Saturday, September 21, 2013

PUTI: Artsy Achromatopsia

September 20, 2013

Art forger Amir Luna and his son Jaime figure in a bad vehicular accident.  Father and son both survive but little Jaime remains in a deep coma.  Amir's cerebral injuries result in color-blindedness, which makes his "occupation" of copying paintings next to impossible.  As time passed, aside from this initial handicap, Amir also begins to experience ghostly and violent visions involving people around him and subjects of his art work, and these are beginning to drive him out of his mind.

Ian Veneracion plays the tormented Amir very well.  He was effective in getting us over to sympathize with him and his predicament despite his unsavory occupation.  He has some very unusual scenes but he does not lose his character.  Jasmin Curtis Smith plays timid Niki, Amir's assistant. She seemed very tentative here, but then did this role before her award-winning role in "Transit".  Lauren Young plays the volunteer storyteller Ana.   She is an elegant presence whom the camera loves.  The other members of the cast are Bryan Pagala as the young son Jaime and the venerable Leo Rialp as an unscrupulous attorney.

"Puti" is a highly artistic psychological thriller, both in theme and execution.  How the story turns out may seem familiar from other films of the genre, but the way this reaches that climax is very unique and original.  You may initially think that the plot may be ridden with big holes and red herrings, but later you will realize that it is, in fact, not.

The story deals with art, and therefore the bizarre imagery, crazy camera angles and stark color palette reflects the director Mike Alcazaren's sense of artistry. The seemingly sterile dream-scape this film creates may seem so clean and white, yet it was ironically dark and very disturbing at the same time . Brisker pacing would have made the film a more effective thriller. Alcarazen decided to take the slower route, creating a more thought-provoking piece. 7/10.

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