When talking to Paco Raterta, you never really know what to expect. You ask him one thing, and he’ll answer with something unrelated, but no less insightful. And if you do expect anything, then that’s your mistake, because the Filipino director is likely to do the total opposite. “I grew my hair really long just because everyone around me was telling me to cut it,” he laughs.
The quip about his hair is in response to a question about his recent short film Coco Beat, his first foray into comedy. As he continues speaking, he drifts off into a story about action films: “I used to fall asleep in every action sequence, but my whole life changed when I saw Mad Max Fury Road. I remember it clearly—it was a terrible day. I dropped my phone, I spilled coffee on my shoe, and I got lost. So I’m walking around with a wet sock and the only movie with available seats was an action movie. I disappointedly sat down to watch it and it ended up as one of the greatest moments in my life! All the bad things that happened to me that day disappeared, and it was just joy. What an incredible piece of art.”
Although it doesn’t quite answer our question, it speaks to what really drives Raterta: the pure love of good filmmaking.
和 Paco Raterta 聊天，你总能获得出其不意的回答，因为这位来自菲律宾导演的想法总是剑走偏锋。“我之所以把头发留长，就是因为周围的人都叫我剪短它。”他笑着说道。
Coco Beat is a frantic short film that follows a girl who wakes up hungry for a sandwich that’s stolen by a spectral thief. The simple premise is immediately upended by its outlandishness. It’s full of overtures to the violent, horror-driven work he’s previously known for, but it’s overtly funny, weird, and surreal. His work has always been that way, intentionally pulpy and meant to be enjoyed, not taken literally, but Coco Beat leans in on the humor.
Eventually, Raterta does circle back to our original question, explaining that maybe the comedy was in reaction to the fact that people began to expect dark, violent themes from him. The true subversive he is, it was more fun for him to chop people up on screen when people were telling him not to be so angsty and bloodthirsty. Toying with expectations just seems like an essential part of his personality. “Even when you do the opposite thing of what’s expected of you, you’re still letting other people control your decisions,” he notes. “So lately I’ve been trying to figure out what it is that I actually want.”
短片《Coco Beat》的节奏紧凑，讲述了一个女孩从睡梦中醒来，她紧锣密鼓地准备了一份三明治正打算吃，却被梦中出现的小偷抢走，一场滑稽不堪的追逐好戏开始上演。原本一个再简单不过的故事，却因为独特的拍摄风格变得令人眼花缭乱。短片中，Paco 标志性的暴力和恐怖元素一涌而出，同时又夹杂着滑稽、怪异和超现实的风格。这也是他的一贯作风，刻意的粗俗和娱乐性，耐人寻味。这一回，《Coco Beat》比以往更多了些喜剧性幽默。
He most often makes music videos and spots for fashion brands, but his output feels far from commercial. There’s always some supernatural plot or a MacGuffin that leads to a tearing chase. The care poured into each detail is on display in every shot, whether it be the textures, the color-grading, the overall pacing, casting, or locations. Everything is highly curated and pushed to its maximum potential.
A love of home is also clearly evident in every Raterta piece. Even when working with a Western artist like The Prodigy or Duke Dumont, his characters and settings still revolve around the Philippines, and he makes no explanation in the video for the connection for it either, which he shouldn’t have to. “It’s great seeing Filipinos on a global platform; growing up, there weren’t many people that looked like me in movies,” he says. “So even when I’m filming outside the Philippines, I tend to try to make it look like Manila.”
虽然他经常拍摄音乐 MV 和时尚品牌广告，但他的产品里却几乎没有什么商业片的痕迹，反而总是有一些超自然的情节或追逐的“麦高芬”元素（MacGuffin，指电影中推动剧情发展的物件、人物或目标，而关于其详细说明不一定重要）。从纹理、颜色、整体节奏、选角到拍摄场地，每一个画面都体现出他对细节的苛刻要求。每一处细节都经过精心策划，以呈现出最大效果。
除此之外，Paco 的作品还表现出对家乡菲律宾的十足热爱。即便是与神童乐队（The Prodigy）或 Duke Dumont 这样的欧美艺术家合作时，他镜头中的人物和背景设定仍然围绕菲律宾展开，甚至在影片中他从未解释两者之间的联系。他说：“看到菲律宾人出现在全球舞台上，感觉很棒；在我从小看的电影里，很少看到菲律宾人的身影。哪怕是在菲律宾以外的地方拍摄，我也会尽量把它拍成马尼拉的样子。”
Raterta tries to shoot in the Philippines whenever possible and he digresses into another entertaining train of thought that answers a question without explicitly doing so: “There’s a special effects guy here named Apeng that I always hire, and he can do almost anything. We blew up a car once, he blew up the killer at the end of Rampage. He can make rain, squibs, and all this crazy stuff. He learned all of this because he was on the set of Platoon and Apocalypse Now as a young man. He learned all these tricks and added his own kind of Filipino DIY flair. Most people just do CGI these days, which I’m not very into. Blowing up stuff is crazy, you feel the fire and it makes you feel alive! I kinda understand now why Michael Bay has so many explosions in his movies.”
