“THE PERFUME” 

​My reaction about this movie:

Reflections on Tom Tykwer’s Perfume: The Story of a MurdererMy most recent Netflix adventure led me to Perfume: The Story of a Murderer(2006)

 I knew absolutely nothing about the film before I saw it. As a result, I was rather blindsided by the whole thing. I still do not know how I “feel” about the film, nor am I sure whether or not I “like” it.I do know that I am puzzled, mesmerized, horrified, and fascinated by it. I’m also very much conflicted, which is why I have decided not to merely review the film. Is it a marvel or is ita mess? Perhaps it can be both.What follows is my attempt to think my way through a few aspects of the film that stuck out to me. Like most of my posts that aren’t reviews, this post contains spoilers, so don’t read it if that is an issue for you. If you haven’t seen the film, but want to read this post anyway, allow me to direct you to thewiki plot summaryso that you can get your bearings.Also, I have virtually no knowledge at all of the Patrick Suskind novel on which the movie is based. I know that there are many who love the novel and that, before Tykwer’s film was made, many deemed it more or lessimpossible to adapt. It is possible that familiarity with Suskind’s work would help to clear up some of what I discuss below; but, as I’ve said before, films should also be able to stand up on their own.The Sense of SmellAs strange as Perfumeis, perhaps one of thestrangest (and most fascinating) things about it is its overarching interest in the sense of smell. Tykwer’s film discusses smell, and it places scent and smell firmly at its forefront. But the film does much more than just discuss scents and the sense of smell in an abstract way;it also comes as close as it possibly can to rendering scent visible.Because scent is more or less invisible and is totally silent, the sense of smell is simply not one that films typically seek to engage.Why films usually ignore the olfactory system of their viewers is understandable, but Perfumechallenges their tendency to do so.By featuring the sense of smell as it does, by using the visual to evoke scent powerfully, and by strongly impacting viewers, the film almost seems to tap into some secret power that was apparently there for filmmakers to engage with all along.The fact that scent is typically ignored by cinema is hardly the only reason that its presence and efficacy are important to Perfume. While the film is interested in asserting the general power of scent as well as the fact that it’s virtually everywhere, it also aims to investigate and to reveal what it is that makes scent unique and fascinating.Two characteristics of scent that the films emphasizes in particular are its fleeting and transformative nature.Early in the film, there is a scene in which the washed-up perfumer Baldini smells a perfume that Grenouille (the film’s main character) has created. As he smells it, he closes his eyes, and the room around him is temporarily transformed into a stunning garden (complete with a young woman who gives him a kiss). The message of this sceneis clear—the experience of a scent affects much more than a person’s nose.For sure, scent inPerfume (as in real life) is tied to memory (Grenouille’s flashbacks showing the woman with the fruit are evidence of this), but it is also much more than that.In Perfume, scent can transport a person, it can alter their reality, and it can even make them do things that they normally wouldn’t(the Pope’s participation in the giant orgy, among other things, makes this quite clear).As powerful as scent is, it is also terribly fleeting. It’s transitory. It vanishes. It does not last. This fact haunts, and even drives, Grenouille.He becomes determined to learn to make perfume, not because he want’s to craft beautiful scents to share with the world,but because he is eaten up with the idea of preserving scent. After accidentally killing the girl with the fruit, Grenouille becomes so terrified of losing such a perfect scent again, that he develops an intense (and creepy) obsession with preserving the scent of everything (but mostly of virginal young women).By tying Grenouille’s obsession rather explicitly to the fact that scent does not last, Perfume also links the string of gruesome murders that he commits to the nature of scent itself. The Scent as the SoulAccording to Grenouille, a being’s scent is also its soul.To him, scent is everything. Yes, he does only seem to concern himself with the scents of beautiful young women (more on that later), but to him, a person’s scent is the only part of a person that matters. This surely has something to do with the fact that he experiences scents so strongly and that he understands the world through his nose, but that’s not that interesting in and of itself either.What is pretty interesting that Grenouille apparently has no scent of his own.The film’s narrator state’s this outright, which draws considerable attention to the rather odd fact.Given Grenouille’s belief that scent and soul are equivalent, his lack of any scent of his own can pretty easily be interpreted asa lack of soul as well.Grenouille’s lack of a soul might be meant to serve as a sort of explanation for his monstrous nature.Perhaps he is a demon ofsome sort or, at the very least, is not quite human. The fact that he has no scent or soulof his own could also be one of the reasons that he is so strongly compelled to collect (and preserve) the scents/souls of so many women.Perhaps, on some level, he needs to consume so many scents and to take possession of so many souls, precisely because he is himself soulless.Mixing Tones and GenresWhile it contains flashes of real brilliance andtruly is an experience to watch, Perfumeis hardly perfect. For instance, just after watching the film, I remember thinking that one of the film’s primary flaws was its uneven tone.The film begins as a sort of coming-of-age tale that seems at least somewhat invested in seeing Grenouille overcome the circumstances of his birth. Over time, however, it becomes clear that Grenouille is actually pretty terrifying, and, for a good while,Perfumebecomes a horror film. Then, before it ends, the film veers somewhat strangely (or wonderfully) into the worlds of the fantastical and the surreal. The liberty with which Perfumenegotiates genres and changes up its tone makes it difficult for viewers for to get their bearings and may even indicate a certain lack of focus or refinement on the film’s behalf.At the same time, the overall impression that the film creates is undoubtedly linked to this mixing of elements. Whether or not that is a good thing, is up to each individual viewer.In line with its willingness to combine seemingly disparate generic elements, the film also constantly juxtaposes the beautiful with the horrible.Gorgeous shots of lavenderfields and of thousands of flower petals occur alongside those of corpses and of hairdripping with animal fat.The film is alluring, and it is terrifying. It is visually stunning, and it is utterly repulsive.And it all makes for a rather unique and captivating