IF ONE were to go by most academic histories of Philippine cinema, you would think that we went straight from the golden age of Sampaguita and LVN in the post-war years to the 1970s films of Brocka and Bernal, with perhaps a short detour through the better-known works of Fernando Poe Jr. and Dolphy in between.
Glossed over are the hundreds of movies ? comedies, action flicks, crime thrillers, horror films, erotic ?bomba? films, spoofs of foreign movies and other genre offerings ? many of them ground out for a fast buck by shady outfits with second- and third-tier stars.
Swept under the carpet in favor of glossier ?prestige? productions, these lesser works nevertheless shed an illuminating light on the vibrant tapestry that was Pinoy pop culture of decades past.
Thankfully, though many of these films are now lost, they are not forgotten: they live on in cyberspace on Video 48 (http://video48. blogspot.com).
For the last four years, the blog has been tirelessly documenting and archiving obscure and forgotten movies from the past, resurrecting long-dead heroes like Jess Lapid and Chiquito, giving bit players like Menggay and Aruray their due, sneaking a peek at nymphets of the past like Yvonne and Rizza, and reminding us of atrocious movie titles like ?We Only Live Wa-is? and ?Bino and Klayd.?
Video 48 is actually blogger Simon Santos, 58. A businessman by profession, the UP-educated cinephile hails from a family of artists (Malang is his father, brothers Soler and Steve Santos are also painters). His blog is a spin-off from his video rental store, which has been providing film buffs with access to classic and hard-to-find films since 1988.
The Sunday Inquirer Magazine spoke with Santos about his passion for Philippine cinema:
Sunday Inquirer Magazine (SIM): How did you get interested in Philippine cinema?
Simon Santos (Video 48): Watching movies was one of my favorite pastimes since childhood and it brought me joy and pleasure. Being an avid and ardent fan and follower, it was the late actor Fernando Poe, Jr. who started my interest in and passion for Philippine movies. I was barely 11 when I started collecting not only my idol?s movie ads and magazine articles but also those of other movie celebrities. I pasted them in simple spiral notebooks. That was in the early ?60s.
SIM: When and how did this interest become a passion (obsession)?
Video 48: The advent of the Internet has made our research easier. But I got frustrated whenever I Googled something on Philippine cinema. There are not enough materials available, especially when you want to see images from the local movies of the ?30s, ?40s, ?50s, ?60s or even from the ?70s to ?90s. With enough materials on hand, which I had collected through the years, I decided to launch a blog that would cater primarily to local movies, a blog full of vivid and incredible images of local movie ads, posters, flyers, lobby cards and publicity photos.
SIM: How did you get into blogging?
Video 48: Getting into blogging was something I had wished for the longest time, but it somehow pushed me back a bit since putting up a website entails computer savvy and technical know-how. I found out later that there are sites like Live Journal, Blogger.com, etc. where you can create your own blog for free. I chose Blogger.com because of its simplicity, and that started it all.
SIM: What made you decide to start Video 48?
Video 48: Video 48 is actually a video rental shop which I opened in October 1988, almost 22 years ago. The shop is still operational, considering that the video rental business is practically dead in our country. For an additional boost, I decided to put up two websites in 2007, (www.video48.blogspot.com) to promote not only my shop but also Filipino films, and my FPJ site (www.fpj-daking. blogspot.com), a blog devoted to my idol, the late Fernando Poe, Jr.
SIM: How much work goes into the content of the blog? How hard is it to obtain archival materials such as posters, movie advertisements, video transfers, etc?
Video 48: Maintaining a blog is both time-consuming and hard work. You have to scan all the materials, Photoshop them when needed. I have to make sure that all images are vivid and pleasing to the eyes of the readers. I usually go to the National Library?s Periodical Section for most of my materials. Most of the images are taken digitally. I always bear in mind that many will read my post once uploaded, and I have to double-check the facts and data for errors. From time to time, I also feature articles on sensational crimes (i.e. the Lucila Lalu mutilation case, the Maggie de la Riva rape case, the deaths of Asiong Salonga, Nardong Putik, Jess Lapid, among others); local komiks; product ads of yesteryears, arts, sports and others.
SIM: What do you hope to accomplish with Video 48?
Video 48: Video 48 is both a shop and a blog that is geared towards people who love movies. At an early age, I was always fascinated with movie ads, movie posters and browsing through film books, and internet sites bring back those wonderful and golden memories of days past. These images, most of us are too old to remember, would somehow rekindle happy moments of one?s childhood. The Philippines has no decent archive to preserve our films. Only four or five movies survived from the pre-war era; most were lost or destroyed. All that remains are these ads and posters, and at least we have these remnants that we can still see and appreciate. This blog probably serves that purpose.
Also, I hope to spread the importance of Philippine cinema to our culture and heritage; to impart to the younger generations the importance and significance of preserving our films; and lastly, to share and reminisce about our lost Pinoy movies through these ads, posters, flyers or lobby photos, etc. ?