Audio visual room

Published June 11, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Fil C. Sionil

Guilty! Yes, that’s me. I am at fault. Mea culpa. Maxima me culpa! I have violated the intellectual property rights (IPR) by buying DVDs, the videos of movies that I missed watching on the big screen, through whispering.

Oh, don’t tell me you’re not guilty as well. One time or another, most of us have transgressed IPR. Viewing movies in the comfort of our homes is most desired, even pre-pandemic.

However, I’ve stopped violating. Honestly, it is not really because I’m remorseful of my IPR infringement, but more so because of Netflix, Viu, iFlix and YouTube. Cheaper because as a subscriber you have a mélange of English and Filipino movies and of course, the current vogue right now, the Korean telenovelas to choose from, depending on your mood. It’s safer as well, particularly at this pandemic time. For as long as you have uninterrupted internet, the selection is a mere press of a button.

This is the same sentiment expressed by Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran when I stumbled on his passion of collecting movies, which started 43 years ago.

“I stopped collecting Blue Rays when I found out that most of the films are in Youtube and Netflix,” shared Usec Gil.

Walking me down the memory lane, Usec Gil revealed that his passion of collecting films started in 1978. Back then Betamax was in vogue. Alright, this may be foreign for millenials. Betamax is a consumer-level analog-recording and cassette format of magnetic tape for video, which Sony launched in 1975. It enthralled the consumers but lost its allure when VHS captivated most markets. Then VCD came along. It’s a compact disk format based on CD-ROM designed to hold MPEG-1 video data. Its resolution is at par with that of a VHS. And of course, the DVD, short for Digital Video Disc/Digital Versatile Disc that came in 1995.

It’s his family. The zest to have his own video library stemmed from the love of the Beltran family to exchange views and opinions of a movie or movies trending. They critique at every opportunity – gatherings, reunions or lunch on a weekend.

“Discussing good films is a family pastime.I wanted to watch them on my home screen and share them with family and friends. Discussing good films is a family pastime.”

“My bedroom is a virtual theater. I have a 42-inch Sony TV on a shelf beside my bed with 4 players—2 Blue Ray and 2 DVD. Beside the TV is another shelf for the Onkyo sound system with four Bose speakers and 2 Anthony Audio speakers.”

Usec Gil was only 21 when he became a film buff. It was the year that he entered government service at the finance department. Some 43 years hence he has accumulated 4,565 DVDs and 374 Blue Ray films. Then, of course, there are international films from France, Italy, India, and Japan, places he had visited as part of his work in the department.

The oldest movie in his library is that of Mario O’Hara, “Babae sa Bubungang Lata.” Also part of his collection is the award winning films, “Anak Dalita” (1956) and “Badjao” (1957), directed by National Artist Lamberto Avellana. Both films starred Rosa Rosal and Tony Santos.

So far, Usec Gil accummulated some 100 Filipino films, including that of national artists Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal and Manuel Conde. Serendipitously, Usec Gil’s last Blue Ray purchase was “Genghis Khan” steered by Manuel Conde.

As precious as they are, Usec Gil maintains a directory for all his film accummulations. He’s a bit of an OC (obssesive compulsive) that he knows exactly what’s housed in their ancestral home in Pangasinan, in Las Pinas or in Malate. He donated some of his collections to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas museum.

This audio visual room of Usec Gil continues to reel pre-pandemic, pandemic and post pandemic.

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