DOUBLE BILL: Signos (Omens, 1983) + Aliwan Paradise (1992)

  • April 22, 2023 | 8:00 PM - 9:10 PM | Saturday
  • Oldham Theatre


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This screening will be preceded by an introduction by Clarissa Chikiamco, Curator

Signos (Omens, 1983)
Director: Concerned Artists of the Philippines (Collective)
Language: Filipino; English subtitles
Country: Philippines
Runtime: 39 min
Rating: NC16

Full Synopsis

On August 21, 1983, Ninoy Aquino, a former Philippine senator and a staunch opponent of President Ferdinand Marcos, was shot in the head on the tarmac of the Manila airport as he returned home from three years of self-imposed exile. In response to his assassination, to a collapsing economy, to acts of vengeance, and the violent suppression of dissent, eight members of a collective known as the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (including Mike De Leon) bravely made this riveting Super 8mm documentary short, drawing on newsreel footage, interviews, and street scenes of anti-Marcos demonstrations.

Followed by:

Aliwan Paradise (1992)
Director: Mike De Leon
Language: Filipino; English subtitles
Country: Philippines
Runtime: 27 min
Rating: PG13

Full Synopsis

“[Aliwan Paradise] imagines a near-future Manila in which the quest for a radically new form of entertainment to keep the masses satisfied is neverending. Two young provincials bruised by their experiences in the big city—they happen to have the same names as the protagonists of Brocka’s Maynila (1975), also scripted by Clodualdo del Mundo Jr.—are reunited at the auditions. Their acts are rejected by the establishment jury, but the impresario/director who hosts the auditions is titillated by the thought of the poverty and hard labour in their village backgrounds and hires them to re-enact it. Their performance of the hardscrabble life they once fled proves to be just what the media needed. Like Kakabakaba Ka Ba? (1980), which it slightly resembles in style, this dark satire lambasts everything from the fashion for ‘poverty porn’ to the rampant hypocrisies of Filipino showbiz. It confirms and consolidates De Leon’s withdrawal from mainstream Filipino cinema” (Tony Rayns).

Aliwan Paradise was part of Southern Winds, an anthology featuring works by directors from Indonesia (Slamet Rahardjo), Japan (Shôji Kôkami), Thailand (Cherd Songsri) and The Philippines (Mike De Leon). The digital screening copy was made possible through the digitisation of the 35mm positive print preserved by the Asian Film Archive.


About the Speaker

Clarissa Chikiamco is a curator with research interests in the moving image and post-war art in Southeast Asia. She was the acquisition curator of the inaugural collection of video art at the Philippine modern art museum, the Ateneo Art Gallery. At National Gallery Singapore where she is a curator, she co-curated exhibitions such as Between Worlds: Raden Saleh and Juan Luna, A Fact Has No Appearance: Art Beyond the Object, Chua Mia Tee: Directing the Real and collaborated on the Singapore edition of Nam June Paik: The Future is Now. She was a jury member of the Oberhausen Short Film Festival in 2019 and is a PhD candidate in film studies at King’s College London. She is co-curating an exhibition on early video installation of Southeast Asia, opening in May 2023.

This screening is part of Retrospective: Mike De Leon. For the full programme, please click here.

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