ride.While I still do not necessarily think that film is improved by its lack of focus when it comes to genre and tone, I am still inclined tothink that this aspect of Perfumeis less of a problem than it might initially seem.When he first begins teaching Grenouille about the art of perfume-making, Baldini says the following: “Just like a musical chord, a perfume chord contains four essences, or notes, carefully selected for their harmonic affinity. Each perfume contains three chords: the head, the heart and the base, necessitating 12 notes in all.The head chord contains the first impression, lasting a few minutes before giving way to the heart chord, the theme of the perfume, lasting several hours. Finally, the base chord, the trail of the perfume lasting several days.” In light of this quote (and in light of the film’s preoccupation with all things scent and perfume), Perfume‘s strange (and even disorienting) combination of tones and genres becomes more complicated and more interesting than may be immediately apparent.In fact, a feature of the film that I initially felt led to attribute to sloppiness, may actually be the deliberate result of genuine inspiration. Perhaps the coming of age section of the film its head chord. That would make the horror section its heart chord, and the more fantastical final section its base chord(the end of the film certainly has the potential to haunt and to baffle a viewer for days).Perhaps Tykwer’s film was deliberately and intricately fashioned to mimic a perfume.With its disparate tones and images, it is not unlike the concoctions that Baldini sells. Certainly, it is no coincidence that one of the perfume ingredients mentioned in the film is civet.Like the darker portions of the film, such a substance is undoubtedly disgusting on its own; when mixed with the right ingredients however, it becomes something entirely new. The Perfume That Commands the Love of MankindA week after watching the film, I am still puzzled by the question of why Grenouille’s final perfume affects people the way that it does.That said, I’m even more interested in why the people in Grasse react so differently than those in Paris.What does it say that those in Grasse (who are surrounded by perfume and perfume ingredients) are convinced of Grenouille’s innocence and have a massive orgy when exposed to the perfume when those in Paris (who, according to the film, live in the foulest and stinkiest place on earth) react by committing an act of cannibalism that wipes Grenouille from the face of the earth?Yes, the people in Paris are exposed to a much higher dose of the perfume, but there is more to the difference in reactions than that. In both instances, those exposed to the perfume (which Grenouille makes from 13 women) are supposedly acting out of intense feelings of love. While it’s not too difficult to figure the orgy and the outpouringof adoration for Grenouille that occurs in Grasse as acts inspired by love, the violent cannibalism that occurs in Paris is somewhat harder to comprehend.If cannibalism really is the most intense formof love that the people who live in the stinkiest part of Paris can express, then that might explain some of Grenouille’s most horrifying tendencies.Their cannibalism underscores a certain link between love/infatuation/obsession and murder in the film (which is first established by Grenouille’s suffocation of the woman with the fruit). Furthermore,that the people who murder Grenouille live in the exact same smelly part of Paris where Grenouille was born indicates that there is a connection between their behavior and his own.If cannibalism really is love to these people, then it would also seem that we are to understand Grenouille’s murders as acts of intense and genuine love.So perhaps it isn’t Grenouille’s fault that he isa monster who cannot love like the people in Grasse do.Perhaps he is a monster not because of some defect in his character, but because the first thing he experienced as a infant was a concoction of the very worst smells on the planet.With the differences in the reactions that those in Grasse and those in Paris exhibit when exposed to Grenouille’sperfume, Perfumemay mean to suggest thatscents have the power to change people fundamentally.If Grenouille had been born inGrasse, perhaps he would be able to love likethe thousands who have sex before his eyes do.Is it Misogynist?Before I end this post, I feel compelled to address the fact that Perfumeleft me with the lingering feeling that there something unfortunately misogynistic about the film.The reason for such feelings is simple: over the course of the film, Grenouille murders 14 young women (and no men). He also strips them of their clothes and leaves their naked bodies lying out in the open for anyone to find.This, coupled with the fact, that the film portrays women as objects of beauty and almost nothing else does not sit well.As creepy as Perfume is, its treatment of women is what I personally find the most unsettling.That said, there are also things about the film(for instance, how beautifully it is shot) that I really love. Generally speaking, I like Perfume. The film is fascinating, and I am genuinely glad to have watched it. But I’m uncomfortable with it to be sure.Of course, even in the light Grenouille’s murders, one could make the argument thatPerfumeitself is not sexist at all and that only Grenouille himself is.I am tempted to make such an argument myself; however, whether or not it would work comes down to how the film itself feels about Grenouille.Which is where, for me at least, things get pretty hairy. I don’t know how Perfumefeels about Grenouille. I don’t know how it wants audiences to feel about him either.If it were clear that the film understands Grenouille as a despicable monster, then it would be mucheasier for me to separate his treatment of women from the film’s.Unfortunately (at least for this particular issue), such is not thecase. While Grenouille is certainly a monster, the tone of the film (especially during those sections that include voice over narration) is a strange one and could easily be understood to contain sympathy for the strange boy who can smell everything but can’t love anything.The fact that viewers ofPerfumeare given virtually no access at all to Grenouille’s interiority also adds quite significantly to the haze that surrounds him.Viewers do not know what Grenouille is thinking; they do no know what the motivations or reasons for many of his actions are. This of course, makes it even more difficult to determine exactly how Grenouille feels about and understands women.With not much more togo on than his murders, it’s hard not to focuson the fact that all of victims are beautiful, young, and female. Grenouille seems to reduce women to nothing more than their beauty (which, for him, includes their scent), and I worry thatPerfumeitself might do the same.Until Next TimeThank you so much for reading. If you’ve seen Perfume, please let me know what you thought of it with a comment below. As much of the above includes questions and speculation, I would love to

