Shot in stop motion with a Bolex 16mm film camera, the film short depicts darkened spaces lit only by flashlight spots. The flickering and too-brief illumination gives the viewer a dream-like and elusive sense of the place: a five story brownstone in Boston's South End/Back Bay neighborhood, a desirable well-to-do area known for it's higher property values within the city.
The visual is contrasted with a c1979 audio taped recording of my parents, contained within a casette sent to relatives in the US over 35 years ago. In it, you hear the voice of my mother thanking my aunt, a nurse named "Bie", for Avon cosmetic products, money and other clothing items, sent in a "Balikbayan Box". The Balikbayan Box is a practice that still thrives to this day amongst Filipinos. It is commonly full of items that are not easily found in the Philippines, parcel-posted "back home" by Fil-Ams here in the United States.
Though without subtitles, one can begin to sense the deep gratitude for the gifts and money recieved, and the poignant awkwardness of asking for a lunchbox for her son. It is a voice that resonates with many aspiring migrants-to-be and immigrants alike, hoping for that elusive better life outside the Philippines - many dreaming to come to the affluent US. My mother's closing sentiment to my aunt Bebie: "don't think of coming back here (to the Philippines). Stay there in the US, it is very difficult here. But still, we're OK..."
©2015 Lawrence Getubig.
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