As the Waves Subside As the Waves Subside

Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - September 12, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Young Cebuano filmmaker Don Gerardo Frasco recently treated his family and hometown friends to a peek of his movie “Waves.” The hour-and-a-half feature film was “his directorial debut in feature-length filmmaking,” according to the glossy flyers distributed at the Ayala Cinema 5 shortly before the screening on September 5. Don had formally trained in the art form, both here and abroad, and everybody waited in eager anticipation for the screen to light up.

The inaugural public showing of “Waves” had the trappings of a big movie premiere, no doubt. Cocktails were served, before guests – mostly of the city’s A-list – proceeded to the theater, striding on red carpet. Inside, additional equipment had been installed for the occasion, particularly a special light-and-sound set for the cast’s live appearance afterwards. Bags containing “Waves” collaterals waited at the seats.

Everything worked so far, especially in terms of raising the audience’s expectations.  Considering the comforts at the mall’s new digital theater, it was certain for the audience to be moved by the movie – if the whole experience ever came to that. And, true, many tried not to miss a single detail.

It didn’t need a serious film critic to notice certain things. The film was of a level of technical quality that gives it the right to stand equal with other such works from the cinema capitals of the world. Good sound, crisp picture. There was no denying that it had good filmmaking technology.

You would even think, at first, that some awkward aspects of the movie were actually intended or a matter of creative style. Until you began to feel that you could no longer hold your attention. The story was taking too long to move on; scenes were getting too laid out; it dragged on almost excruciatingly.

Now you noticed that the lead female character seemed contrived. You could not make out many of her spoken lines. She did not come across as real, even if perhaps her non-English accent was part of characterization. The superficiality of her acting also ate away at the lead male character, even as the actor had already proven his capability many times in other film projects.

There were times that you got a little disoriented in the cutting together of the scenes; continuity was a little frayed. But as it went on like that throughout the movie, again you thought it might be an intended style. Okay, but it was at least visually jolting.

The beautiful whale shark scenes felt out of place, initially. Although as you later tried to connect the dots in your head, it actually made sense. Being a Filipino viewer, you probably lacked the intellectual sophistication to immediately grasp such presentational technique. You probably needed to be a little bit more educated in modern cinema arts to appreciate it.

But really, you might insist, the whale sharks seemed like an afterthought. No, considering that the special effects surely cost some money, it must have been intended to be there from the very start of the production proceedings.

All told, “Waves” is merely a cluster of honey shots that do not make much of a movie.

People go to the movies basically to be entertained, to escape from the stressful or humdrum real life. They want to be taken away for a while. Better if the experience inside the movie house also moves them to some new realizations about the human life experience.

That did not happen with “Waves.” Someone, for sure, went home more bored than when he came. And that person might have had thought the film was not likely to make waves with audiences anywhere else.

What value, if any, does the film have? Again, the photography is good. And it gives the viewer a glimpse of the beautiful places to be found in the country. But it is not a tourism advertisement, mind you.

Overall, the filmmaker’s enthusiasm and passion in his craft is obvious. Not to mention his boldness to risk big, where he reportedly spent millions of personal money on “Waves.” For these reasons alone, he deserves support – from both the Cebuano public and local government. If he persists, Don Gerardo Frasco is sure to contribute to efforts of putting Cebu in the global map of cinema. (FREEMAN)

 

AYALA CINEMA CEBU CEBUANO CINEMA DON DON GERARDO FRASCO FILM MOVIE WAVES YOUNG CEBUANO
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