Hashtag, Why? (#Y Review)

2:04 AM

It is day 5 now of Cinemalaya and my curse meter from different characters in several films is approaching the millionth mark. I'm half exaggerating of course but I could use some air with a konyo talk. I was hoping to get a break in #Y.

#y cinemalaya movie review

Elmo Magalona as Miles is speaking in spontaneous English in the opening sequence of the film to lecture us about the "cool" aspects of suicide. Awkward I should say since he just came from the remake of Villa Quintana where he used the antiquated version of Tagalog. But #Y's konyo addition to this year's Cinemalaya roster is not mainly about the language of its young cast. It was also about how the film's socially-relevant narrative is transformed visually into a finished product that is comparable to an extended version of a TV ad. 

I saw the film jump from one playful camera style to another in almost the entirety of it. The retro shots and the glow-in-the-dark moments of the party scenes are understandable. The three-screen split in Kit Thompson's masturbation sequence and the second person effect in Elmo's sex scene were also creative. But when Elmo had a heart-to-heart talk with the imaginary character of Slater Young, the view slowly slid from one room to another. It was such a terrible timing to think out of the box. I was destructed. 

The coltish ways of #Y is expected. Young director Gino Santos headed an also young crew who thought of putting some of their adolescent experiences to the big screen. These fine people know how and when to use creativity I'm sure but might have went overboard with the challenge. Although refreshing, my best comparison to the film apart from an extended TV ad is a music video.

We've seen a lot of the kids-gone-wild themes but the retrofitting #Y made is the use of social media. Colleen Garcia and Sophie Albert's selfie was thrown in from nowhere at the start of their night out sequence. It was added obviously for kids to relate. Then there is Chynna Ortaleza's character, a representative at a life support center who offers basic counselling over the phone. True to its purpose, it was the light of the film which navigated through a sad journey and a sad ending. 

Elmo was OK but Kit Thompson, Colleen Garcia and Sophie Albert brought surprises. The stubbornness of Thompson's character Ping and Garcia's spunk as the outspoken Janna were defined. Albert, who effectively portrayed Lia's naive ways, also added to the collaboration of a non-sleazy young cast. But if we were to choose a standout, it would be Ortaleza who is dependable in being the film's sole outsider.

The reason for Miles multiple suicide attempts was never established. Or we can think about his mental state that's why his "brother", who is played by Slater Young, keeps on popping out in the scene. This, however, is among the many realities melded altogether by the film to mirror the youth's desires, curiosities and uncertainties. With this objective in mind and despite the obsession to wow its audience visually, #Y  maybe effective in communicating with the youth. 

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