Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Poetics Of Costume, on "Hinulid"

By:  Paolo Sumayao


There is of course very little room for a Valeran edifice to be erected right in the middle of Pasacao's quiet waves, nor the rolling hills of Camarines Sur's middle earth, but we identify the Pantoned-down story of costumes in this poetic film starring the Superstar from Iriga(a city known for ostentatious beading on gowns, but that isn't where our seams are heading). First, coccooned in the sorrows of a widow's blouse, embroidered to the hilt with detailed lace cut outs on sleeves as she looks up to Lukas' trifecta of ghosts, we note that this is the film's key piece: quiet blossoms against a background of sadness. Her dewy nape, what with the heat of the Pacific sun, informs us that this piece of clothing was not purchased elsewhere but the segunda mano stores lining the streets of nineties Naga. We are then taken to canaries and taupes and faded maizes in outgrown tailoring to remind us of the thinly-veiled intricacies of provincial life--something that registered on her face everytime a collar tip falls on the wrong place on her neck, with her hair slightly curling up when they tough the fabric. And then the high, torrential contrast of chiffon veils and velvetine religious tailoring on macabre statuettes against a backdrop of meadows and hills and ricefields would precipitate into post-colonial discourse, to an indefinite return. "Hinulid" as a film did not in any way insinuate the musings of a Coleen Atwood nor the accessories of a Patricia Field, but it sang a song only the old-schooled seamstresses can sing--that of a sewing machine relentlessly roaring into the night--hauntingly beautiful, provincially grand.

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