Senators consider for’ex-DDS member “MATUBATO” 


MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson likened Edgar Matobato, the self-confessed member of the so-called “Davao Death Squad,” to Angelo “Ador” Mawanay, the former whistleblower who tried to link him to crimes but eventually went back on his claims.“As an expert investigator, Edgar Matobato is not a credible witness,” Lacson, a former chief of the Philippine National Police, said in an interview after questioning the self-confessedmember of the so-called “Davao Death Squad” at Thursday’s Senate hearing into extrajudicial killings.Lacson grilled Matobato saying he wanted to test the witness’ credibility.Matobato said President Rodrigo Duterte, then mayor of Davao City, ordered many of the more than a thousand murders he said were committed by the DDS, which he said included former communist rebels and law enforcers.He also claimed Duterte’s son, Paolo, the current vice mayor of Davao, also ordered some killings, including that of hotelier Richard King.Matobato also said he had participated in the murder of Sali Macdum, supposedly a foreign terror suspect, who was abducted from Samal Island and then taken to a quarry owned by a policeman where he was killed and buried.But assessing Matobato’s testimony, Lacson said: “Walangcredibility,narinig niyo naman,naiba ang tono nang kinukuwestiyon ko na eh,hindi na siya kasingdefinitenoong nagna-narratena siya(He has no credibility, you heard it, his tone changed when I questioned him, he was not as definite in his narrative) when I started asking questions to test his credibility.”Among the inconsistencies Lacson saw was Matobato’s statement that they used to frequent the Davao office of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, then headed by now Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa, in 2002 and took Macdum there before killing him.Lacson, who headed the PAOCTF before becoming PNP chief, said he was already a senator in 2002 and the unit no longer existed after it was abolished by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the year before.He also said he could find no mention of Macdum when he Googled the name.Lacson also poked holes in Matobato’s statement that King wasshot at close range at a fast food chain outlet in 2014, pointing out that the businessman was killed in his office.At best, he said, Matobato could have been an “asset” of the Davao police’s heinous crimes unit but knew little, if anything, about the DDS and the killings it supposedly committed.However, he did not totally discount that there were killings.  “Puwedeng may alam,pero hindi ganoon kalawak. Orpuwedengkakapiraso lang ang alam niya,ini-expandna lamang nya parang maging(He may know something, but not that much. Orhe knows only fragments and is expanding on this to make it more) dramatic,” Lacson said.He said Matobato should have been vetted more carefully before being presented to the Senate.“Pagka-ganyan ang testigo aatrasan ko ‘yan eh,saka dapat kapag maghaharap ka ng testigo,i-vetmo muna mabuti(I wouldback off from a witness like that and also, when you present a witness, you should vet him well),” Lacson said.

“EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS”


Drug killings now up to 11 per dayBy Cecille Suerte Felipe(The Philippine Star)|Updated July 25, 2016- 12:00am

The PNP said the summary of the campaign against illegal drugs showed that 239 drug suspects were slain in police operations as ofJuly 22. There were a total of 120,038 drug pushers and users who surrendered to authorities.JOVEN CAGANDE, fileMANILA, Philippines 

– Amid public concerns, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported an increasing number of drug suspects getting killed since President Duterte assumed office on June 30.The PNP said the summary of the campaign against illegal drugs showed that 239 drug suspects were slain in police operations as ofJuly 22. There were a total of 120,038 drug pushers and users who surrendered to authorities.On July 20, the PNP reported 207 suspected drug offenders getting killed in police operations, meaning an additional 32 deaths were recorded in two days.An average of 11 people were killed daily based on PNP statistics of239 deaths in the first 22 days of the Duterte administration.The constant increase in deaths of suspected drug offenders has started to generate concerns from some sectors over the manner the police are conducting anti-drug operations.In almost all cases, the police claimed self-defense in killing the suspects.PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos assured the public that a proper investigation is being conducted in all police operations, particularly into incidents resulting in death of suspected drug personalities.The PNP has noted a significant downtrend in crime volume over the last six months, which was credited to the intensified campaign against all forms of criminality through Lambat-Sibat.PNP Director for Operations Chief Supt. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan expressed optimism that the crime volume will continue to sag as the PNP intensifies police operations against drug-related criminal activities in the succeeding months.From a high of 52,950 registered in January 2016, the total crime volume steadily dipped by 13 percent through the 1st and 2nd Quarters of the year, down to only 46,060 crime incidents in June 2016.In the PNP’s assessment, Cascolan said the ongoing two-pronged national anti-drug campaign under “Project Double Barrel” is expected to further boost the overall anti-crime effort, citing the correlation of drug use to other forms of index crime involving crimes against persons and crimes against property.Over the last 21 days since the Double Barrel was implemented, the PNP has recorded a national total of 3,213 arrested drug personalities during separate operations by local and national police units.The PNP has also implemented Oplan Tokhang, another strategy to stop illegal drug activities in the country.Under Tokhang, or house visitations on residences of suspected drug personalities, a total of 120,038 voluntarily yielded, among them, 112,902 self-confessed drug users and 7,107 pushers.They are now subject of further government intervention by concerned agencies.PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa reminded policemen in the field to observe proper procedure during police operations, foremost of which is to protect and respect the human rights of every suspect.

“Communist gives honor to Meriam”

​The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Flag and late SenatorMiriam Defensor Santiago (MB file)In a statement, the CPP said Defensor-Santiago was an ally in the party’s rejection of agreements entered into by previous Philippine governments with foreign countries, such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).“Although she approached the matter from her advocacy of constitutionalism, one can gleam a deep sense of patriotism and a profound loathing for the presence of foreign troops on Philippine soil,” the CPP said.The leftist group, which is currently in the thick of promising peace negotiations with the Philippine government, underscored that the death of Defensor-Santiago “comes at a most unfortunate point in history when the Filipino people’s struggle against the presence of US military troops is at a juncture as the Duterte regime has made astand to promote an independent foreign policy and oppose US warexercises in the country, a radical shift from seven dacades of servility to US interests.”“The Filipino people will remember Sen. Santiago for her crusade against corruption. She enjoyed broad support among the people and youth because of her rejection of the rotten politics that pervade the ruling system in the Philippines. She was among the prime legalist in the country,” the party added.“She would have been a formidable friend in this fight,” CPP emphasized.