Last weekend, Raquel and I went all the way to Chadstone (we consider this far despite the car travel time of only 40 minutes) to catch a movie. Not just any movie though. It’s a Philippine-produced horror film titled Sukob (translated as “The Wedding Curse”) by Chito Rono and starred by Kris Aquino and Claudine Barretto.

I only discovered that this film is currently being shown here in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago entirely by accident. I was looking at the Hoyts website for films coming out this year. I was then surprised to see a film titled “Sukob” on the coming soon list. Sukob is a decidedly Tagalog sounding word so I drilled down further to find out that it was in fact a Filipino film.

The film was only going to be shown at the Hoyts Cinema in Chadstone for one week which started last Thursday (August 31) up till this coming Wednesday (September 6). So, we had to watch it last weekend or end up not watching it at all.

I’m not that much of a fan of Philippine cinema when I was still living in the Philippines. But now that I’m living abroad, I’m more appreciative of anything that reminds me of my country of birth. That meant, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see a film in Tagalog shown in a cinema that’s here in Melbourne, whatever the quality of the movie may be.

Fortunately, it was a relatively good film. Certainly scary. I must admit that I haven’t been that scared after watching a movie for a long time. I found it better than Chito Rono’s other recent horror film, Fung Shui. It reminded me of other Asian horror flicks such as The Ring, Gu-on and the Eye. Well, the horror-feel was similar, at least. As for the story, it revolves around the Filipino superstition that it is extremely bad luck (as well as bad form) to get married in the same year a family member died or to get married in the same year as another sibling got married. In the film, the offenders weren’t just unlucky, but were pursued by a supernatural entity that exacted punishment upon those who break the Sukob rule.

It was too bad that there weren’t any English subtitles. Otherwise, I would’ve recommended my Aussie friends to give it a fair go. But then, I’m not sure they’d understand the superstition behind the story. I’m also unsure how to explain to a non-Asian how easily we believe someone claiming to have psychic powers of some sort. In the film, the protagonists sought the help of a niece who is tuned in with the pretenatural world and an albularyo (a shaman). I just thought that it might ruin the suspension of disbelief of a Westerner. I guess that’s why in the American remake of The Ring, they didn’t make the kid’s father a psychic unlike in the Japanese original.

Anyway, if you are interested in watching a scary horror flick, can understand Tagalog and live in Melbourne, you have until Wednesday to watch it at Chadstone. So, you better hurry.

Published in: on September 4, 2006 at 11:13 pm  Comments (3)  

Farewell, Crocodile Hunter

I was busy programming away at my computer this afternoon with my mp3 headphones in my ears when I noticed a sort of commotion behind me. I looked behind me and removed my headphones. I heard somebody say that Steve Irwin, the world-renowned Crocodile Hunter and Australian icon, had just died from a stingray barb through the chest! I couldn’t believe it. Surely there was some kind of mistake, I thought.

There was no mistake. My officemate showed me the news article online that reported on Steve Irwin’s death. The others in the room were still kidding around. Saying that maybe his last words before dying was “Crikey!” But then again, I don’t think Steve Irwin got a lot of respect from a lot of the Aussies I know. As for me, I couldn’t help but feel sad for the bloke.

I remember when I was still in the Philippines in 2000 and I got accepted for a job in Australia. I didn’t know a lot about Australia back then except maybe Steve Irwin because of his Crocodile Hunter show on the Discovery Channel. He provided me one of my first glimpses of what being an Australian must be like. Of course, I now know that not all Aussies live in the bush or the outback and yells Crikey all the time. Still, I love the larrikin in him. I liked the fearless but laid-back and fun-loving attitude he projected on TV.

And now, he is gone. But I’m sure his memory will live on in the hearts of not only Australians but in the hearts of everybody around the world who has come to know him through his show.

Published in: on September 4, 2006 at 10:01 pm  Comments (3)