Third World Physics
by Don Jaucian
Emerson Reyes’s MNL 143 breezes through heavyweight issues of proximity, religion, and homosexuality within the constrictions of an FX. While others push for grander ambitions, Reyes plants his feet on the ground, opting for a simpler take on things while still delivering an insightful appraisal on the peculiarities of commute and the communal Pinoy spirit.
Pelikula Tumblr talked to Emerson about great local filmmakers, being influenced by collaborators, and the reduction of personal space.
The FX as a setting for the scenes reduces the space between people, much like walking in Manila or going anywhere in the city. Is this issue of proximity something that you really wanted to discuss in the film?
Yes, the film also deals with invasion of private spaces. Whether you like it or not, you’ll hear or be a part of other lives because of the claustrophobic environment.
Who are your influences in filmmaking?
I grew up watching from everything and anything on TV and cinemas. From the great comedy of Tito, Vic, and Joey to the classic films of François Truffaut and Martin Scorsese.
My influences are (foreign) Pedro Almodovar, Wong Kar Wai, Richard Linklater, Michel Gondry (local) Mike De Leon, Lino Brocka, Peque Gallaga, Brillante Mendoza, Khavn de la Cruz, and John Torres.
After doing MNL 143, I realized that those who influenced me more now are not the filmmakers I adored but the filmmakers I work with. My assistant director in MNL 143, Jet Leyco who just won at the recent Jeonju International Film Festival helped me to be a better director. My cinematographer Neil Brion guided me to capture better images in the film. My film editor, Chuck Gutierrez showed me a lot of ways to improve the original treatment I have in mind. My actors gave life to the characters I have written. The people I collaborated with for MNL 143, the producers Dan Gil, Babyruth Villarama, Rene Durian and Nestor Abrogena made the film even better than I have envisioned.
Do you also have a favorite film that is set in a vehicle or a form of transpiration?
People are telling me about Abbas Kiorostami’s film Ten. I haven’t seen it but after my screenings, some people are telling me to watch the film because it is also 90 percent shot inside a car.
I’m just really interested in small spaces. I want to be more creative with my actors in limited spaces.
MNL 143 will be having its Philippine premiere tonight, 7pm at the UP Cine Adarna. For tickets and more details, check the Facebook event page. You can also check out a longer interview with Emerson in today’s Supreme.