Colorum (Jobin Ballesteros, 2009) August 20, 2009Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Cinemalaya, Indie Sine, Noypi.
Directed by Jobin Ballesteros
Cast: Alfred Vargas, Lou Veloso, Archie Adamos
You hear the clinking of the ice. The screech of the butterfly bicycle. The tsk-tsk of the projector. Even the rain that hasn’t come down yet. When you listen intently to Colorum you hear lots of things. Figments, truths, cries and whispers. It is a road movie that tells less about roads than passengers, the doors that open and close for them, the trap door of fate that sets them up. It holds strongly on unpredictability, the unknowingness of turns, and the delandscaped drama it inconsistently and roughly delivers. Holes are everywhere, but never mind, continue. Absurdity is the new beauty. The relationship between the two tramples out other things, the young lady wanting to have an abortion, the deranged writer, the corrupt religious leader, the Ro-Ro trip to the south, the parking violation, the phone call to a loved one we never see, the sound of gunshot from somewhere. There are cue cards willfully hung in almost every scene, like a history book flipped page by page by the wind to denote movement, but you don’t really notice them, you see them and you notice them, but you don’t really notice them, ignoring them is fine, they don’t matter in the narrative anyway, at least not much, just some devices to thicken it, texturize it maybe, or add some depth, but not perspective. So you see, history is there but the story is telling us another thing. It essays to fit the little pieces on the canvas of history, but how come we don’t manage to see the supposed bigger picture? Is history really the bigger picture? Is Colorum telling us that it’s our fault not to really see it even if it’s there, begging to be noticed? Or is it the film’s lack of coherence and steady direction that puts us off and misleads our focus? For one thing, I have cared so much for the two characters till the end. They have come to grip me, and even that annoying staging of Lou Veloso being shot in the end is up for forgiveness. The culminating series of shots of the various characters is exempt from the forgiveness rule though. I realize I can make the infinite number of ways to flinch when that scene was shown. The Ninoy juxtaposition, however, is in the waiting list for sympathetic amnesty. I get it, I get it. It was juxtaposed to parallel his death to Ninoy, right? Right! It didn’t go overboard but was it necessary? Or just to push for more guilt? Anyway, let’s give it the benefit of the doubt. The way that it’s imperfect and inconsistent, and at times weakly executed, Colorum‘s impact overshadows the bug.