Saturday, April 19, 2008
Short Film: “Bulong” (Whisper) by Pedro Valdes - plus the new face of Greenbelt
In the undisclosed future, the world has been reduced into a utopian society of conformity and passivity. A good majority of the population works at a “center” that somehow voyeuristically scrutinizes the movement of its minions. There is a blatant rutfest of humanity’s aggressive soul. Set among monitor-congested offices, 2 souls (Julio and Grace) are spotlighted as they live their robotic existence amidst a society that suppresses all forms of active cognition and participation. Into this impersonal community, a seemingly ordinary “worker”Julio (Sid Lucero) starts hearing voices that commands actions that would otherwise risk his job and his well-being. Soon thereafter, he starts to abide by the voice’s commands. He is immediately set at odds with his girlfriend (Maita Ponce) who senses the former’s distracted demeanor. Is he spiraling down a bottomless pit that may cost him everything - his job, his relationship with Grace and his sanity?
Intended as a tongue-in-cheek interpretation of a Dante Alegheiri tale, this briskly and meticulously edited work boasts of haunting imagery and an inspired black-and-white photography, rendering a perfect atmosphere to its dark theme of indifference, paranoia and man’s internal capacity to breakout from any form of constraint! With its myopic philosophical musings, one can’t help but be transported to a world that we sure hope we don’t fall into! Sid Lucero is intense, sympathetic and succeeds with aplomb. The director’s vision that started with a sense of grave serenity soon unravels into a frenetic fight for self. This was expertly handled, without the awkwardness that’s usually evident among new directors. Though it may be too early to hail director Pedro Valdes (aka theater’s new wunderkind Joaqui Valdez after his stint as Jack in NVC’s “Into the Woods”) as an emerging filmmaker to reckon with, he sure is a promising find. He knows his media well, and he is comfortable with his narrative as well as his directions. His cinematic vision packs a wallop! No wonder this work was produced by Butch Jimenez (who graced the screening that night)!
If you are tired of your usual weekend soiree, try visiting Serendra’s Fully Booked (Bonifacio High Street - The Fort) and catch Valdes’ short film, “Bulong” (Whisper) for free! It screens this Saturday - April 19th - at 8 PM. If you can’t make it, call Fully Booked and “insist” for another screening! This ouvre deserves to be seen by more people. You will be amazed how a complicated subject is expertly and compellingly tackled in less than 30 minutes! And did I say it was for “free”?
Since you are there already, go check out the 5 levels of Fully Booked. I have to warn you, you just might lose yourself there. And I found myself going home with 4 more novels to read! Darn! LOL
From there, I found myself roaming the new wing of Greenbelt, the fifth! Compared to the opulence of Greenbelt 2 and 3, Greenbelt 5 is a study of understated elegance – intimate, a little less spacious, yet posh! Had dessert at Fely’s Restaurant (at the 2nd floor – which has horrible serving practices – it took them 20 minutes just to get my order, considering they didn’t have other customers!). Saw that BeBench runner-up John, with his mom – who acted as his personal photographer. Awww!
Greenbelt 5 - Are those teak wood?