The Barefoot Baklesa is currently busy filming in Pola, Oriental Mindoro for a movie, and the internet speed here is -well, let's just say,it requires some patience for waiting we all left back in 1998... so much for that... Here's something I stumbled upon online merely minutes ago; a trailer for Mario Maurer's latest movie.
This colored photograph of a lost Leonardo painting was released just recently, and reveals the detail that made it a true work of Leonardo Da Vinci: the glass orb.
The iconography of Christ as Saviour of the World [the Spanish Salvador del Mundo] in the Philippines is rather different and is limited to the Christ Child [Santo Nino] images with both arms outstretched and held high. While the are other Christ Child images holding orbs, they are most often a full regalia with cape, crown, and scepter. And most adult images of the Lord Jesus Christ in the archipelago are populated by the Crucified Christ, the Sacred Heart, Santo Entierro [Christ Interred], and images of his passion and resurrection. Even the enthroned Christ the King is a different iconography altogether.
Examining this fine specimen of art closely, one is immediately drawn to the distant yet faded visage of Jesus Christ, a quality it shares with another Leonardo painting, The Last Supper. It feels eerie to behold at first, but the actual symbolism of a not quite flesh and blood Christ can be viewed as Leonardo's interpretation of the man and God qualities of the savior: that while he is of mortal form, he is not just of any mortal form. His eyes gaze at you but is withdrawn and distant, a quality that modern iconography seems to have forgot by making images of the divine stare back at you as if it was their duty to make that connection. Yet even with that elusive gaze, the hand poised in the traditional blessing looks more solid and heavy. Perhaps the intent was that the blessing does indeed reach us.
The curls on the hair remind us of another Leonardo, and also, what is said to be his final completed oil painting: John the Baptist. To which I bravely engage you to draw parallels with the his use of of the technique called Sfumato. Which by no less dramatic words is this luminous quality the subject emanates while he appears to emerge from this obscure darkness.
Blue, a color often associated with heaven, softens this painting following the folds of the fabric of Christ's robe and provides an almost liquid base albeit color to the glass orb.
While most religious paintings that make use of an orb usually have them in opaque blue, Leonardo cleverly uses the blue of the robes to reveal his glass orb. Only Leonardo's genius could have produced this effect of translucence on a flat surface, with complete consideration for the behavior of light. This is perhaps the proof of Leonardo's experimentation with light, proving his mastery of it, hurdling the difficulties of painting a glass orb whilst revealing what is to be seen beyond it.
The painting is currently valued at 120 million pounds, a far far cry from the 45 pounds spent to buy it decades ago. It was regarded to have been lost, passing into the shadows of the centuries after its documented owner King Charles I of England was executed. The painting shall be exhibited at the National Gallery in London as part of its Leonardo retrospective later this year.
As much as the Barefoot Baklesa loves the sea and open water, the Barefoot Baklesa rarely travels by it. There is this sense of security standing on the beached margins staring into open water as the waves come and go. So, when the barefoot Baklesa learned that the only way to travel to Calapan in Mindoro Oriental would be by Ferry, the apprehension was undeniable. But as this is also for work, and principal photography for this film we are working on will be shot entirely in Mindoro, there was no choice but to brave the ferry at the port of Batangas.
Actually, this would be the Barefoot Baklesa's first trip to Mindoro Oriental; the final destination would be the town of Pola, an hour's drive away from Calapan. After what seemed like a series of delays, from missing the fast craft ferry to losing the bearings of the car tire and nearly falling of a cliff -thank you, Saint Christopher- the Barefoot Baklesa arrived at the town of Pola with Casiligan Elementary School as his first stop; a possible location for school scenes. Oh, did we mention that when we got there the rain poured like crazy? The Barefoot Baklesa seems to have this weird luck that it rains elephants when he arrives.
We were warmly welcomed by Ms. Lourdes, the Principal of Casiligan Elementary School. Once you set foot in its gate, one beholds this charming old wooden schoolhouse which, sadly, is a crumbling remnant of the Philippines' American Colonial Past. This particular architectural style called Gabaldon, follows the education law of the same name that mandated schools to be built all over the country for the purpose of public education. The flesh and green painted building constructed from tongue and groove wooden planks with capiz windows takes one back through time; punctuated by the grey skies brought in by the afternoon rain.
Ms. Lourdes represents the best of our Filipino educators: there is a fire within her that has not been extinguished since she first became a teacher. She was welcoming, her stories were told with such zest, with sprinklings of instructions to grade school students as they pass by, and her love for her career is undeniable. The Barefoot Baklesa has seen his share of jaded and embittered educators in his time, too bad they never get to meet the likes of Ms. Lourdes.
We were served piping hot Maruya, a fried snack made of bananas dipped in a basic flour batter and fried til crisp. It was a welcome meal for the rainy afternoon. As we watched the students come out of their classrooms in single file for dismissal, I can't help but think where social discipline goes wrong and how come Filipinos these days are undeniably disobedient [but let's save that for later].
A short drive from Casiligan Elementary School, we arrived at the poblacion of Pola. Unlike most old world towns that follow the traditional town square-as-the-heart-of-the-community planning of the Spaniards called reducciones, Pola is one of those few exceptions wherein the seat of government and the church are not situated across each other with the town square in between. Instead, the town is plotted in rows of streets to make good use of the coastal terrain.
Pola is the birthplace of Kabayan Noli de Castro, a respected broadcast journalist and former Vice President of the Philippines; then there's Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition winner Ejay Falcon, both facts that the Barefoot Baklesa had learned only that day.
The structures in Pola seem strangely still, not really frozen, but unaffected in a good way. One has to have a heart for places like these, the humming symphony of human activity is a welcome substitute for the deafening city noise. Turn one corner and it's the sea, The Barefoot Baklesa will definitely enjoy shooting here.
Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho or I Don't Want to Go Back Alone is a Brazilian short film written and directed by Daniel Ribeiro. The Barefoot Baklesa chanced upon this at Tumblr and thought it was worth the sharing. It's one of those films that make you feel 16 again and about to fall in love. We recommend watching it without the subtitles/captions first, for there's something about the universality of cinema that is at work while watching it like that. Having said that, so as not to spoil thy fun, we shall leave thee to it.
oh yeah, you can watch this on youtube and click on the closed caption button and click preferences for the desired language.