An ambitious and largely successful ensembler about a wealthy family dragged into the tragedies befalling its lower-class relatives.

An ambitious and largely successful ensembler about a wealthy family dragged into the tragedies befalling its lower-class relatives, “Blood Ties” reps a promising debut by helmer Kim Homer Cabaguio Garcia. Winner of an audience award at the Cinemalaya fest in Manila, this well-performed and absorbing microcosm of Filipino society only stumbles slightly with misfired shots of black comedy. Pic is a worthy fest addition with minor offshore tube potential; domestic release details are still pending.

Inspired by real events in rural Batangas, pic centers on Adore (Julio Diaz), the rich and influential patriarch of a large clan, whose members include schizophrenic nephew Caloy (Nico Antonio), and his tormentor brother Lito (Jerald Napoles). Already dealing with a family funeral and the impending nuptials of his niece, Desiree (Kathlyn Castillo), Adore sees his resources stretched to the limit when Caloy explodes into violence. Snowballing events on multiple fronts are nimbly edited to produce a high-impact finale that casts a jaundiced eye on how institutions like the law treat rich and poor differently. Intelligent approach is undercut slightly by an ill-fitting satirical commentary by servants in Adore’s employ. Tech credits are fine.

Blood Ties

Philippines

Production

A Cinemalaya Foundation, Quantum Film presentation in association with Film Development Council of the Philippines of a Quantum Film, Crimson Light production. (International sales: Quantum Film, Manila.) Produced by Joenathann Alandy, Kim Garcia. Executive producers, Josabeth Alonso, John Victor Tense. Directed, written by Kim Homer Cabaguio Garcia.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, widescreen, HD), Hermann Caravall; editor, Charliebebs Gohetia; music, Diwa De Leon; production designer, Petrick Franco. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (A Window on Asian Cinema), Oct. 11, 2006. (Also in Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.) Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Julio Diaz, Nico Antonio, Kathlyn Castillo, Jerald Napoles, Banaue Miclat, Ces Quesada, Racquel Villavicencio, Shamaine Buencamino, Soliman Cruz, Archie Adamos.
(Tagalog, English dialogue)

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