只要有可能，Paco 都会尽量在菲律宾完成拍摄。紧接着，他和我又聊起另一个有趣的话题：“我有一个经常合作的特效师叫 Apeng，他几乎什么都做得出来。短片《Rampage》片尾杀手身上爆炸的效果就是他做的，我们还一起合作过很多特效镜头，例如汽车爆炸等等。他还可以造雨、做哑炮和其他乱七八糟的东西。这些都是他年轻时在《野战排》（Platoon）和《现代启示录》（Apocalypse Now）的片场学来的。同时在这些技巧之上，他还很喜欢融入一些菲律宾的特色 DIY 风格，在这点上我们蛮投机的。现在大多数人都选择用 CGI，但我不喜欢。真实场景中的爆炸要更刺激，那些火焰令人热血沸腾！我现在有点明白为什么迈克尔·贝（Michael Bay）总喜欢在他的电影里安排爆炸的大场面。”
His work revolves around two main pillars: a central visual motif and a sense of movement. One video was built around the single image of a woman drinking a Big Gulp while wearing makeup in homage to Sympathy For Lady Vengeance. After these foundations are established, he’ll let the music do the driving, adjusting the pace for whatever chord or beat is progressing or breaking down, jotting notes down on paper like musical notation. “I storyboard the shit out of everything,” Raterta laughs. “Directing is so crazy. First, you’re just alone in your room writing all these ridiculous things, and then two weeks later, you’re in the middle of a cockfighting arena with a hundred people and someone asking where you wanna drop the smoke bomb.” At this point, he rolls with the punches, saying he just accepts that not everything will be in his control. Someone will inevitably bring the wrong shovel or the fake blood they brought is not edible. After filming is a wrap, he gets down to editing alone, which he says is his favorite part of the process, where nothing else can get between him and his vision.
Paco 的作品主要围绕两大要素：视觉元素、特殊的故事推进方式。每次在做好前期铺垫后，他会通过音乐来推动影片内容，根据音乐的前奏、间奏以及高潮来切换镜头，然后将镜头快速记录下来，仿佛是在编写乐谱。“视频中出现的任何内容都要做成故事板，”Paco 笑着说道，“做导演是件很疯狂的事情。首先你得一个人在房间里写出这些荒谬的故事，然后两个星期后，你可能就要来到一百号人的现场，会有人问你要把烟雾弹扔到哪里、有人问你光从哪边打过来……”现在的他喜欢兵来将挡，水来土掩，接受了一切事情都并非在自己的掌控之中，毕竟在拍摄现场，难免会出现各种情况，譬如有人带错铲子或者带来了不能食用的假血。拍摄结束后，他开始独自进行剪辑，他说这是自己最喜欢的部分，因为这时没有任何其他事物可以干扰他表达自己的想法。
In the middle of all that chaos, he says that he tries to have friends on set as much as possible. “Hugs are so important, they’re like a reset button,” Raterta says. “There’s no energy drink or cup of coffee that’s as strong as a hug from someone that loves you.” Love is central to everything he does, even when depicting scenes of murder and destruction. All of his work feels so intimate, each film receiving the same, deep level of care and scrutiny. But his personal projects may ultimately drive where he goes next, giving the contrarian a sense of peace: “I think the best videos I’ve ever done are the ones I make for my friends and family. I made videos for my sister, my friend Dave, and most recently for my beloved cousin Richard who just died. I’ve never edited a video with this level of seriousness. It was a crazy experience, I’d stop every five minutes to cry. This was not just a bunch of moving pixels; it was the only footage I have of someone I really love and I’m so glad I just for no reason shot a lot of video of him just doing random stuff.”
Paco 接下来会更倾向于创作个人项目，因为对于他这样的叛逆者来说，创作个人项目更令他感到自在：“我觉得我最好的作品都是那些我给家人朋友，们拍过的视频。我给我的妹妹、我的朋友 Dave 拍过视频，最近我还给我刚刚去世的表哥 Richard 制作了一段视频。我从未如此严肃地剪辑过一个视频。那是一次很难忘的经历，我每五分钟就要停下来哭，因为那不仅仅是一堆动态的像素，更是我所爱的人仅存的影像记录。我很庆幸自己以前总是乱拍一通，留下那么多他平日里的样子。”