Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Belen Calingacion’


“The Yellow Shawl III [1944]” Reconstructed for Tomorrow’s Play

May 24, 2016

In 2010, I made a short film that formed part of the UP Chamber Theatre’s performance of Francisco Arcellana’s “The Yellow Shawl.” Last week, or six years later, long-time friend, Dr. Belen Calingacion, former Chair of the UP Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts emailed me to ask for a copy since she lost it in the fire that gutted the UP Faculty Center.

I found the coverages of both performances she directed made in celebration of their 50th year: The Yellow Shawl and May Day Eve. Unfortunately, I did not find the original copy of the film, then about two minutes and 15 seconds long. It’s the character’s flashback about her mother.

Luckily, I found a DVD read-only copy of the film’s footage. Not all shots used in the original were there however. They were also uneditable in my computer. Up to now, I cannot recall, and still wondering why I have that copy since the original was shot using mini-DV camera. I still have the tapes, but I do not normally save exported clips. Anyway, I had to reformat it to MPEG 4 using another editing software program before I could finally re-edit and reconstruct the whole thing again. I was able to give the copy to Belen last Saturday.

The re-edited copy has become by the way a little longer – two seconds less than three minutes. The Yellow Shawl is one of the four plays slated to be shown tomorrow, starting at 5 pm., May 25. Venue is UP Palma Hall, 4th floor.

[Notes: When projected, the film unfortunately did not have the same impact as when used the first time in 2010. It wasn’t dim enough for the film to be properly viewed. The mic stand blocked the scene, and as the audience are seated too close to the performers, the area of vision was quite limited. Anyway, of all the performances, I liked Flowers of May and Wings of Madness. Congrats to my friend, Belen, the play director!! – June 2, 2016]


THE YELLOW SHAWL III (1944)_My Shortest Film Ever

February 2, 2010

Finally, I made the shortest film in my life —2min 15sec in length! And in narrative form! [This is rare because I prefer making feature-length docus]. It formed Part III [The Yellow Shawl (1944) of Francisco Arcellana’s story with the same title, performed and presented last Thursday to Saturday [January 28-30], by the UP Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts under the direction of my good friend Dr. Belen Calingacion, the Department’s Chairperson. We did a coverage of the Chamber Theater’s last performance at Teatro Hermogenes Ilagan in UP.

The film as flashback helps in understanding the whole story  superbly played by Nico Paolo Arguelles and Danica Paola Romero. The video images in black and white show her past, explaining in the process why the girl acts the way she does. The traumatic experience of continually being haunted by the anguish and sufferings of her mother from the Japanese soldiers, and, as insinuated in the story, as a Comfort Woman is shown in the film. But the similarity ends there. There is variation in the scenes and the settings. The film is a screen adaptation, or rather, Belen’s interpretation of the story. [To read the story click theyellowshawl.htm] I came up with a very simple film, yet there were those who admittedly told me that it touched them so much they shed tears while watching it. The merge of the present and the past (through the film) resulted in a beautiful and powerful ending—an affirmation of how powerful a film can be. But that was only made possible because of the natural and good acting ensemble of course, and the proper use of the segment in the play.

The film was largely shot using handheld camera. A rather hush work shot done in the UP campus with only one assistant, starring friends and neighbors of Belen. It was fun! Meeting old acquaintances as Dr. Ruby Alcantara and new wonderful people, as her grand daughter Czarise Jyvoane Alcantara who acted as the Child, Rex Flores [the Japanese soldier], his wife Dr. Crisanta Flores, [Girl’s mother], and “tambay sa UP Film Center” as Gina [Dr. Amanda Umali III] described herself. She owns the cozy house where we shot the scenes. She too was a student in Humanities of UP Film Center Founder Ms. Virginia “Aling Barang” Moreno.

The two-minute film took me two days to edit [tried many variations], and even after my first declaration to myself that version 3 was final [I settled on not revealing the mother’s face immediately], my brain did not stop until I acceded to its prodding to try reshuffling  shots further more. I finally came up with version 4 which was shown, and still to be shown*  …BUT, before I completely erase my video files, I would be trying a 5th version. I shall manipulate some more shots [dagdag-bawas pa] so as to end with both the child and the father. Again I blame this on my brain’s workings. More often than not, in film editing, I follow the dictates of my brain as I always come up with something better. But if it doesn’t work after the try [my judgment still], I feel more “peaceful’ for giving in to my mind’s proddings just the same. By not just settling in what I thought to be good and already quite acceptable is really quite good for my mental health. The feeling of satisfaction for exhausting everything possible would be there. And there would also be closure as well.

*The Chamber Theater group got invitations to perform the back-to-back play at DLS Taft and CCP this week. Re the screening at De La Salle, I received this text message from Belen last night:

PRISMS a Chamber Theater Production of Nick Joaquin’s “May Day Eve” and Franz Arcellana’s ” The Yellow Shawl” at N. Fajardo Gonzales Auditorium De La Salle University Taft at 2 pm and 5 pm. Feb.3. Tickets are sold at the North gate of DLSU, 100 pesos.

(To read a short bio on Francisco Arcellana, click index.php?title=Francisco_Arcellana)