Sunday, September 20

Letters

Envy

Envy

Letters, Photo of the Week
photo by ELIJAH JOHN M. ENCINAS/ THE FLAME Mindlessly scrolling through his feed, he promptly stops at a post that caught his attention. Breaking: Thailand saw no new cases. The headline reads in a local Facebook post. Under it are strings of comments brimming with envy. He cannot help but stew in the same sentiments as his fellowmen. The people in neighboring countries seem to be slowly easing back into the streets while he and millions of others are still stuck in the same confinement for months on end. While others are already shoulder to shoulder with their friends and family somewhere, he is stuck memorizing the four corners of his room like the back of his hand. The only times he can see the familiar faces are through the four corners of the screen. As he steps outs...
Paglisan: In Sickness and In Health

Paglisan: In Sickness and In Health

Letters
By: PATRICK V. MIGUEL photo taken from Youtube Marriage does not start with the exchange of rings— it starts with a set of vows bound by love. By exchanging promises, a couple’s individual lives shall merge into one and a new chapter will begin. However, there is no such thing as a “perfect marriage”— it is only an illusion— as there are promises for better and for worse; in sickness and in health.  Directed by Carol Joseph Papa, Paglisan (The Leaving) is an animated musical film that tells the story of a married couple: Dolores (Eula Valdez) and Crisanto (Ian Veneracion). Despite being together for more than two decades, their marriage struggles to remain the same. With Crisanto suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Dolores also faces depression as her husband gradually
Asphyxia

Asphyxia

Letters, Photo of the Week
photo by MARLOU JOSEPH B. BON-AO/ THE FLAME Trigger Warning: transphobia, violence, murder The hands of a brute coil around her throat.  She gasps. She screams inside, I can’t brea—  Her delicate fingers held the ones cramping her neck. Pleas— With eyes turning bloodshot, she sees him. She sees his face—the last one she will see alive.   His face; that ivory skin and hazel eyes. The eyes clouded with a burning rage that would soon ignite. With little power she has left, she pushes his chest. She hits it—nothing. His heart; not beating like a rock. He grabs her hair and plunges her head down— She screams with bubbles coming out of her mouth—voiceless and unheard.  Hel— Once again, a woman who was meant to be a muse was forced into becoming a mermaid. With
Golden: High Roller’s Downfall

Golden: High Roller’s Downfall

Letters
By LORRAINE C. SUAREZ A DECK of cards presents many possibilities — the opportunity to tangle with Lady Luck; the prospect of striking aces. Through the rose-colored print of diamonds and changing hands of card and coin, players are given the chance of winning against the odds. However, it is only a paltry achievement upon considering the stakes that are involved. Squeaky-clean scholar Jade (Kare Teodoro) is only one of the many students whose scholarship is terminated by their school. Desperate for a release from her academic frustrations, she accepts the invitation of classmate Via (Chase Salazar) to venture inside an abandoned classroom. Through the auditory guidance of a golden tracker earring, Jade enters an obscure and previously-unknown world of backdoor gambling that is i
Dahling Nick: Beyond the Pages

Dahling Nick: Beyond the Pages

Letters
By ISABELL ANDREA M. PINE PEOPLE ARE more than what meets the eye and sometimes, it takes a collection of different lenses to truly see someone. In the case of renowned author Nick Joaquin, it is through the memories of others that the audience is given the chance to recognize the man behind the works. To those who knew him, Joaquin is an avid fan of Don Quixote, loves San Miguel beer, and has the habit of waving his snot-covered handkerchief in a proclamation of surrender in an argument.  Directed by Sari Dalena and produced by Keith Sicat, Dahling Nick is a documentary-drama screened in Cinema One Originals Film Festival 2015. It explores the life and works of National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin through a series of interviews with the prominent figures in his life, as w
The Kingmaker:  A Consort of Corruption

The Kingmaker: A Consort of Corruption

Letters
By PATRICK V. MIGUEL photo taken from The Projector BESIDE THE paintings of Michaelangelo and Picasso, a woman poses. With poofy hair big enough to hide secrets and a smile that belies sinister intention, the epitome of her being lies in a closet full of shoes, jewelries hidden in diapers, and bundles of cash inside a donut paper bag. With this kind of lavishness, the woman's name is Imelda Marcos.  Ever since the Marcos regime and up until now, the Filipinos are divided by their opposing views of Imelda and her husband. With the Marcoses locally homed in Ilocos Norte, most Ilocanos are illusioned with the image of Ferdinand Marcos as a hero who brought peace and fortune to the country. However, Director Lauren Greenfield’s The Kingmaker shows that the truth lies within the eyes o
Doki-Doki Literature Club: Behind First Impressions

Doki-Doki Literature Club: Behind First Impressions

Letters
By DENISSE P. TABOR THE STANDARD for a good horror fiction lies in its ability to deviate from the reader’s expectations and heighten their wariness. Through an immersive yet unsettling atmosphere, readers are prompted to be on the lookout from start to finish because anything can go wrong at any time. However grotesque the characters look or how many the jumpscares are, the scare factor substantially relies on the storyline and the suspense it delivers. That is exactly where the charms of Doki-Doki Literature Club (DDLC) lie. With its vibrant setting and delightful characters, it is hard to imagine the dark and sinister themes the story will descend into. Despite its start menu bursting with colors, the content warning is to be taken seriously as the game vividly displays graphi
Aswang: The Face of a Monster

Aswang: The Face of a Monster

Letters
By MHERYLL GIFFEN L. ALFORTE AS NIGHTTIME comes, old wives' tales and superstitions about malevolent shape-shifting creatures come to mind. Children whisper fearfully and flee into the safety of their homes out of fear for these shadowy beings haunting the street. But as they grow older, it becomes apparent that these monsters do not take the shape of gnarly figures. Rather, monsters are human and they take the form of a power-hungry tyrant and his vicious trigger-happy minions. Directed by Alyx Ayn Arumpac, Aswang is a documentary film that bagged the International Film Critics’ FIPRECSI award in Amsterdam in 2019. It chronicles the first two years of the aggressive and controversial “war on drugs” executed by President Duterte, exposing how lives have been lost and casualties h

A Message of Regret

Letters
By MARIA PAMELA S. REYE EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece is one of the works in a seven-part series in line with the Dapitan 2020 theme Ina. All works that are part of the series are written by the Flame’s Letters staffers. DEATH came into my life through a text message. It had a few simple words: “Wala na si mama.” Despite hearing the news, I went on with my daily life. As always, I woke up before the sun peeked through the horizon. I ran past other commuters piling around the streets, in hopes of catching a ride before anyone else. I needed to get to work on time. The ridiculous amount of bills being sent to my apartment was enough to distract me from the event. My mother could wait; I needed to survive. Once I got home, I grabbed the growing pile of letters from the table and
Kalel, 15: Sins of Society

Kalel, 15: Sins of Society

Letters
By MHERYLL GIFFEN L. ALFORTE IN A society stricken with judgmental eyes and constricting stigmas, diseased people are forced to keep things under wraps. With no one else to rely on but themselves, they are driven into a corner. In their attempt to find solace, they resort to things that ultimately led to their tragedy. Soon, it becomes apparent that their fate is not of their own making; rather, it is the unlistening ears of the society that should be blamed. Kalel, 15 opens in a droning hospital hallway filled with people going about with their day. The camera then shifts to an unperturbed Kalel (Elijah Canlas) who is told by a doctor that he has contracted a virus. Next to him is his mother, Edith (Jaclyn Jose), who adopts an alarmed expression. The exact nature of Kalel's cond