The Limbo of the Philippine Entertainment Industry
Photo source: https://goo.gl/3ZPUyr
Blood, sex, horror, abuse, paranoia. The R-18 psychosexual horror film Bliss written, scored and directed by Heneral Luna director Jerrold Tarog portrayed horror aesthetics and disturbing psychotic visuals that kept viewers on edge, Subverting the idea that the Filipino film industry is all perfection, sunshines, and rainbows.
The film stars Iza Calzado as Jane Ciego, an actress, who craves the limelight since she was a child. In the film, she is cast by the ambitious director Lexter Palao, played by Audie Gemora, for his upcoming self-proclaimed psychological masterpiece. Adrienne Vergara plays the unsettling nurse Lilibeth, who takes care of Ciego after an accident during a shoot. Sharmaine Buencamino plays Ciego’s overbearing stage mom. The film also casts TJ Trinidad, Ian Veneracion, Stephanie Sol and Michael de Mesa.
The story of the film involves Ciego continually waking up in a haunted rest house following her accident. The intricacies of the plot unfold as we explore the affairs that haunt Ciego and the people surrounding her throughout her experience in the house. The entire experience evokes the eerie atmosphere of foreign masterpieces, such as David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and, as Palao even admits in Bliss, Rob Reiner’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery. In short, Bliss takes the viewers to a state of being stuck in limbo — an unsettling and bizarre setting with no hope of getting out.
Of note, Vergara took her performance to another level in upsetting scenes that one would not dare watch in the cinema. Bliss also garnered Iza Calzado the Yakushi Pearl Special Performance Award at the 12th Osaka Asian Film Festival.
Now, one might wonder: How can an extraordinary film like Bliss not be able to garner a full house, not even half of the seats in the cinema?
It is sad sight that this underrated film does not cause a huge uproar compared to films featuring Kathniel, Vice Ganda or Jadine.
Will majority of the Filipino market prefer the films that have more quotable quotes over heavy plots that makes one think on their seat?
It is the ugly truth.
Is this how the formula will keep on going? Add a cheesy romantic story, take the hottest looking couple in the industry, think of a cliché climax, and *poof*, everyone will be lining up for that film. A stroke of genius, right?
It is observed that the majority would prefer to take the time to watch a profit-oriented film starring their favorite all-star good looking media couples than take the time to understand a film with a deep story.
This is the criticism Bliss attempts to impart to its audience, and it has done blissfully so. of mainstream and supposed groundbreaking mediocrity, wonderfully presented as a psychological thriller as convoluted as the industry it criticizes.
Definitely, we can’t please everyone, but hopefully one day a film like Bliss that has substance and talent recognized in the limelight alongside with most indie films made in the Philippines.
Enough chitchat, now sit back and allow Tarog to take you on a two-hour mind-boggling journey into the parallelism of dreams and reality. Stay on the edge of your seats until the ending, for you are sure in for an arousing surprise.