster movies at Regal Entertainment has entered a new phase in his career. He has joined the new wave of movie directors working on digital medium and calling their work as “indie” films.
Perez first fiddled with the idea of a digital movie with the release two years ago of Otso, and exploration of a character in the creative process of his mind. The film is esoteric, with a plethora of characters that populate Perez’s imagined world.
Last year, at the Cinema One Original, Perez’s new work opened the annual digital movie festival of the movie cable channel. Titled Estorika: Maynila, the film also launches singer Ronnie Liang as an actor.
Perez, in an interview over lunch prior to the screening of the film said, “In didactic Pilipino komiks tradition, Ronnie Liang embodies the schizoid character of Mario/Galogo, an up-and-coming graphic novelist in this treatise on the otherwise, lofty subject of learning given the characteristic, wildly entertaining Elwood Perez touch.”
The film focuses on Mario’s transformation from a simple neighborhood guy to being a sought-after graphic novelist. And in the character’s journey to reaching his status, he goes through exotic experiences that some members of the audience find too mind blowing and stranger to their visual understanding.
A long hiatus preceded the offer to do a project from the Film Development Council of the Philippines All Masters Film Festival two years ago. Perez said, “I held back from moviemaking with the nagging fear that I kept repeating myself. I obsessed over the pursuit of original thought. When I came back, I found myself at the crossroads of two opposing schools of thought prevailing in Philippine filmmaking. FDCP’s Otso and Rex A. Tin production of Esoterika: Maynila in cooperation with FDCP, are, by far, the closest to original thought as I could possibly get.”
Perez goes on, “On Esoterika: Maynila, let me quote from the ninth edition of the book Film Art on page 259: ‘Although the classical approach to order and frequency of story events may seem the best option, it is only the most familiar. Story events do not have to be edited in one-two-three order… (page 261). Some discontinuities of order, duration and frequency can become perfectly intelligible in a narrative context. On the other hand, with the jump cut, the nondiegetic insert, and the inconsistent match on action, temporal dislocations can also push away from traditional notions of story altogether and create ambiguous relations among shots.’”
Lest, many in the audience, if this film is shown in cinemas get lost in understanding it, Perez has this to say, “Other than the powerful music and sound design, highly evident in Esoterika: Maynila is the power of spatial and temporal discontinuities in editing. Sound has spatial dimension because it comes from a source. Our beliefs about the source have powerful effect on how we understand the sound.
“For purposes of analyzing narrative form, we describe events taking place in the story world as diegetic. Alternatively, there is nondiegetic sound, which is represented as coming from a source outside the story world. The same is true with music.”
If there’s anyone who benefits from the film, it is Ronnie Liang, who has always been regarded as a non-actor but is a great singer. In this one, Perez shows that as a singer one can also be great as an actor.