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My notes on An Orchestra in Search of a Home:

1. I remember watching the closing show of Repertory Philippines’ The Game’s Afoot in Greenbelt Onstage and immediately after the play, they paid a loving tribute to one of its founders, the late Ms. Zenaida Amador. Co-founder Ms. Baby Barredo reminisced on Repertory’s memories bothgood and bad, but the thing that struck me the most was when she mentioned that they rarely received any funding from the government to stage their productions. Such was (and is) the sad state of our country where the Arts rarely received the needed support (financial from local government, moral from the masses) regardless if they propagate culture or bring glory to our country. Did people even care (or remember) that Brillante Mendoza won the Best Director plum in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival? Why is Neil Ryan Sese auctioning off his shirts just to attend the premiere of his film in the said festival?

2. The Manila Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 90th anniversary this year and its history was as glorious as the music that the band played. This documentary highlighted the current problem that the group was facing: finding not just a home, but a reason to play on. It also dug deeper into the members’ thoughts and feelings and the challenges that they were facing regarding practicality (ergo money) vs. passion.

3. If I were to play in a band, I would definitely want to be part of the strings section. Nothing beats the sound of those swelling violins (played to great effect in the one of the film’s opening scenes with the sunset as a backdrop). In another scene, they were made to sound like machine guns in World War II and the result brought shivers down my spine.

Full disclosure: My fondness for this instrument really started after I watched this late 90’s film called The Red Violin. I rented it for the promised sex and nudity, but ended up loving the musical score instead (which I believe even won an Academy Award).

4. I wish the raw footage used were cleaner with fewer blurred shots and less people coughing, but I guess those were the only ones available for use.

5. I was really interested with the misunderstanding between MSO and St. Scholastica’s College, and that Sister Placid seemed to be a really fascinating character. How about a documentary that will focus solely on her?

6. Music was indeed the nourishment of the soul because even with just a few pieces played in this documentary, I stepped out of the theater floating on an imaginary cloud.

7. Dear Mr. Future President, please don’t forget the Culture and the Arts when you’re already elected into office. We have so many talented people with so little support. They need all the help that they can get. Cue the violins.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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