Pasang Krus

Pasang Krus is a film directed by Neal Tan starring Rosanna Roces. It also stars Joross Gamboa, Ketchup Eusebio, Empress Schuck Beejay Morales and with the special participation of Melissa Mendez.It will be shown starting April 1, 2009 in all SM Cinemas and selected Robinsons Cinemas.

Pasang Krus Official Website


Blurring Reality

Comfort Gay

“The challenge for journalists trying to write a “hit” story may be in finding a sweet spot, one that arouses people’s emotions but not to the point that it overwhelms the audience and they no longer wish to keep reading or viewing.” – An excerpt from Eric Orson’s article The Science of Journalism? Why Sensational Sells

Jay is a film by Francis Xavier Pasion that won numerous awards in last year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival and had won Best Feature Film in a Festival in Berlin. I am not pleased with how the audience has reacted with the film. Much of the praises have focused on the film’s probable stance on Sensational Journalism. It is just a fragment of what the film conveys. In a sense the film is not about reality but the human perception of reality, the plasticity of which becomes an occupational advantage of modern journalism. Granted that any form of reporting is never completely neutral or impartial, some aspect of the truth must be divulged in the course of a journalistic endeavor. The film has shown this facet through Jay’s exploit of the documentary.

Jay is about two people, both named Jay. One is dead and the other is living. They do not look-alike but they are both gay. The living Jay is a TV producer who manufactures reality stories that tackle justice to families who have been victimized by cruel slayings. And the dead Jay’s brutal murder got Jay’s attention. He went all the way to Pampanga to produce the story. He makes interviews and asks the family to reenact some events to make it more realistic. It is not as easy as it sounds but with the help of his politeness and charm, he was able to convince the family with the promise to get hold of the killer.

Of course any writer or TV producer would do the usual thing with what Jay has done with his TV documentary. In the film, it was shown as the premise probably taking less than fifteen minutes. He creates stories to excite the public and he was good at it. But the film has made it clear that it is not the entirety of the narrative. The point of view suddenly shifted on the life of the living Jay. It is the time wherein he is making the documentary. The drama has evolved into deadpan humor. It made discernible insights as to how a producer creates a story. He did not infuse unadulterated reality into the documentary seeing that there is an opportunity to make it a certified hit.

How about the overrated concept of making the story sensational? Is it really a condemnable practice? Or if we do allow such things, to what extent is better do we acknowledge this unethical practice? The TV program’s objective is to give justice to victims and help them to catch the murderers. And they are achieving it. Jay does not care about the facts. To elicit an example, when the killer was caught, he was identified to be a freelance masseur. Jay disregarded the killer’s declaration that he was forced to be penetrated in the derriere. The statements were explicit and did not make it in the final cut of the documentary. Besides, it makes a negative connotation to gay behavior. Anyway, he could have known that it is a different argument.

The film is realistically portrayed by our country’s best actors. Baron Geisler did a good portrayal of a charming yet manipulative TV producer. Coco Martin and Flor Salanga are great supporting characters to the film. The blurring of reality is just a speck in the creation of this cleverly made story. Its focus was more on the emotional aspect of the main character Jay. He was aware of the reality involved with these rural people. The deformation of human behavior is also a reality. It depends on who you are and who you wanted to be. For Jay, he does not care anymore as to what you will say. We are the one who is responsible to read between the lines and check whether we must disregard what is obviously misleading.

Charlie Koon's Rating:


Thank You for Pissing on the Grass

Beware: Land of the Gay Engkantos

“The Thank You Girls”, which almost surreptitiously premiered at Robinsons mall last January, is the directorial debut of Charliebebs Gohetia. Being of an ilk of coltish indie denizens riding on the frothy and dithering waves of the digital phenomenon, Gohetia is not adverse to the predictable allure of experimentation. Fresh from his Asian Film nomination for editing Tirador, he attempts to form from sheer rawness a slam book type tribute to the exquisite campy-ness of the Gay Beauty pageant scene set in the relatively remote but breathtaking landscapes of the Southern region. In his film he wishes to display the gamut of the homosexual spectrum. What comes out is a fractured narrative teetering between occasional gusts of insight and a perfunctory storm of baroque linguistics.

