Purple (Brillante Mendoza, 2011) April 2, 2011Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Festival, Noypi, Short Cuts.
Directed by Brillante Mendoza
Cast: Rene Durian, Raymund Nullan
Brillante Mendoza’s contribution to Quattro Hong Kong 2, a collection of short films commissioned by Brand HK and HKIFF Society, is called “Purple.” According to one write-up, the title is an allusion to the color of bauhinia, the flower that appears in Hong Kong’s national flag. Mendoza picks up from that reference and presents the city in a manner similar to the distant yet emotional eye of a tourist. Opening the film are shots of old photographs of ships arriving at the harbor, connoting migrants who have chosen to stay in the city. Two men ruminate about their loved ones: an old man who fondly remembers his wife, and a lad troubled by his petty quarrels with his girlfriend. The visuals are touchingly pretty. Walking around Hong Kong, they pass by the fish market, flower shop, and food stands, and admire various performers on the street. The sight of high-rise buildings and trains crowded with passengers also strikes a wistful chord. There is no indication whether or not the characters are Filipino, and it can be inferred that Mendoza is aiming for that lack of specificity. The problem, however, lies in the voice-overs. The English dialogues written by Boots Pastor and Linda Casimiro are intended to sound mundane, yet hearing them delivered, unnatural and too acted, taints the viewing experience. This observation can easily be taken for granted, given the fact that most of Mendoza’s films are characterized by a misstep obviously overcome by theme.