Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Film Review: Technophilia

I met indie filmmaker slash film critic Rianne Hill Soriano during a media screening at MyCinema in Greenbelt 3 last year. We had an engaging talk on not just about the film we're about to see (the title of which I can't remember now, must be that forgettable) but also on other films we've seen as well. Although she's the indie, progressive type, I could tell that Rianne loves to watch movies in general and is not totally averse to enjoying any film from any genre, mainstream or otherwise, popcorn or no popcorn.

Her background as "a freelance production artist doing directing and writing works in film and commercial/corporate productions" according to her website may have something to do with her open-mindedness and also seems to have serve her in good stead as a filmmaker. Her works, at least the ones I recently saw have a particularly glossy look-and-feel (i.e. well-lighted, well-edited, well-acted, well-scored, well-everything) that's not too common for indie films that are usually known for their deliberately crude cuts.

These two short films namely Technophilia and Pera-Perahang Lata were in fact earlier previewed on Gateway Cinema, an occasion Rianne actually invited me to but for some reason I can't remember, I wasn't able to make it. She later gave me a DVD in a recent screening of another film. And yes, I actually enjoyed both of them.

The first of these two films is the seven-minute Technophilia, which according to its website, "is about how technology starts to shape people to become too dependent on it that relationships and lifestyles are altered, and later on, possibly destroyed. At one point by now, our interactions to other people are becoming as robotic as the machines we use."

In this Korean-shot film that also featured Korean lead actors, a young woman was meeting her boyfriend in what looks like an internet cafe complete with tables and chairs (presumably for dining purposes and placing of laptops). Expecting to spend some quality time with her beau, she immediately realized that there's nothing romantic about a place where just about everyone including her spaced-out, catatonic-looking partner is immersed in their own high-tech weapons of choice, be it laptops, iPods, PSP's, mobile phones and his own Nintendo DS. Even with intermittent interruptions from his cellular, the couple is clearly not on the same page. Visibly irked and frustrated, she walks out on the geeky jerk.

In less than 10 minutes, the film was able to immediately strike a chord with this particular viewer. Granted, Technophilia also has the feel of en extended commercial (or infomercial as some people would prefer to call it), that's not at all a knock on the filmmaker. It works as she envisions it and thoughtfully delivers its message loud and clear. Every single day almost all of us can't leave home without our cellphones, iPods and what have you. Not content with spending hours on Facebook and other social networking sites at home, we still tote our laptops and immediately resume our online activities at the nearest Wi-Fi enabled coffee shop.

Technology is supposed to enhance our lives, not totally rule them. Do we have to wait until it destroys our relationships before we see the difference? After watching Technophilia, maybe we don't have to.

I'll talk about Pera-Perahang Lata in a later post. But for now, do try to catch the movie (watch trailer below) when you get the chance. For information on the film and possible future screenings or where to get an original DVD copy, visit technophiliafilm.blogspot.com or the filmmaker's website at www.riannehillsoriano.com

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