Individuality … consists not in an attempt to be different from other people at the cost of comfort, but in the desire to be comfortable in one’s own way, even though it be the way of a monotonously large majority.

Edith Wharton in her first book, The Decoration of Houses, published on December 3, 1897.

Song: “Persona” by Superhumanoids

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I’m years past puberty but I feel like I’ve just found individuality in my Christianity.

(6,653 plays)

"It’s not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing—they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me." - Stephen Fry

The key phrase here is “Those devils have been my angels.” The greatest factor that helped me dive into maturity, compressed in an enlightening string of words. 


Juana Be Freeby Jansen Musico
Juana C The Movie (2013)D: Jade CastroS: Mae Paner, John James Uy, Angelina Kanapi, Annicka Dolonius, Jelson Bay
Juana C The Movie got pulled out of theaters just in time for Man of Steel to take its place on Independence Day. The irony of that statement is lost somewhere in between the ticket counter and the long line of people queuing to see another Hollywood comic book adaptation on its opening day. Who is Juana C compared to Superman? Both are heroes in their own right, Clark Kent has super strength, super speed, super hearing, super breath, and heat vision. The dude can also fly. Juana? She’s just you’re your everyday Juan turned social activist. There is simply no contest.
Fighting for social awareness in the Philippines is much like throwing punches at the wind. You exhaust yourself trying, but in the end, you still lose. The truth is bitter and hard to swallow. Anyone who denies it has yet to open their eyes and see the slow decay of our countryside; has yet to tune in to the empty promises of politicians who rob us in daylight; has yet to smell the stench emanating from our overflowing cesspits; has yet to taste their own sweat from a whole day’s work in exchange for a few measly Pesos; has yet to feel let down by a lethargic justice system. To be socially aware in this country is to be exposed to these sad truths every single day. Who would want that?
The Philippines has a population of about 95 million people. Only a small percentage of that is actively pushing for social awareness. The rest are preoccupied with putting food on the table, realizing their ambitions, or protecting their assets. If they’re going to spend money on movies, they would much rather shell out on something that would pull them away from their reality than shove it in their face.
What happened to Juana C The Movie is a sobering reminder of the relationship between movies and moviegoers. Who decides whether a film is good for its audience? Filmmakers may have the best intentions while producing and distributing their film, but if the audience decides to pass on it, what good does it do? The success of a film depends on how many people get to see it, since film is a democratic medium. When people make films, they are meant to be seen and shown. It’s democracy in play. The audience has as much control over the movie industry as the filmmakers, film studios, and theater owners. The more people line up for particular films, the more profit is made. It’s no surprise why we get the kind of movies big local studios produce. We get the cinema we deserve.
Sure, Juana C The Movie is rough around the edges. In fact, it’s all over the place. It tries to bring up as many socio-political issues as it can, given its running time. The film needs a sense of order. Though it reflects just how chaotic our society is, it doesn’t mean that the film should be chaotic as well. But perhaps that was the point the filmmakers were trying to make? Juana C The Movie holds up a mirror to the society it critiques. The number of issues tackled in the film is almost tantamount to the number of issues we have to deal with in real life. There is the problem of illegal mining and pollution, as what happened to Juana’s hometown. It brushed on brain drain in the case of Jun-jun. There’s also sex trade, drugs, corruption in the government and church, oligarchy, the jadedness of privileged youth—the list goes on. It would be interesting to see how many can be dissected from the film and studied.
It takes a certain amount of social awareness for a satire like Juana C The Movie to work. The effectiveness of a satirical film is measured by how much the audience can connect between the details on screen to the issues they represent. Its message is lost on viewers oblivious to the subjects being critiqued. A satire, in the eyes of the unconscious, is nothing but a string of hyperboles judged by its entertainment value.
An example of successful satire would be Jade Castro’s Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington. Though seemingly void of politics, the film critiques homosexual acceptance in the Philippines by giving its audience a controlled microcosm of the whole country. Its message was veiled in Baklese punch lines. Its heart was dolled up in foundation. Its biting social commentary was brought to life along with the reanimated corpses of barrio gays.
How come Remington outlasted Juana? We can factor in the actors and the writing, but the main difference, I guess, is the treatment of the message. Juana C The Movie might have been too obvious in the way it made people socially aware. It is the irate editorial column to Zombadings’ editorial cartoon. Zombadings had more whimsy in it. It gave us zombies in drag. Juana served us our reality on steroids. Again, moviegoers nowadays often just want to get entertained.
Though Juana C The Movie is far from perfect, it is a project with an undeniable importance. To see it disappear so quickly is disheartening. The local movie theaters have closed its doors on it. But I do hope that schools all over the country give it a home. It might be a tiny bit risqué, but it’s about time students got a taste of sex education.  If there is an audience for this film, it’s the new generation of moviegoers.
I am reblogging this even if online activism has its negatives because this is my advocacy.