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The Short List: “Lisyun Qng Geografia”

Unearthing the sorrows embedded in places we're too afraid to go to.

The Short List: "Lisyun Qng Geografia" (2014, dir. Petersen Vargas)
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The Short List: "Lisyun Qng Geografia" (2014, dir. Petersen Vargas)

A map reaches obsolescence as the places it scopes change with time. This fact plays beautifully at the heart of “Lisyun Qng Geografia”, a drama that spars with sorrows that are embedded in the places we’re too afraid to go to.

Directed by Petersen Vargas, the twenty-minute short breathes with a style that’s comparable to those of Leste Chen (“Endless Summer”) and Shinji Iwai (“All About Lily Chou-Chou”). You can pinpoint unmistakable influences throughout the film — the way things unfold, the choice hues it employs, and so on — but what makes it such an effective piece is how intimate its story feels.

There’s talk about “Lisyun” being an autobiographical film, too. But really, beyond that, it’s the steadfast vision and direction that drive the film forward. It’s hard to manufacture such an identifiable sense of longing without having a hand in every aspect of the work — from its lush cinematography to the loose performance of its main actors — and without being personally familiar to that kind of nagging pain.

The Short List: "Lisyun Qng Geografia" (2014, dir. Petersen Vargas)
The Short List: "Lisyun Qng Geografia" (2014, dir. Petersen Vargas)

The story follows a young man named Tib (Earl Policarpio). He takes one last trip to survey his hometown in Pampanga before he moves out of the country for good. With him is an old map that points to the spots where he and his best friend, Tric (Ross Pesigan), went to as high schoolers. And though there were plenty of changes, there are some things that simply have not — like what he and Tric had, for instance.

It feels inaccurate to call “Lisyun” a love story, but I guess it fits the bill in that its main villain is ‘change’. Like the places we set foot on, hearts have a penchant for change, making it hard — or even foolish — to map.

The only way to have it forever, really, is to capture it. As a memory. Or as strips of celluloid.

Watch Petersen Vargas’ “Lisyun Qng Geografia” in full here:


The Short List is our running list of noteworthy short features available online. Each week, we recommend a short film worth watching.

Click here to see the full list of short films—you can also submit your own.

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