• Seeing ‘Red’

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    Karen Kunawicz

    Karen Kunawicz

    Congratulations are in order to director Jay Abello and the cast and crew of his Cinema One Originals film, Red. With a screenplay by Jay Abello and Dwight Gaston, Red is part love story, part violent murder trail but all pretty much an ode to storytelling.

    Red is the tale of a Bacolod “urban legend” Red (Jericho Rosales)—an orphan boy informally adopted by a nightclub owner named Molo (Pepe Smith). Red later on grows up to be a “fixer.” Red is the man you call if you’re in trouble and need things, well, fixed.

    But can Red truly “fix” every situation he comes across and can he “fix” his personal life? Red is well directed, well shot and well written and despite having a several bloody scenes, it has the ability to be oddly tender. I suppose that “tenderness” comes from the fact it is set in Bacolod and there is a storyteller named Milton (Nico Antonio)—Red’s best friend and a radio voice talent for afternoon soaps—who ties together the string of stories about Red to listeners by a pool table in the central market.

    The listeners never tire of hearing stories about Red—about how he worked himself upwards, from helping out in Molo’s club to fixing things at the local Land Transportation Office, to being the city’s “hush hush” go-to guy. The listeners also gladly lap up highlights in the love story of Red and his childhood sweetheart, Mai.

    There is also another storyteller played by Dwight Gaston who starts off his versions of the “Red” stories too. Fact gets interspersed with gossip, fiction, and dramatic highlights. Put all that together then you get the legend that is Red.

    There are some fine performances there. Lead Jericho Rosales holds it steady; Nico Antonio in particular was a standout. Though the real estate agent character in very high heels with an American twang to end all twangs threw me off. I’m not quite sure why the actress was told to do that.

    Also of note is the scoring by Diego Mapa.

    I’ve seen three of Jay Abello’s four films: the comedy, Namets; the documentary, Pureza; and this. While he does gravitate towards his Ilonggo roots, he has shown himself capable of handling a variety of genres as a filmmaker.

    Red is part of the 2014 Cinema One Originals Festival. For screening schedules, log on to log on to www.facebook.com/Cinema1channel.

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