|Index||3 reviews in total|
DUDA (DOUBT) is an example of how a man driven by an idea for a film
can succeed against all odds at creating a significant statement.
Writer/Director Crisaldo Pablo used a cast of friends with some
professionals and with the use of a Sony VX made the first full-length
digital film ever shot in the Philippines. Comments by Cris Pablo and
some of the actors are in a 'making of' feature on the DVD demonstrate
how much dedication to a vision played in this brave little movie.
The story deals with the life of a thirty-something young man Cris (Andoy Ranay - 'Markova: Comfort Gay', 'Bathhouse') whose life to date has been that of a man seeking sexual encounters daily, swearing that after 4000 such encounters he will find the perfect mate as #4001. After a particularly active night (seven conquests) he meets the early twenty-something Erick (Paulo Gabriel) and indeed settles into what he feels will be a lifetime commitment. Cris' friends are constant companions who are pleased at Cris' new lifestyle, but at the same time are wary of the youthful Erick's fidelity. Doubt ensues and Cris confronts Erick on his time away from the home, a factor that makes the experimenting Erick outraged at Cris' constant jealousy. Ben, an old paramour of Cris' appears, making one last attempt to ignite past fires of passion before he marries a girlfriend: Cris remains committed to Erick.
Cris works as a television director and much of the story plays out by showing simultaneous TV talk shows, one about Cris' life and the other about Erick's adventures. The tension mounts as Cris sees his relationship disintegrating and hearing some sad news about Ben, Cris resolves to live the lonely life of an aging gay man...until a surprise event occurs.
For a first-time film, DOUBT has many positive qualities. Flashback sequences are filmed in black and white in a grainy, semi-focused manner that allows the theme of sensuality to be presented in an amazingly subtle way. Considering the film is shot with a digital camera, the flow is smooth and the sense is one of immediacy and spontaneity. The only professional actor is the lead Andoy Ranay and he draws a convincing, three-dimensional character with whom we can identify - a man approaching the age of 'undesirable' in the gay world of the Philippines. The rest of the cast, though unsophisticated in training, give committed performances under Crisaldo Pablo's direction. The resulting product is a somewhat rough but ultimately honest and creative movie about the private and public pain of gay relationships. Give it a try. In Tagalog and English with subtitles. Grady Harp
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Gay-themed docu-drama type indie digital film shows a whole gaggle of friends and acquaintances discussing the central couple's relationship (in answer to the oft repeated, all-consuming question "What do you think about Cris and Eric?"), but in the process feature gets away from the open emotionalism of the couple involved. Nonetheless, what writer/director Cris Pablo's "Doubt" lacks in "Happy Together"-type intensity, it nearly makes up for with its freewheeling look at Manila's vital gay community. DV-shot motion picture trades on home-movie intimacy rather than porn sleaze, with artfully fudged beach front nudity thrown in for good measure. Director/writer Pablo has tempered his autobiographical faux docu-drama with healthy doses of interpersonal kitsch. Indeed, when Cris, driven by frustration and despair, attempts suicide, the viewer is treated to a seeming hallucination in the form of a media mock up of egocentricity: a swishy talk show in garish candy colors where a battery of fey guests in spangly costumes is interviewed about the topic on everybody's lips -- what happened to Eric and Cris? Lenser Alma de la Pena opts for a somewhat virulent spectrum of saturated color. Asian and gay fest life seems assured.
It's a great early try for director Cris Pablo, but there's SO much (too much) going on here. There are too many subplots, and many many long, un-related scenes which should have been cut out. With all those editors listed in the end credits, no-one seems to have done any cutting, because it's still 112 minutes long. The basic plot is a good love story between Erik and Cris. But then there's also the relationship to the Mom. and the Dad. and wondering if boyfriend is playing around. and violence. and Christianity. And i'm not sure why we spent so much time caring what ALL the friends thought. and then SO much emphasis on their careers. and a fling with a guy who decides he wants to be paid. and a stabbing. It seemed to me that the director needs to focus on one main plot, and edit the film around that. I got the feeling that he was determined to include all those sub-plots, and it's very confusing. Written, directed, edited by Chri Pablo early on. I'd like to see his more recent projects. This one and "Bathouse" are playing on FilmRise channel. Will look for more recent works.
|Plot summary||Ratings||Official site|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|