This was another surprise the QCinema festival had up its sleeve. I was in a bad mood. I just had a horrendous cab journey through Manila traffic. A typhoon was approaching Luzon and I was still jetlagged. It was too hot outside – and too cold inside the Trinoma mall: the air-condition at the Gloria Maris venue was set to freezing. “This better be good” I thought to myself.
And it was! I forgot all about the chilled air-con blasting down my neck as I absorbed Andrew’s lively account of how he tracked down Filipino action movie star Ernesto de la Cruz, also known as Weng Weng. Ernesto is listed as the shortest action movie star of all times by the Guinness Book of World Records: he was 83 cm tall.
Weng Weng was Agent 00 – aka the Filipino James Bond and starred in 11 feature films. Andrew Leavold, a big fan of Filipino movies, went on a search to find out what happened to Weng Weng.
In his talk about ‘The search for Weng Weng’ Andrew shows how a documentary filmmaker can successfully navigate archives, public and private, to uncover what happened to Ernesto de la Cruz.
Weng Weng, we learn, died of a heart attack in less glamourous circumstance. The promised support by the producers of production company Liliw never realized according to Ernesto de la Cruz’ brother. It is because of Andrew Leavold that Weng Weng is brought back into the limelight. His film is a touching tribute to the shortest action movie star of all times.
Which really is not a surprise. I found myself in the freezing Trinoma Cinema 4 in Quezon City after an intense week of lecturing, It would have been easy for me to walk out – I felt cold and jetlagged and said to myself that this film better keeps me watching. And it did. Never mind the cold – or jetlag.
‘Oda sa Wala’ tells the tragic-comic story of Sonya who runs a Filipino funeral parlour in a world that seems to have forgotten her long ago. Until one day she develops a closer relationship with an unclaimed corpse. I won’t divulge much more – you will have to find for yourself. As I sat there watching Sonya’s story unfold I began to wonder who the real corpses in Sonya’s world are.
I have no idea how and where you will be able to see this film. But you can start looking into director Dwein Baltazar and ‘Oda sa Wala’ via this link:
And who knows – it may screen in your local arthouse cinema. Maybe you find it eventually on some VOD streaming service. A true little filmmaking gem that keeps you watching without all the CGI and Hollywood glamour. And Bravo to Dwein Baltazar!
I was fascinated by the Koeppel and the exhibition by Joris Deleersnyder in the basement. Joris’ presented ‘marketing examples’ to help make the Catholic church more attractive in the future.
Breda Photo is well worth the visit. Photographers and artists from around the world exhibit at the event. Visitors can spend days visiting the various locations spread around town to view amazing photography. The exhibition ends on October 21, 2018.
First some pictures I took of the fascinating 19th century 360-degree Koeppel prison in the heart of Breda.
And here the ideas of Joris Deleersnyder on how to make the Catholic church more attractive in the future.