We finally watched the movie version of Larawan The Musical last night and it did not disappoint.
There is something in common to all great art. And I would consider the movie, and the Nick Joaquin play on which it was based, to be great art. There is in such works of art something old yet something new, a lot that is familiar yet also a lot that is unfamiliar.
I have seen the Nick Joaquin play (Portrait of the Artist as Filipino) several times in the past. As the movie unfolded, I felt I personally knew Paula and Candida and Bitoy Camacho and Don Perico and, the Maestro himself, Don Lorenzo Marasigan. Even the old house had a familiar feel to it. Like I had been here many times. The flow of the plot and the dialogue, I knew ahead.
Yet, there was something new and unfamiliar. The music for one. Tinio did a fine job with his libretto for the play. The emotions I felt were familiar and yet new. I felt them more deeply. There were deeper insights as well but also new ones. The story was about the passing away of a time and age and the opening of a new one. And yet, it is only our rootedness in ideals and values that will help us navigate the new course successfully. It is in being true to our roots that we will fins the wings with which to fly.
Alexander Pope described great literature, and by inference also all great works of art, this way, “What oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d.”
T.S. Eliot said it best: “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”