HOW horrific would it be for one to lose the vibrance that keeps one's passion going, turning everything to black and white?
TV commercial director Mike Alcazaren's first full-length film "Puti" tells the intriguing and eerie story of a skilled forger-painter Amir Luna (Ian Veneracion) who suffered color blindness after a car accident with his son Jaime (Bryan Pagala), who is in a coma. The painter's forgeries were dealt by his dealer (Leo Rialp) to his rich buyers.
Jasmine Curtis-Smith also stars as the painter's apprentice Nika, while Lauren Young plays Ana, the nurse.
The story follows the strange happenings after Amir suffers a head injury that rendered him color blind.
"Puti" debuted in 2013 at the first CineFilipino Film Festival. A lot of movie critics were impressed with its rich and eerie visual story telling. The film garnered awards including Best Cinematography, Production and Sound Design. It was also awarded as Best Debut Film at the Young Critics Circle. The following year, it was selected to compete in the 32nd Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival.
“Puti,” despite its critical success, was not shown theatrically in the country, but instead shown at several universities and gallery screenings in the Philippines. It wasn't premiered nationwide because Alcazaren said some people weren't open to its spookiness and deep twist. But now, it will finally be given a commercial run under Cine Lokal, giving it a second chance in reaching a wider audience.
The film was inspired by Schubert's classical opera piece "The Erlking," a story of a father who rushed his sick son to a doctor on horseback. While riding through the woods, they encounter the Erkling, a malevolent spirit.
Alcazaren found the idea of facing death, and the relationship of father and son, quite riveting for a film. He wanted to explore the art forms between painting and cinema, allowing the audience to perceive different interpretations of the images presented before them.
One of its odd and intriguing scenes was the narration of the painter's art subject, an eyeless woman, of how her eyes were gouged out by her own mother when she was still young.
The film featured original paintings by Filipino artists. One of the most prominent is Geraldine Javier, a successful contemporary artist in the Philippines today. Works by CCP 13 Artists awardee Juan Alcazaren III, abstract painter Bernie Pacquing, Pam Celeridad and respected visual artist Roy Veneracion, father of lead star Ian, were also featured in the film.
The film has only five pages of dialogue, which created the challenge of telling a story through acting and visual story telling. The whole production team relished the challenge.
Veneracion said during the film's press conference that aside from the film's enthralling plot, the frames of each scene are like a subject for painting that is indeed visually appealing, thus, another reason for the people to watch.
With its picturesque scenes and a story that will give the audience a new perspective entirely, "Puti" will definitely feed one's art-thirsty soul.
"Puti" will be screened nationwide from Sept. 8 to 14 at eight SM Cinemas in Metro Manila, Iloilo and Cebu. (Angel Mae Bellita, USJ-R Intern)