Gay meller shows a whole gaggle of friends and acquaintances discussing the central couple's relationship, but in the process pic gets away from the open emotionalism of the couple involved. DV-shot pic trades on home-movie intimacy rather than porn sleaze. Asian and gay fest life seems assured.

Gay meller shows a whole gaggle of friends and acquaintances discussing the central couple’s relationship (in answer to the oft repeated, all-consuming question “What do you think about Cris and Eric?”), but in the process pic gets away from the open emotionalism of the couple involved. Nonetheless, what helmer Cris Pablo’s “Doubt” lacks in “Happy Together”-type intensity, it nearly makes up for with its freewheeling look at Manila’s vital gay community. DV-shot pic trades on home-movie intimacy rather than porn sleaze, with artily fudged beachfront nudity thrown in for good measure. Asian and gay fest life seems assured.

Cris (Andoy Ranay), after some 4001 partners (a number arrived at by multiplying the days of year by the number of years he’s been cruising), tires of promiscuity and decides to settle down in a monogamous relationship with true love Eric. Though Eric claims to return Cris’ exclusive passion, the younger man rebels at Cris’ jealousy and need for control, screwing around on the side while vehemently denying it.

As Cris’ obsession strips him of pride and all perspective, friends and colleagues (he’s a respected documentary filmmaker) watch helplessly, all caught up in their own private mini-dramas which color their perception. Some pity Cris’ fall from grace, while others envy his grand passion.

Helmer Pablo has tempered his autobiographical soaper with healthy doses of interpersonal kitsch. Indeed, when Cris, driven by frustration and despair, attempts suicide, the viewer is treated to a seeming hallucination in the form of a media mockup of egocentricity: a swishy talkshow in garish candy colors where a battery of fey guests in spangly costumes is interviewed about the topic on everybody’s lips — what happened to Eric and Cris?

Lenser Alma dela Pena opts for a somewhat virulent spectrum of saturated color. However, film suffers from overall claustrophobia and seems short-changed by its limited number of locations.

Doubt

Philippines

Production

A Center for Restorative Justice in Asia presentation in association with Grupong Sinehan of a UP Cineastes' Studio and Grupong Sinehan production. Produced by Ray Fernandez Dorona, Cheryl Ching Sy, Rei Ching. Executive producer, Clarence America. Directed, written by Cris Pablo.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Alma dela Pena; editors, Pablo, Julian Quinto, Randy Elepanco; music, Isha, Quinto, Maria Chritine Muyco; sound, Dennis Arzago. Reviewed at Asian-American Film Festival, New York, July 21, 2004. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Andoy Ranay, Paolo Gabriel, Rey Oumaloy, Jojo Nones, Bel Clerigo, Amanda Virey, Buddy Caravat. (Tagalog, English dialogue)
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