#SONA2016 Unplugged, by Brillante Mendoza #Du30SONA 2016

SONA 2016 Unplugged

by Brillante Mendoza 

(the live television coverage of the 2016 State of the Nation Address)


(but it’s a formal news-and-public affairs ceremony, not an informal speaking event — but that’s Brillante Mendoza for you)

(because i twitted/ jeered the static shots of the inaugural last June 30, the cramped Malacañang Hall and its kurtina (curtain) production design, i probably should jot a few notes about the visuals of the SONA 2016, not that i have any right to say any of these)
      Brillante Mendoza’s television direction of the SONA was unusual. It photographically invaded the visual personal space of the President, capturing him in angles never seen before, not all of which are flattering. All of us have a “best angle” with our faces: your right side or your left side, or with chin pulled down eyes looking directly at the camera, etc. etc; for most, it’s the three-fourths turn of the right side or left side of your face.
       Being photographed from the bottom will make you look taller and therefore more authoritative but if it’s a medium shot or close-up from the bottom, you would require the chiseled features of Piolo or the gentle mien of Dennis Trillo. To his credit, President Duterte did not bellow like a prima donna, “Ba’t ang pangit ko dyan?” (roughly: “why dya make me look like the undertaker?”).  Movie stars and politicians have been know to dictate their best angle to cameramen.
        Many did not like it. Perhaps if it was Basté, you wouldn’t hear too many complaints.
       i thought there were too many of those shots. But Brillante Mendoza, because of those series of bottom-up shots and close-up side view, captured the following human interest shots: When the President spoke of the moments he had to comfort widows and orphans, Brillante Mendoza captured the furrow on his cheek, like he was in pain; or when the President looked at the staff who brought him water and he mumbled something to him that seemed to be funny, etc.
         Still. All those varied shots can be done for speeches and debates. Brillante informalized the formal SONA and many were jarred.
          The following changes or new features are good and should be retained:
1.doing away with the fashion show.
2.doing away with too many interviews of politicians
3.doing away with too many shots of congressmen
4.This shot is good: The long, uninterrupted, uncut (isang tuhog) tracking shot of the President from the holding room thru the lobby thru the hallway up to the podium, handheld and steady, the frame is clear, just him and his security, there are no politicians crowding and jostling him. In the past, you always visually lost the President after he/she came out of the holding room because he/she was being mobbed by congressmen as he/she made his/her way to the podium. This long tracking shot was supposedly accompanied by music, and it was Freddie Aguilar’s campaign song. We have different tastes in music.
5.the “reglementary” aerial tracking shots.
6. no human props
7.musical artists from Mindanao
8.and of course the extemporaneous parts of the speech which had the live and television audiences hanging on to every word, with their breaths held, because it was unrehearsed and unpredictable.
        That’s SONA Unplugged. (at least, pinag-usapan ang shots, marami ang na-educate)
     (and now for the substance… in the next posts…if there’s time)

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