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Breaking It to You Gently October 17, 2019

Posted by Richard Bolisay in Goodbye.

Dear friends,

It’s been a while. You have probably forgotten about this blog. We have all moved on. We have carried on with the more important aspects of our lives. I formally closed Lilok Pelikula in September 2017, exactly 10 years since my first entry in September 2007. It feels strange writing here again, as though revisiting a house I lived in for a long time and running my hands on every surface, entering each room, closing my eyes to remember. Even the dust brings memories. I am reviving it again now because this is where it all began. And this is also where I’d like it to end.

As you may have heard, I have decided to put out a book collecting some of the pieces I’ve written on this blog. It’s called Break It to Me Gently. Here are some words from my publishers:

As a film critic at large, Richard Bolisay has never been interested in the rigid dichotomy between good and bad, not letting movies off easy with a mere pointing of the thumb in either direction. Rather, as borne out by the reviews and festival dispatches in this collection, he burrows into each movie, teasing its furrows and breaking its codes with a forensic exhilaration in defiance of the limited purview and shallow agency typically accorded to so-called film criticism.

Break It to Me Gently is a collection of essays as much as it is a collection of times, people, experiences, thoughts, sensations, places, and stories, that finds its center on Filipino film but, like most displays of youthful ambition, tries to hem in histories, tall tales, politics, memoirs, foresights, and journalism, to mimic the raptures and tensions of the period.

Looks so neat it doesn’t sound like me! Well, the second paragraph is lifted verbatim from the introduction of the book, so that’s me.

Here’s the cover, designed by Kristine Caguiat:

It’s all Kristine’s idea. I don’t know what it is, or what exactly is happening in it, but I love it. And the pink cover? That’s also hers. All props to her.

If you also squint a little bit into the back cover below, you’ll be able to read the blurbs generously given by Patrick Campos, Dodo Dayao, Erwin Romulo, and Boy Abunda. I cannot thank them enough for taking the time to read the book in its entirety before the release. Erwin wrote two long emails!

After returning from my post-graduate studies in the UK, I was invited to be part again of the selection committee of QCinema. At the end of the pitch for the full-length features, I requested if I could present my book for funding, especially in light of the so-called centennial celebration of Philippine cinema. When my turn came — everyone was tired and would just like to go home — I talked about my book in the nicest way possible (shorthand for “please give me money”).

At the end, the festival director, Ed Lejano, agreed, and long story short I received funding and I was overjoyed that the project could finally move forward. But of course it also meant I needed to do the more difficult work. My co-publishers, Katrina Stuart Santiago and Oliver Ortega of Everything’s Fine, who were behind the Ishmael Bernal book two years ago, helped me out immensely through the process, and I’m very grateful for their patience. Aldrin Calimlim, my editor since my first paid gig, is the only editor I trust, my Gordon Lish. (I can only imagine the many words he would remove from this post.) This book would not be in its present state without him. If you find any mistake in the book, that’s either deliberately made or on me.

I will not hold you much longer, as I’m sure you have better things to do. It would mean the world to me if you would join me in the launch. We’ll be launching Break It to Me Gently on Oct. 19, Saturday, at 4 pm, in Gateway Gallery. You can order the book here or buy it during the event. I’ll have a one-hour talk before the book signing. There’s also cocktails.

It will be nice to see you again after all these years. This is one of those rare moments when I am truly, absolutely happy — inside out, from within, soul and body — and won’t you want to see that? Thanks for being there. We have made the most of it.




1. Crackdown Pilipinas – Kapirasong Kritika - November 8, 2019

[…] sa mga kaibigan! Kay Richard Bolisay para sa libro ng mga sanaysay! At kay Caroline Sy Hau para sa una niyang […]

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