Previously at the ICA - Films

Still: Jay

Jay

21 Oct 2008

Francis Pasion's debut feature took the Best Film and Best Actor prizes at the Cinemalaya Festival in the Philippines, and there's no doubt that it heralds a distinctive new voice in Filipino movies. The first voice we hear, though, is the woman narrator of the Channel 8 show Dearly Departed Ones, a 'reality' programme which brings out the soap opera in a family's reactions to a sudden death. She takes us to a village in Pampanga, on Ash Wednesday 2008, and introduces Luz Mercado as she wakes early, little suspecting the terrible news she's about to hear on TV: Luz' eldest son Jay, a schoolteacher working in Manila, about to take up a lucrative post in Baltimore, has been stabbed to death in an apparent gay sexcrime. About ten minutes into this brain-rot, Pasion backtracks to show how TV director Jay Santiago and his crew manipulated the situation and set up the re-enactments. What follows is not just a lacerating satire on the 'ethics' of contemporary TV production but also a wry reflection on the kind of images of the 'Third World' that are produced for the delectation of the rest of us. Sharp, smart and very, very dark.

LFF programme text by Tony Rayns.

Dir-Scr Francis X. Pasion, with Baron Geisler, Coco Martin and Flor Salanga, Philippines 2008, 94 mins

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