By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2015 Journal GlobaLinks)
“Your regional language is your native language
Learn to speak it before you speak another language.”
-- Credit line from “Ari: My Life With A King”
CHICAGO (JGL) – The late Sen. Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. pointed out the difficulty of the Japanese in pronouncing “l” with “r,” like Manila, becoming “Manira” when he spoke before a crowd of Filipino and American guests in Los Angeles, California in 1981.
Mr. Aquino quoted a Japanese gentleman as saying, “My dear Firipino peopre, you are very rocky, and I consider (you the most) rocky peopre” in Asia.
“And when the people wanted to know why they were lucky, the Japanese said, “You know why you are rocky, you have a President, who robs you, and you have a First Lady, who robs you more.”
Down south of Mr. Aquino’s Tarlac neighboring province of Pampanga, the natives who speak Kapampangans are also struggling to include “h” in their ethnic language. For instance, when they pronounce the Tagalog word, “hari” (king), they usually drop the “h,” so it becomes “ari.”
The students in the indie film, “Ari: My Life with a King,” an hour-and-a-half feature film that will be the lone Philippine entry to the 51st Chicago International Film Festival that runs from Oct. 15 to 29, 2015, also discussed similar issues with “f” and “p,” “c” and “q” and “k.” Or some Kapampangan words, like, “me kayo pukine,” that may sound vulgar in Tagalog.
The filmfest is showcasing over 130 feature films from all over the world that are not widely available in the U.S. Ari: My Life with a King is going to be shown on Oct. 28 (Code EFMYLI2) from 8:30 p.m. at AMC River East 21 located at 322 E. Illinois St., in Downtown Chicago, Illinois. The film showing also coincides with the celebration of the Filipino American History Month.
The film produced by the Holy Angel University (HAU) in Angeles City, Pampanga as part of its advocacy to preserve and promote local cultures and regional languages also carries a social message that rips apart false pride and the promises of homegrown politicians and businessmen, who look down on their dying cultures and traditions.
Director Carlo Enciso Catu used a 2015 alumni homecoming of Sapang Biabas Academy as a setting for local poet, story and script writer, composer and newspaper columnist Conrado “Kong Dado” (Francisco Guinto) to propagate Kapampangan in his alma mater in a declamation that was belatedly delivered as homecoming organizers lacked logistics to provide basic transport facilities to their guests.
Although the exchanges in the movie were mostly in Kapampangan and Tagalog, the movie has a subtitle in English that gave viewers ideas on what the characters in the movie are saying.
Even while the guest of honor, the town mayor, was leaving just as Kong Dado, who was wearing his signature Laurel Leaves crown as king of poets, was accepting his outstanding award for the culture and arts, Dado spoke in rhymes and verses, expressing his love of his fellowmen, country and languages and the futility of having pride by those in power and other God’s creations like Lucifer who “started as a saint.” As Dado was speaking about Lucifer, the camera was panning on the departing mayor, who had employed Kong Dado in his campaigns yet had never paid him a dime.
The cinematography (Carlo Mendoza, FCS) and sound engineering (Gilbert Obispo) were outstanding given the limited resources of the executive producers Geromin T. Nepomuceno, Jr., Jocelyn Aniceto, Robby Tantingco, Jim Baltazar, CMB Fil Studios, Ferdinand Lapuz, Carlos Mandoza, FCS, and line producer, Myra Lopez.
The film opened with a beat-up motor bicycle driven by handkerchief-masked lead actor, Jaypee (Ronwaldo Martin), that was kicking up lahar dusts left behind by the extinct Mt. Pinatubo volcano that drove away the former U.S. Clark Air Base while local folks have to struggled to cope up with the pollution.
The hardship of handing the Kapampangan culture down to the millennials are handicapped by the presence of the over-arching mass media in Metro Manila, especially the major television networks, whose communication lines are delivered in Tagalog. The influence of the contents of TV networks beamed from a hundred miles away is evident by the performance of dance number of “Hot Jammers” with their unmistakable fancy moves lifted from the network programs.
