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Doppelgangers of the World Unite in Francis Pasion’s Jay (2008) July 14, 2008

Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Cinemalaya, Indie Sine, Noypi.

Written and directed by Francis Pasion
Cast: Baron Geisler, Coco Martin, Flor Salanga
In Competition, 2008 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival

Francis Pasion’s Jay wallops with impressive consistency; its build-up from a crime documentary to an introspective of the personal and professional life of its filmmaker – – both characters who carry the same name, only the difference now is that one is living and the other is dead – – surprises with brave and mature handling of a sensitive material, smart, charismatic, indulgent, and it remarkably sets the entire audience ablaze, for contrary to general intuition, Pasion’s exposure to mainstream environment works unbelievably well at his advantage.

It is important to take note that its roots are based on real events. In November 2006, Joel Siervo, a producer of Pinoy Dream Academy was stabbed to death in his apartment in Quezon City. It may not come as a shock to everyone, considering the number of heinous crimes unresolved in the city for the past few months, but to Pasion, it took his screenwriting process to a heavier course, thus allowing his “namesake story” to delve deeper in its milieu. Although I have no way of knowing whether everything on the script is followed, the result pays off – – the interest is unwavering, the effect is enough to leave the theater in marvel; and though there are instances when it arrives to a point of reckless imprudence, the terms are likewise forgivable.

The living who autopsies the life of his dead subject is the most crucial, yet Baron Geisler, despite his showbiz notoriety, delivers admirable dexterity on his part. The way his image is portrayed in media these days, he doesn’t come close between James Dean and Robin Padilla, but this role puts him in good light. The restraint is valid – – it adds to the vulnerability of a journalist who practices incest to his subject without being aware of it. There is substantial basis to invite comparison to Tuhog, but whereas Jeturian’s film succeeds in probing the psychological evil in multi-level incestual relations, hell serious and deadly, Jay digs in a different terrain. The comedy attacks the jugular; its perfect timing and clever dialogues are reminiscent of Abangan Ang Susunod Na Kabanata‘s comic gems. The most effective comedy induces pain – – the agonizing realization of truth.

The controversy that arises in the final scene of Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry, which much to the Iranian government’s surprise won the Palme d’Or in 1997, is understandable. It is not new – – Godard has already done the same effect in the 60s – – but it remains phenomenal and Kiarostami’s philosophy makes it more open to unnecessary overreading, yet it only proves one point – – the vision is in the filmmaker, not in anyone else. In Jay, Pasion decides to take the same path and finds gold at the end of the road – – the doppler effect on cue.

For another related literature, listen to Eraserheads’s “Hey Jay,” from the band’s sophomore and most important album, Circus. The queer story stays – – as well as the granulation of social and domestic maladies. But for now, though it’s still quite early to make predictions and still too many films to see, this should put everyone on feet: Jay is solid, formidable, and gratifying – – it’s almost perfect. * * * * *



1. staycat260 - July 14, 2008

Maganda nga to pero 100 at Boses ang mas gusto ko. La lang.

2. Oggs Cruz - July 14, 2008

Saw this too… Wouldn’t exactly label it great, but yeah, it’s pretty good. I’ve seen this, Ranchero (very good), Huling Pasada (good), and Namets! (icky!). Sorry for the one word reviews, I’ll come up with something as soon as I can…

3. Richard Bolisay - July 15, 2008

straycat: i wish to see both, too. if only some people would not buy bulk tickets and leave us with none.

Oggs: what do you mean by icky? i thought Namets is a cooking show so I chose another one instead. haven’t seen Ranchero yet but Michael must be very happy with your comment, Oggs. will make sure he’ll know. hehe.

i find the enjoyment in seeing Jay reason enough to call it great – – from start to finish, must be me, but it rocks. be looking forward to yours. time is enemy. :D

4. dohnalicious - July 18, 2008

yep.it’s irritatingly beautiful. intelligent film. chard, gawang ateneo din ito. hmmm… how’s 100?

5. Richard Bolisay - July 18, 2008

nice term – – irritatingly beautiful. haha. 100 is the coolest film in the bunch – – i loved it.

6. dohnalicious - July 18, 2008

well it was irritatingly beautiful. there were parts where it was just so irritating. it made so restless, i kept on fidgeting. but on the whole, it was a beautiful film.

i know. 100 is love. 100 ftw! yeah.

i’ll see you tomorrow for boses.
[how about a round of applause, standing ovation mode daw eh. hmmm…]

7. Richard Bolisay - July 19, 2008

siguro nakaapekto rin yung audience – – the people around me were screaming in almost every display of farce. hehe. at which part were you irritated?

no money, no honey, no more money. see ya. :D

8. douglas_racso - August 4, 2008

the best film so far

9. Bookmarks about Documentary - January 16, 2009

[…] – bookmarked by 4 members originally found by gAtHeRrOuNdPiGGiEs on 2008-12-22 Doppelgangers of the World Unite in Francis Pasion’s Jay (2008) […]

10. Tyrone - January 17, 2009

Congrats sa movie ni Francis Pasion… kasama po ang Jay sa Green Chilies Audience Award 2009


11. bathalumang cute - August 9, 2009

pwede nio po ba i post ung summary ng jay?

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