by Heinrich Domingo
Back in 2013 to 2014, Philippine cinema had a myriad of stories on infidelity and third parties. The viewers, at that time, were receptive of plots set in patriarchal environments decorated with beautiful mistresses. In this cockfight featuring spiteful women willing to strike anytime, the Filipino bettors choose the character who delivers the ‘bitchiest’ line accompanied by the hardest slap.
It was undeniably a heyday for the mainstream film industry in the country. Big production houses such as Star Cinema and Viva Records have once again mined a valuable mineral that can be sold forever. The supply is infinite and the consumers are with endless appetite. Or so they thought. The showing of The Love Affair in cinemas this month proved that narratives of infidels have reached their point of exhaustion. They are at this point revolting.
The Love Affair banks on its casting of well-seasoned actors and actresses. From Richard Gomez (Vince) and Dawn Zulueta’s (Tricia) proven chemistry to Bea Alonzo’s (Adie) acting prowess, film characters were given depth and definition. We say this not as a commendation but as recognition of movie companies’ desperation to sell. Their lack of understanding on cinema made them think that casts’ popularity can mask the emptiness of story-line. In which case, we highly disapprove.
At the backdrop of this film, one can see attempts to present new perspectives. Marital cheating was initiated by a woman and versions of the story were presented using both lenses of the husband and wife. For a patriarchal society like the Philippines, this effort could have made a difference. Yet, as the plot is unraveled, it was revealed that all are but efforts to justify unfaithfulness of parties. The movie, despite having an agency to alter the movie paradigm, chose to be a disappointment just like many of the mainstream films today.
The script and the cinematography were not helpful either. Unnecessary vulgar words were repeated in an apparent attempt to heighten the fiery exchange of lines between the wife and the mistress – an element that has become a prerequisite in an infidelity movie. Statements intended to be cheesy came out as repulsive. Camera shots seem to have been made hastily, giving a hint that the filmmakers were beating a nearing deadline. For a critic, the film could have undergone multiple revisions before it was released in cinemas.
All the film’s mistakes could be forgiven if it was experimental and innovative. But for the likes of The Love Affair, which stands on a big boulder of proven formula, infidelity story without a well-thought storyline is at the very least an insult to the Filipino intellect.
Do you agree with our review? Share us your thoughts through putting comments below. Cinephiles unite!