The film essentially belongs to the road trip category. Six Gay beauty pageant junkies set off to Cagayan de Oro to try their luck in the provincial competitions. They trek from city to city, quaint hamlet to hamlet, riding a “Hail to the Queens” jeepney in search of the elusive plastic-beaded tiara which validates their very existence. Along the way they come across the usual epiphanies of longing, desire, and an extant loneliness that is somehow a pervasive mood in the whole film. This is especially represented by Mommy Paola (Pidot Villocino), the aging but still flaming Queen mentor of the motley crew. Villocino’s performance is the summation of a whole generation of homosexuals driven by the emotionally pressing needs of social recognition and reliable companionship. His gay son on the other hand, the more mannish Chris (EJ Pantujan) is a deconstruction of an entire gay stereotype. Their relationship unravels through the course of the film conveying the stark and sometimes lovely gray shades of father-and-son bonding that is in no way depersonalizing. It makes some men thankful that their fathers are more withholding with their personal lives.

The most queer (in the sense of obscure) aspect of the movie is supposedly the director’s strength. The scenes are done in a semi-nonlinear fashion, possibly of an Eternal Sunshine or Amoresian influence, but executed in such an awkward fashion that the effect comes off as haphazard. Certain scenes are interjected in sheer redundancy without adding much to the substance of the plot. It is postmodern for the sake of postmodern, belying the shift in the confidences and views of a new brand of young directors. The least queer (in the sense of gay) facet is the soundtrack. It is more mainstream and representative of a youthful vibe that is not exactly thoughtful or contemplative which is usually utilized in certain films of the same subject matter but instead robust and playfully sanguine. The patronage of less well-known bands, most of them probably based in Davao, is something to be commended. Everything else in the film with regards to the technical aspect moves toward a certain aesthetic that tries to capture a sort of casual realism that centers on the little nuances and vicissitudes that make up the breadth of an entire subculture, much to the dismay of the hardcore political realist.

But in truth what the film tries to achieve is deceptively simple but ambitious in the intellectual sense. Gohetia uses a subjunctive style of scripting, very reminiscent of his writing in the movie Daybreak. The characters are always in a state of desire, always babbling (in this case in Visayan) about the what-ifs and what-nots on a background of nihilistic solipsism that they themselves are probably not fully aware of. But this is for the more thoughtful characters. The others are too extrinsically driven that they simply reinforce some of the molds while revealing certain aspects that are less obvious about the homosexual psyche. Is it not wonderful to see how gays can be quite amusing from afar but to their own kind they can be mutually judgmental with the occasional helping of cruel endearment and a species of love-hate symbiosis, seeing within the circle the call of the I’ll-be-there-for-you-but-don’t-ask-me-money-my-friend-my-bitch philosophy. The movie is very informative, but I doubt if anyone from outside the gay enclave can process the information. It is indeed expressed that homosexuals bleed and cry and fornicate just like most humans, an incendiary (and repetitive) theme since the end of the 20th century. But I think the public gets it, that gays are more than just cross-dressing sodomites. They have an idea of what gays are. I think the challenge at present is to make them forget.

Written by: Alex Milla (Guest Critic)


Sundo is a suspense-thriller film from director Topel Lee, with screenplay written by Aloy Adlawan. The film stars Robin Padilla, Katrina Halili, Rhian Ramos, Hero Angeles, Mark Bautista and Sunshine Dizon.

It will be shown in nationwide theatres starting March 18, 2009.



Padyak is a film by Aloy Adlawan. It stars Jay Aquitania, Irma Adlawan, Rita Avila, Katherine Luna, Mcoy Fundales, Angel Jacob, Emilio Garcia, Arnold Reyes, Bodjie Pascua, Sabrina Man, Hazel Ann Mendoza, Mercedes Cabral and Baron Geisler.
It will be shown in Robinsons Galleria Indiesine starting March 4, 2009.
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