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:

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails