Thursday, September 16 2021

Guilty! Yes it’s me. I’m wrong. Mea culpa. Maxima me culpa! I violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) by buying DVDs, movie videos that I missed watching on the big screen, whispering.

Oh, don’t tell me you’re not guilty either. At one time or another, most of us have violated IPRs. Watching movies in the comfort of our homes is most desired, even before the pandemic.

However, I stopped raping. Honestly, it’s not really because I have remorse for my IPR violation, but more so because of Netflix, Viu, iFlix, and YouTube. Cheaper because as a subscriber you have a mix of English and Filipino movies and of course the current craze right now, Korean telenovelas to choose from, depending on your mood. It is also safer, especially in this time of pandemic. As long as you have an uninterrupted internet connection, selecting is just the push of a button.

This is the same sentiment expressed by Under Secretary of Finance Gil Beltran when I came across his passion for collecting movies, which began 43 years ago.

“I stopped collecting Blue Rays when I found out that most of the movies were on Youtube and Netflix,” Usec Gil explained.

Guiding me through the past, Usec Gil revealed that his passion for collecting films began in 1978. At the time, Betamax was in vogue. Okay, that may be alien for millennia. Betamax is a consumer analog recording and magnetic tape cassette format for video, which Sony introduced in 1975. It captivated consumers but lost its appeal when VHS captivated most markets. Then the VCD arrived. It is a CD-ROM-based compact disc format designed to contain MPEG-1 video data. Its resolution is comparable to that of a VHS. And of course, the DVD, short for Digital Video Disc / Digital Versatile Disc released in 1995.

It’s his family. The taste of having your own video library stems from the Beltran family’s love for exchanging views and opinions on a movie or trendy films. They criticize at every opportunity – gatherings, meetings or lunch on a weekend.

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

“My room is a virtual theater. I have a 42 inch Sony TV on a shelf next to my bed with 4 players, 2 Blue Rays, and 2 DVDs. Next to the TV is another shelf for the Onkyo audio system with four Bose speakers and 2 Anthony Audio speakers.

Usec Gil was only 21 when he became a movie buff. This is the year of his entry into the civil service at the Ministry of Finance. In 43 years, he racked up 4,565 DVDs and 374 Blue Ray films. Then, of course, there are the international films from France, Italy, India and Japan, places he has visited as part of his work in the department.

The oldest film in its library is that of Mario O’Hara, “Babae sa Bubungang Lata”. Also part of its collection are 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 has amassed around 100 Filipino films, including that of national artists Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal and Manuel Conde. Fortunately, Usec Gil’s last Blue Ray purchase was “Genghis Khan” led by Manuel Conde.

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

This Usec Gil audiovisual room continues to go around in circles pre-pandemic, pandemic and post-pandemic.

Talk to me at [email protected]



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