We Are Still Here

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Religion & Spirituality

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Review of Petersen Vargas' 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten (2016)
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  12/14/2017We Are Still Here | Young Critics Circle Film Deskhttps://yccfilmdesk.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/we-are-still-here-2/1/3  Magnus Snyder.  screengrab from  Cool  ” goens screener Young Critics Circle Film Desk EST“”LISHED IN 99, THE YOUNG CRITICS CIRCLE IS COMPOSED OF MEM”ERS OFPHILIPPINE “C“DEME WHO, THROUGH THE YE“RS, H“VE ”ECOME “TTENTIVE O”SERVERSOF PHILIPPINE CINEM“. COMING FROM V“RIOUS DISCIPLINES, WE ”RING INTO THE“N“LYSIS OF FILM “N INTERDISCIPLIN“RY “PPRO“CH. We Are Still Here 17   APR merald Flaviano Its the first week of classes in a public high school in “ngeles City, Pampanga, sometime in the late99s and a boy, backpacked and solitary, stares at a group of his classmates horsing around. Wefollow his line of sight and so are party to the rowdy youngsters rude return to the boys indifferentgaze. Later, these very same teenagers get a tongue-lashing from the anti-barriotic English teacherwhile the boy, smirking, looks on. “nd so 2 Cool 2 Be 4goen s hero, Felix Salonga Khalil Ramos, isintroduced. “ world contained within himself, Felix has always been alone. He is the top student in hisclass because he really is smart, and not because he sucks up to the teacher as his frumpy # and #,Zarina and Girlie do. He has no friends, but is cool with it, having no use for the unremarkableindividuals in this forlorn school.His world is upset however, when the Snyder brothers transfer to his school. For the first time,something that is not Omegaboy interests the characteristically unengaged Felix. The sons of a USserviceman and a Filipina Fields “venue hooker, Magnus Ethan Salvador and Maxim Jameson”lake are unlike anyone Felix has ever met: pale, handsome, English-speaking, and rich, they disturbthe social structure of the small high school. Magnus inadvertently displaces the reigning alpha male ofthe class, Felix aracts the envious aention of girls eyeing Magnus, and teachers try to seduce either ofthe brothers. ”ut for Felix, who becomes a regular in the Snyder household helping Magnus with hisgeometry, the reason is also economic. For the brothers, money is immaterial: Magnus pays Felix tendollars per geometry lesson, while Maxim hands out dollars for dares. On the other hand, money hasalways been scarce in the Salonga household, but Felix thinks that the pieces of green paper he has been collecting in a tin can—proceeds from his tutoring—bring him closer to the same level as to theSnyder brothers.The brothers are both good-looking, but Felix gets particularly taken withthe aptly-named Magnus, the gentlerof the two. Magnus small kindnesses—a borrowed Walkman, mixtapes—and not-yet-outgrown love ofOmegaboy endear him to Felix.Magnus is the golden-haired Florante,who Felix saves from a lions denof dull classmates and sexuallypredatory teachers, the misguideddream to go to the US, the malevolent  12/14/2017We Are Still Here | Young Critics Circle Film Deskhttps://yccfilmdesk.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/we-are-still-here-2/2/3 Maxim. Yet it is Felixs sharing ofwhat is probably the single mostsignificant—up until Magnus deaththat is—event in his young life thatFelix affirms his love for his only and best friend. He takes Magnus to theplace where his old house used tostand, now buried under the lahar,and recounts the day the Pinatuboerupted and his familys narrowescape. [T]here was nothing. It waslike our house didnt even exist at all.The lahar took everything, Felixremembers while Magnus listens.Felix is surprised to receive MagnusYoure prey cool, Felix and anawkward but heartfelt side-hug, butis grateful nevertheless. For it is notonly Magnus concern that Felix gets, but a perfect understanding of himself: Felix might still beuncomfortable with being gay, constrained as he is by his youth and the conservative environmenthe grew up in, but he knows for certain that he loves has Magnus, and that is all that maers.Yet for all Felixs fascination with the Magnus, he cannot quite understand why leaving the Philippinesfor the US means so much for the Snyder brothers. This shiy country, a horrible place for me andMagnus are how they describe the only home that they have always known. 2 Cool  does not quitetease out Magnus and Maxims isolation, but what lile it does offer is enough to read on probabilities.Despite being born and growing up in Pampanga, the brothers dont cant? speak eitherKapampangan or Tagalog, dont have any friends, and are most unlikely to have known family otherthan their mother. They live in a bubble, expats confined in their lile “merica the former Clark “ir”ase, with its joyless copies of the typical “merican suburban home picturesque houses, is how thestarry-eyed Felix describes them. In a city full of families who have yet to recover from the eruption ofthe Pinatubo, the brothers in their  porma  , with their dollars and English, are alien. Felixs clumsylyricism—The shiny shimmering Snyder brothers. The dual dukes of exquisiteness. The geneticmiracles of interracial copulation.—describing Magnus and Maxim, while funny, hints at the reverentdistancing that the brothers have always had to endure. Their difference has always defined them firstand marked them out, and in this isolation the brothers has always had only one another. ”ut at thecrucial moment, when it comes in an afternoon in the middle of Subic ”ays choppy waters, Magnusumps off their bobbing buoy to save their mother—the unsuspecting collateral damage of Maximsplan to get their chance at really belonging somewhere.PetersenVargasdebutfeature 2Cool 2 Be4goen expandson hispreviouswork ongaysexual  12/14/2017We Are Still Here | Young Critics Circle Film Deskhttps://yccfilmdesk.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/we-are-still-here-2/3/3 Magnus and Maxim Snyder, alone together. screengrab from 2 Cool 2 Be 4goen s screenerawakening with his short film Lisyun Qng Geografia  and benefits from Jason Paul Laxamanascontinuing engagement with issues of race in a post-US bases Pampanga. Laxamanas script paints apainstaking picture of high school and its—now ridiculously pointless—rituals: the sing-songgreetings, the gratifying and shaming top s, boom s, and ruler smacks. ”ut this nostalgic return ismade more effective by Felixs awkwardly affected English for his journal project, an accurate reminderof youthful fumblings for ones own voice. Leave a comment Posted by yccfilmdesk on // in Film Review Tags:  Cool  ”e goen review”log at WordPress.com.Entries RSS and Comments RSS
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