The film also showed how local businessmen and alumni of SBA profited from the lucrative quarrying business of lahar that led to construction boom and enabled their children to own local burger chains (Jollibee), send them to study medicine or to “bulakbol” (travel aimlessly) in California without giving back their dues to the poor of society.
The propagation of Kapampangan was made more obvious in the exchanges between Jaypee and Kong Dado. While Jaypee was speaking in Tagalog, Kong Dado was speaking in Kapampangan. But both were not surprised that they understood each other. Kong Dado though was not yet ready to cede the dominance of Tagalog over Kapampangan when he quipped that in order to survive in this world, you only need to speak English and Kapampangan.
Kong Dado showed his savvy in composing a poem by writing a poem for Jaypee for his friend, Tintin (Chloe Carpio):
“Now that I am close to you
And you hold my hand
My passion is like fire
Running through my veins
When it reaches my heart
It bursts forth from my chest
Spreads all over my body
Like a fever
Believe me, my Tintin
I will not bathe for two days
So I keep your scent
That’s as sweet as a rose
And when I go to bed
I dream of you
While my hand
Rests on my chest.”
The film also showed the Kapampangan Hymn:
“Kapampangan, born from
The beauty of the East;
Land of wise and honorable people;
Home of our affections
And place of courage and justice;
We yearn to live in peace
Safe in your bosom.”
In my grade and high school days in my Sorsogon province in Bikol region, we have our own Bikol language and other cultures. But I never ran into a Bikol Battle Hymn. While Kapampangans have its own popular folk song, “Atin Ku Pung Singsing” (arranged by Jake Abella and performed by Krista Angelical “Tata” Zamora), Bikolanos have their own, “Sarung Bangui” (One Night). “Atin Ku Pung Singsing” was being played in touching and haunting melody while the coffin of Kong Dado, who died in his sleep, was being carried to his grave.
By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2015 Journal GlobaLinks)
CHICAGO (JGL) – An indie drama film, “My Life with a King,” that promotes the Kapampangan cultures and regional languages, will the lone official entry of the Philippines to the 51st Chicago International Film Festival that runs from Oct. 15 to 29, 2015, showcasing over 130 feature films from all over the world that are not widely available in the U.S., according to the Philippine Consulate of the Midwest in Chicago, Illinois.
The movie, running for 89 minutes, tells of Jaypee, a high school student from a rural town in the Philippines, whose world opened up when he befriended the “King of Poets,” an elderly local celebrity fighting to preserve the dying art of poetry in Kapampangan, one of the country’s ethnic languages.
Initially, Jaypee did not want to know or want to speak Kapampangan until he ran into a compelling but weird character known as King of Kapampangan.
Over long nights on the porch, a tender intergenerational bond formed in this celebration of a vibrant culture’s poetic legacy that pulses with local color.
The movie is dubbed in Kapampangan and Tagalog with subtitles.
It is going to be shown on Oct. 26 (Code EFMYLI1) and Oct. 28 (Code EFMYLI2) from 8:30 p.m. at AMC River East 21 located at 322 E. Illinois St., in Downtown Chicago, Illinois. To purchase tickets, interested parties may visit: www.chicagofilmfestival.com/tickets.
Individual tickets are priced at $11 for Festival Members, Students/Seniors with ID and $14 for general public. For rush tickets (last minute to sold out films), general screenings are at $14 and for special presentation, $20. Matinees before 5 p.m. Mon. to Friday, for general public, $8. For special showings, $17 for festival members and $20 for general public. After 10 p.m., price for general public is $10.
My Life with a King is a Kapampangan indie film produced by the Holy Angel University (HAU) in Angeles City in Pampanga in the Philippines as part of its advocacy to preserve and promote local cultures and regional languages. It is directed by Carlo Encisco Catu.