By KRIZIA MAICA G. MAGBITANG
JIMMY F. FLORES brings us a vivid exposure of marital life with his Palanca award-winning screenplay, Kulay Lila ang Gabi na Binudburan pa ng mga Bituin as it debuts on QCinema International Film Festival 2017. The film revolves around Aries (Jay Castillo) and Chai’s (Max Eigenmann) dysfunctional relationship and their plan to reconcile their differences by going on a couple’s retreat for three days and two nights. Evident in their rocky relationship is the seething jealousy both possess for each other’s past lovers; while Chai is still stuck on her old lover Tonyo (Raffy Alfonso), Aries’ desire for Giselle (Frida Monroe) whom he had a major crush on during his college years sparks anew ever since the news of her annulment reaches him.
The camerawork frequently consists of close up shots on the two spouses, giving the viewer an opportunity to scrutinize Chai’s incessant brow furrowing and Aries’ unending irritated look in each other’s company. Simultaneously, it renders confusion to the audience for its play on the surroundings with an imagery of the universe’s continuous exploding stars which seems to symbolize Aries and Chai’s violent collision every time they quarreled. A notable quality in the story is its ability to surprise the audience of what comes next. Revealed only later that their retreat is actually part of a “lucid dream program” the couple signed and paid for, its sci-fi elements places the audience in a new environment once Chai and Aries wakes up from their simulation.
There is an undeniable and vehement chemistry between Eigenmann and Castillo’s performance, but the attempt to delve further in the complex conflict between the two left the romantic aspect to lack substance. The couple’s constant inquiries of their love for each other in the film only turns their sentiments shallow and fails to fill the heart with any affectionate touch. Since their antagonistic side topples over any romance, the more they repress their feelings the harsher their fights become during the retreat.
The film’s slow paced manner of showing the couple’s “therapeutic” journey focuses more on physically confronting their issues rather than discussing it properly. Sexual tension weighs heavily around them, and even using each other’s bodies to satisfy the desire for their old flames did not suffice anymore. Eventually, the two succumb to their urges by departing to different simulated realities for Tonyo and Giselle’s passionate embrace. Numbing their conscience to justify their actions as a means for achieving closure from the past proved ironic. Instead of bearing a satiated face after their desire was sought, Aries and Chai possessed an unreadable expression, even their bodies seemed too fragile to touch.
Kulay Lila ang Gabi na Binudburan pa ng Mga Bituin’s ambiguous end leaves the viewer to wonder about the couple’s current state, their subdued temper and monotonous voice becomes a sense of defeat, as if they just surrendered to indifference out of exhaustion. Through Aries and Chai’s relationship, it resonates the universal message of marriage as hard work that requires effort and complete dedication. The film’s vague finale ties up to its unsatisfying resolution, but it also emphasizes to what will become of Aries and Chai. Were they truly able to salvage their relationship or was it beyond repair? Their future remains a big question mark and this continues to linger even after the credits roll. F