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The Auteurs Daily: Alexis Tioseco and Nika Bohinc


The Auteurs Daily

Alexis Tioseco and Nika Bohinc

"The international independent film community may be sprawling in size physically, separated by continents, countries, and language, but it's united by a love for film, and a desire to share that passion. That's why, during a pre-dawn night in the Philippines and South-east Asia, a late evening in Slovenia and Europe, and an early afternoon in the United States and Canada, hundreds of individuals found themselves in shock after learning of the senseless deaths of film critics Alexis Tioseco and Nika Bohinc, killed yesterday as their home was robbed in Quezon City, Manila." So begins Jason Sanders's moving remembrance at Filmmaker.


Like many today, he sends us to Alexis's "Letter I Would Love To Read To You In Person," written to Nika Bohinc and appearing in Rogue Magazine in July 2008. Among them is Raymond Phathanavirangoon, who notes in the Toronto International Film Festival blog that she "was the head of FIPRESCI in Slovenia, editor of EKRAN magazine and was involved in the Ljubljana International Film Festival, Isola Cinema Film Festival and IndieLisboa." Phathanavirangoon "first met Alexis in 2005, when he was just starting up his website on Southeast Asian cinema called Criticine.... He was close to many acclaimed Filipino filmmakers such as Lav Diaz, Raya Martin and John Torres, as well as filmmakers in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. At times his vocal criticisms of the Filipino film industry caused some teeth-gnashing among the establishment, but Alexis got away with it because he wrote so eloquently. And that was his strength. He was someone who was genuinely keen on preserving and continuing the legacy of Filipino cinema."

Now "Raya Martin, one of Alexis's close friends, will now no longer be able to attend our festival - which I completely understand. To honor Alexis and Nika's memory, the screenings of Martin's Independencia at TIFF will be dedicated to them."

Updates: Oggs Cruz: "He wrote about Philippine cinema as if he was writing for the many generations of Filipinos that neglected it, leaving important works to decay while gorging in formulaic films that only insulted the culture rather than enrich it. He wrote about the films he admired as if they were his friends and relatives. He wrote and that is all that mattered. He may have known that his mission would not be completed in a lifetime (which is probably why he created a lengthy wishlist for Philippine cinema, so that his legacy may be continued after his passing), but he strove forward, writing, inspiring, making sense out of a cinema that seemed to have lost all sense. To Alexis and Nika, from one of your most thankful admirers who grieves for you like he is grieving for his country's cinema, you will be missed."

For Noel Vera, Criticine is "still the finest web magazine on Southeast Asian cinema, even if it hasn't been updated for years." Not all that long ago, he'd "submitted to him an article for a special Love Letters issue - a love letter to be written to a filmmaker or film personality you profess a passion for." A collection of pieces that were to appear in that issue might well be a fitting tribute.

"Nika, aside from finding a soul mate in Alexis, the person, had also found Alexis, the brilliant writer and thinker." Gabe Klinger remembers two close friends in an entry posted here today.

"Alexis and I were in the organizing committee of last year's Annual Southeast Asian Cinemas Conference in Manila," recalls Tilman Baumgärtel, "and we met a couple of times at his house on Times Street in the West Triangle barangay of Quezon City, where he was shot last night, over pizzas and beers.... I have been away from Manila for three months, and that might be the reason, why I find it impossible to get my head around the fact that Alexis and Nika are not with us anymore. To me they're still very much alive, as in this painful-to-watch YouTube-Video, that shows Alexis they way I remember him: handsome, charming, engaging, determined; Nika is also visible in the background."

Update, 3/9: Jonathan Rosenbaum recalls serving on a FIPRESCI jury with Alexis in Oberhausen as well as years of trading tips via email: "It's not enough to say that he and Nika will be sorely missed. I already miss them both."

Update, 4/9: Online viewing. "For Alexis," from Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Update, 5/9: Tilman Baumgärtel notes that the "Inquirer has some pieces by his friends on Alexis Tioseco here, here, here and here."

Update, 6/9: Adrian Martin at Girish Shambu's place: "Alexis, I am proud to say, picked up on a quotation I fondly recycled in Ljubljana: Godard's remark that cinema is 'the goodwill for a meeting' - to which JLG added, 'it is the love of ourselves on earth.' Cinema must be dialogue, and it must be love. I learnt this, more deeply than I realised, from Nika and Alexis."

Update, 7/9: Gibbs Cadiz posts the eulogy "delivered by Paul Dumol at the funeral of Alexis Tioseco and his girlfriend Nika Bohinc at the Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park, Makati, September 5, 2009. Mr Dumol, the VP for Academic Affairs of the University of Asia and the Pacific, where Alexis taught, is the playwright behind the seminal modernist Filipino play Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio."

Update, 8/9: From Matthew Flanagan: "for Alexis."


David, Thank you for this. The pain is still raw. Alexis and Nika will be missed.
The crew of The Auteurs would like to express our deepest condolences to their families and friends, We will miss you, Alexis and Nika.
Thanks for this, David.

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