Monday, October 23, 2017


October 23, 2017

Marital discord is a very common topic in local films which had been done in all variations of melodrama over the years. For a radical change, this indie film executed by director Jobim Ballesteros from a script by Jimmy Flores proposes a futuristic science-fiction way of solving these mundane domestic problems.  

Aries and Chai are a married couple. We do not know how long they have been married, but they wanted to have a child next year. However, because of their gnawing insecurities with each other's faithfulness, they are constantly fighting with each other. In order to save their marriage, Chai decided to enroll them into a retreat program which promises to help them solve the internal strife in their troubled relationship.

I felt this was supposed to have been a short film that, like its unwieldy title, was just stretched out to feature length but with nothing much more to say. There were interminable moments of nothingness -- just some psychedelic light patterns playing on the screen with weird electronic music playing to accompany them. I simply cannot see any meaning nor art in these filler scenes except to lengthen the running time by 10 more minutes. 

The saving factor of this film was the intense antagonistic chemistry between the two daring lead actors -- Max Eigenmann (as the feisty Chai) and Jay Castillo (as the phlegmatic Aries). When the two of them are on the screen together, the film comes alive with sexual tension and suspense. The whole film climaxed when they did. The first half of the film was definitely the more vital one. I felt they should have stopped there with the reveal of the futuristic therapeutic intervention used.

Instead, the filmmakers decided to give each character their own separate spin-off episode in the second half of the film. That was when the integrity of the film broke down for me, as everything felt anti-climactic since then. I did not see the need for these individual dalliances because the point of these scenes (or what Jose Rizal was doing there) was not made clear.  What's clear is that the director expects that we should be deciding on our own endings after the final fade out, whether this couple will last or not. By then though, I did not care enough to do so. 4/10. 

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