AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

1/7/09

Serbis [Service] Review



Directed by Brillante Mendoza

This is the most complicated, physically challenging film I have yet to see. The Director takes his audience into the ins and outs of a family owned soft porn movie theater that functions as their domicile as well as their source of livelihood and the not so hidden livelihood of the gay sex community.

The family life spans four floors of small, cluttered rooms, at least two bathrooms where one is seemingly always flooded or almost so. Laundry hangs everywhere and clothes fought over. Teenage male cousins value what they wear enough to go to battle over one yellow dead man's t-shirt.

The bathing facilities and methods of bathing and the lack of privacy in this ultra busy building often seen through the eyes of a young boy is overwhelming in detail dwarfing the plot; the reason why we are watching this extravaganza of stimuli.

It isn't just that the family life goes on while the film goers come and go that makes for the general confusion. It is the camera's going up and down stairs and into and out of rooms as the story unfolds while we meet and interact mentality with the men and the ultra busy women who drive the family and the film into continual activity and borderline prosperity intermixed with the family saga, (every family has its saga)

The plot is thin but the film captures a way of life in a country I know little about and that makes it a worthwhile experience. It is a life style so different from my own; so noisy, so many people, so much outside traffic and clothes and religious statues and activity and in the middle of one more flight of stairs up and then down and up again and around, I felt almost dizzy but happy nonetheless that I was allowed to see this other side of life, a life where women rule.

Multi-tasking has never been seen as intense nor compelling as it is in Serbis.

Like rain falling down from all directions, Serbis envelopes the viewer. It feels like the film went on and on when in reality it was only 93 minutes.
Why did it end?

I wish it had gone on and on and on. There was so much more to see, to learn, to understand.


Opens January 30th at the Angelika Film Center, New York City

Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective


Festival De Cannes New York Film Festival
Official selection Film society of Lincoln Center 2008
Competition

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