“'Jay' is big, bold and brash, fulfilling the documentary potentials of digital filmmaking while providing a cutting critique of the technology itself... The title refers to both victim and victimizer, providing a striking conceit on the Janus-faced quality of reality. The movie shows that the immediacy of broadcast reportage is achieved at the cost of privacy-raiding, emotional blackmail, naked manipulation, a writer’s self-indulgence, and blatant sensationalism... Baron Geisler shows both genuine humanity and utter repulsiveness. It is this potent combination that makes him so riveting. The other actors--Flor Salanga as the mother and Coco Martin as the ex-lover--deliver very competent performances.” -- “Cinemalaya breaks out of the mold,” by Lito Zulueta, Philippine Daily Inquirer (He served as juror in the 2008 Cinemalaya, together with actor-producer Cesar Montano, French film critic Max Tessier, Pusan Film Festival program director Kim Ji-Seok, and Berlinale programmer Ansgar Vogt.)
“There's no doubt that it heralds a distinctive new voice in Filipino movies... [A] lacerating satire on the 'ethics' of contemporary TV production but also a wry reflection on the kind of images of the 'Third World' that are produced for the delectation of the rest of us. Sharp, smart and very, very dark.” -- Tony Rayns, The London Times/BFI 52nd London Film Festival
My own take: “Spare, deadpan, brutally hilarious, 'Jay' comments on--nay, eviscerates--the sheer artificiality and untruth of so-called reality television. And it does so without raising a voice--rather, without its darn good lead actor, Baron Geisler, doing so. This precise, economical performance becomes the unblinking insider’s eye that gives viewers a peek at the fraudulent myth-making created for our tawdry consumption... Pasion’s script is sharp, subtle, complex and thought-provoking, playing with and rearranging our notions of illusion and reality right up to the last frame. At its most inspired, specifically in the scenes of a wake in a barrio, 'Jay' is howlingly funny, yet also piercingly discerning... While '100' is the more accomplished work overall, 'Jay' fulfills Cinemalaya’s indie aesthetic more forcefully, from its subject matter to its tone, treatment and execution. It shows the way forward, if you will, for other works that strain at the limits and ask the hard questions.”
Francis Xavier Pasion's Jay, Cinemalaya 2008 Best Picture winner, opens uncut today in select SM Cinemas (SM North, Megamall, Southmall, MOA, Fairview, San Lazaro, Manila, Sta. Mesa, Cebu, Davao, Pampanga, Clark). You HAVE to see this film.
PLUS: Mr. Pasion is interviewed live by the BBC during the London Film Festival, here. And Jessica Zafra is giving away Jay-related prizes, here.