Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rekorder (Mikhail Red, Cinemalaya 2013 New Breed)

The Reds invaded the hallowed halls of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. I’m not talking about communists although documentaries on two prominent rebels, Yanan and Ishma, were shown at Cinemalaya 2013.

The Red invasion I’m referring to deals with Cinemalaya screenings of films made by Raymond Red, Jon Red, and Mikhail Red. All three films are a veritable feast for the eyes. It is not a Red film if the production design and cinematography are sophomoric. Raymond Red’s Kamera Obskura won the Special Jury Prize at the Cinemalaya 2012 Directors Showcase competition.  Rekorder’s Roy Red nabbed the production design award at the Cinemalaya 2013 New Breed competition.

Jon Red’s loony film Ang Pirata may not win an award but it may have lent an image and a major idea to Mikhail Red’s Rekorder. Both films prominently showed the Video Regulatory Board’s warning about video piracy. Both films featured video pirates.

In Rekorder, a former cameraman named Maven (Ronnie Quizon) dabbles in illicit recording of films shown in movie theatres. Using an old video camcorder, he partners with a teenaged boy while doggedly capturing on tape the movie Manila Skies (Himpapawid).

One night, after barely eluding several security guards, he stumbles onto a lynching of a young man on the streets. Instinctively, he records the incident and captures the fatal shooting of the lad. He agonizes later on whether to share the contents of the tape to the police. 

Rekorder is a mature, skillful piece of work dealing with loneliness, grief, and world-wearied apathy. I can’t believe that a 21-year old directed this film. Well, the genes may have something to do with it. His father, Raymond Red, at the young age of 17 years, dealt with the heavy subject of immortality in the classic short feature, Ang Magpakailanman.

Mikhail Red had a fantastic scene showing a wasted young lady vomiting. A male friend, instead of lending a hand, records the incident on his cellphone. He is no different from the documentary filmmaker in Himala, who recorded the rape of Elsa. The video pirate Maven also had several bouts of indifference to crimes. It took some time for him to eschew his apathetic behavior.

Unlike most New Breed films that are obviously stretched, the film's pacing and running time is just right. There is just one scene though that needs some modification. Three people as witnesses may have sufficed for the crowd scene during the street lynching. A dozen people lined up as witnesses are just too neat. A large number of people may congregate after but not during a brutal street beating.

No comments:

Post a Comment