Why and for whom do you write/work today?
Feature by: Alexis A. Tioseco
Whom is easier; I write for the one person out there who might want to look beyond the cineplex, who wants something more than the bland, standard-issue Hollywood fare, cookie-cutter entertainment produced at minimum cost and for maximum profit, MTV-style flash-and-bang, all razzmatazz and no substance; I write for the one person out there who might prefer the simple and the heartfelt over the big-budgeted and thoroughly digitized; who values the name of an artist over the name of a celebrity; who thinks films can do more than make you forget your problems for a measly few hours, maybe put your problems in context, give you a whole new perspective on life—or some corner of
it that you never thought existed.
I also write for the one Filipino or lover of things Filipino who is suspicious of all things Hollywood, who doesn't buy the conventional wisdom that Filipino films (or culture, or society) is inherently inferior to Hollywood movies (or culture, or society); I write
for the Filipino who believes in the potential greatness of the Philippine artist, that he has done much and is capable of even more; that he is a creature of God, able to reflect His greatness as well as if not better than any other.
And who knows, there might be as many as two of them out there I'm writing for.
As for why—why, that's partly a function of my audience (such as it is); I write in part for whomever out there responds to my writing. I also write for my own inner satisfaction, that I am in some small measure helping contribute to the literature on Philippine cinema and its development, thereby uplifting it. I write, in short, for the satisfaction of others (or that one other, if you like) and of myself.
But beyond that, I write because I must. Because some mysterious urge compels me to do so. Because if I didn't, some inner artery in me will burst out of sheer need, and flood my brain with blood.
In the end, I don't really know why I write; I just do.
Noel Vera is the foremost Filipino film critic of the last decade. His full bio can be read here and his blog can be found here.
Khoo Gaik Cheng
Tan Bee Thiam