Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pinoy/Blonde: A Review

This film is best seen when one is drunk or high. Or, even better; drunk and high. You start out sober, expectant and not a little nervous...then slowly the film puts you in the mood...and halfway through the film you are laughing your head off like a loon. Pinoy/Blonde is a headtrip out of the creative juices and imagination of a Pinoy filmmaker unlike any I've ever seen before. (Probably because I don't see many local movies anyway or; I wasn't born yet when Philippine cinema reached its apogee in the 70s or; this really is a new kind of shit.)

A Tarantinoesque (as in Reservoir Dogs) crime caper, the film follows a simple errand of the two curly-haired protagonists Conrad (played by Epi Quizon) and Andrew (Boy2 Quizon). From his hospital bed, Condrad and Andrew's mysteriously forbidding Uncle Tom (Mark Gil) asks them to deliver a package to an abandoned hotel. While the opening hospital scenes seem unecessary, the real action begins when the two reach Hotel Maricopa. There they meet warring criminal factions played by Eddie Garcia and Jaime Fabregas. Will they be able to deliver the package safely? Is there payment in return? Will they make it out of the hotel in one piece?

This film really isn't focused on the story/narrative. It focuses on the ideas going on in the heads of Conrad and Andrew, both film enthusiasts and wannabe filmmakers. As such there are plenty of references and lines from local as well as Hollywood flicks and industry inside jokes. Any movie fan will appreciate writer-director Peque Gallaga's hommage to Pinoy pop-culture; a mix of Pinoy and foreign influences. In his constant referals to Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal, one might detect a certain nostalgia for the past, when Filipino cinema was cinema. However this film also acknowledges and accomodates changes in trends and Pinoy taste in movies. Obviously, Hollywood is here to stay, and we'll continue to be fed a steady staple of American flicks indefinitely.

"Not your typical Pinoy film" is this movie's tagline. Indeed, its selling point. And it isn't. Typical I mean. But by no means is it brilliant, revolutionary (although it might pretend to) or even artistic (assuming it intends to be so). What it is is important. Especially these days when the Philippine movie industry is dead and dying some more.

It is an important film because it breaks the monotony of formulaic output that we've been force-fed these past few decades. It is important because it preaches to the young, creative and eager minds of a new generation of aspiring filmmakers. It is important because it is smartly made and marketed; finished in two weeks and costing only a millions pesos. It is important because it wants to be so.

Go and see Pinoy/Blonde. Catch it at Galleria, Gateway or any of the SM Cinemas. You certainly won't see it in your usual "snooty" movie houses. You might appreciate it when you've a little "buzz" goin' on. Otherwise just bring plenty of popcorn, carbonated drinks and an open mind. Enjoy.

No comments: