Thursday, September 14, 2006

Piracy, schmiracy

Recent DVD acquisitions from Makati Cinema Square: Resnais' "Hiroshima Mon Amour," Godard's "Band of Outsiders," Fellini's "Variety Lights," Visconti's "The Leopard," Jiang Wen's "Devils on the Doorstep," Clouzot's "Wages of Fear"...

Obviously I remain a DVD junkie. My collection has grown so large that I've stopped counting. I can make a guess: 4,000 to 5,000 titles, mostly of the hard-to-find variety--festival, arthouse, foreign, rare, cult, indie, classic Hollywood and even a few Bollywoods, plus a few good commercial stuff ("Spider-Man!" "X-Men!"-- not "Superman," though).

Not all are pirated--I got my "L'avventura" and "La Dolce Vita" from Amazon, and I still think they're good buys because I haven't seen these titles here. But most are of the kind that would make Edu Manzano hate me. Whatever.

I do think piracy is the result of the greed and short-sightedness of Hollywood. Case in point: "Citizen Kane." The film almost always comes out on top of best-film lists, it's a Warner Bros. title, and yet that studio has never deigned to presume that we Pinoys would be interested in it. Go to Astrovision and see if you can find “Citizen Kane.” On the other hand, the Van Damme, Stallone and Steven Seagal filmographies are available. (Oi, these are entertaining flicks, but surely there's more to cinema than "Bloodsport?")

In the shabby excuse of a mall that’s Makati Cinema Square, "Citizen Kane" is everywhere, as are other Orson Welles films like Carol Reed's "The Third Man" (see it and realize where "Maximo Oliveros" got its ending) as well as "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "The Lady from Shanghai." Thanks to China's Bo-ying studio (purveyor of everything from James Cagney to early Bergman), more Pinoys have become cineastes, and that's why indie/digital cinema is making waves. That’s why the likes of “Kubrador” now have a chance in the market.

By a friend's calculation, it would take more than five years for me to finish all my titles, assuming I watch two movies a day. I manage only one these days. Excuse me while I try to catch up.


13 comments:

Abaniko said...

What? May pirated copy na ng "Citizen Kane" sa MCS? I remember having a hard time forcing my friend in NY to give me an original copy as her bday gift to me 5 years ago? Tsk, tsk.

gibbs cadiz said...

yes, and even the documentary that came with the two-disc version is available at mcs as a separate disc. :)

Sidney said...

5,000 movies. Not bad.
It looks like you have a good taste.

Alvin said...

MCS is really a pirated DVD collector's paradise. That's where I got my copies of such hard-to-find titles like "Citizen Kane," "Sunset Boulevard" and "Grave of the Fireflies." Now if I could only find Ingmar Bergman's "Cries and Whispers"...

Anonymous said...

Hey, Gibbs

This is Cora L., with no Google account yet. Nice blog. And thanks for the headers towards MCQ. Looks like I'll be shifting my DVD shopping from Metrowalk to your side of town. :)

gibbs cadiz said...

ey cora, you won't believe the breadth of titles available. the guys at mcs know the makati market pretty well. :)

Oliver said...

Hmm never tried it at MCS. I go to the source - the "Quiapo Pirate Land." (Where the raids are a normal fare) Hehehe. I'm looking for "Wag the Dog." Badly need it for my PR class. We have a VHS copy in DLSU-Manila but a DVD copy would be better. I got non-art films recently - 'Project Runway' - finished it in one sitting - total of around 8 hours Hehehe. And "High School Musical," - hopefully STAGES' follow-up to "Footloose." (Fingers are crossed!)

vonjobi said...

"retorts" instead of "comments." why does that make me think that this is not going to one of those "nice" blogs? =)

welcome to the blogosphere!

gibbs cadiz said...

haha, attitood, von, attitood. :) how are you doin' in Bush-era USA?

vonjobi said...

nasa canada po ako. nilalamig =)

cecile said...

i want to see the Third Man!!!

gibbs cadiz said...

hey cecile, remind me about it via text and you'll have a copy. :)

euniz said...

Wow, your collection of DVDs makes me want to sneak into your house without you knowing, grab a handful, and dash off! I've always fantasized about getting my hands on really great indie films, but i don't quite know where to find them. *tear*

And i think the issue of piracy here in the Philippines is..debatable. I got the book "Kino-Sine: Philippine-German Cinema Relations" (edited by Tilman Baumgartel) that contains interviews with the real celebrities behind the camera: Kidlat Tahimik, Nick Deocampo, John Torres, Jurgen Gruning, Rosa von Praunheim, etc. John Torres said that the the indie film industry can, in a way, benefit from the "pirates" because they bring hard-to-find films within the reach of people who can't really afford the steep prices of original DVDs. Like what you said about Citizen Kane, sometimes, it's the pirates who are able to "release" those kinds of movies here in the country! It's a shame, really, but it cannot be helped, especially in a country where the majority of people would much rather watch When I Met You than Jay or Ploning.

Haha I'm really a film junkie, but I am also in love with theater. My love affair with theater started when I was in my second year in high school in Aquinas University Science High School. (Do you know that school? hehe Dai man ako nagahambog, muya ko sana maaraman mo na bicolano man ako.*smile*) So, we staged a production of West Side Story for a class, and I've been hooked on theater ever since. Then when I got to college, I lost no time in watching all of Tanghalang Ateneo's productions, and Entablado's too. Then when I discovered your blog--oh boy--was I ecstatic! I am using it to find out the playdates of PETA and Rep productions, and get my dose of laughs from your posts.

This is my first time to comment in your blog, so, forgive me if it's a bit long. =D But I must say, I just love your blog. Everything I'm passionate about is here: books, theater, films, etc. Keep it up!

P.S. Gawd I do sound like a giddy fan gushing over you and your blog haha!

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