United colors of ‘Ruined Heart’ | Inquirer Entertainment

United colors of ‘Ruined Heart’

Country’s entry in the Tokyo fest is truly an international undertaking
/ 08:00 AM October 17, 2014

TRUE collaborators (from left): Christopher Doyle,  Khavn de la Cruz and Tadanobu Asano shoot a scene in crazy, chaotic Manila. photo: ALBERT BANZON/KAMIAS OVERGROUND

TRUE collaborators (from right): Christopher Doyle, Khavn de la Cruz and Tadanobu Asano shoot a scene in crazy, chaotic Manila. photo: ALBERT BANZON/KAMIAS OVERGROUND

If ever there were a global Filipino film, Khavn de la Cruz’s “Ruined Heart: Another Love Story Between a Criminal and a Whore,” surely fits the bill.

De la Cruz describes his latest feature film, “It’s mainly a Filipino production, set in the Philippines, with a Hong Kong-based Australian cinematographer (Christopher Doyle), a Japanese actor (Tadanobu Asano), a Paris-based Mexican actress (Nathalia Acevedo), a Mumbai-based Russian-German actress (Elena Kazan), a sound designer from Berlin (Fabian Schmidt), a colorist from London (Adam Inglis) and a German coproducer (Stephan Holl).”


The international composition of this Filipino film’s cast and crew further underlines the shrinking nature of the global village.


Says De la Cruz, “It’s a small world after all. Film speaks a universal language, not limited by country or creed. Filmmaking is an alliance of tastes. We collaborate not because we hold the same passport, but because we share the same vision and energy. Cinema is the world.”


Not guns for hire

He is quick to point out that the members of his team “were not guns for hire. They were collaborators in the truest sense of the word.”

Some of them saw his past works—providing a gateway to collaboration.

De la Cruz recalls that he has been following Asano ever since he watched “Ichi the Killer.” Asano, for his part, saw De la Cruz’s award-winning film “Mondomanila.” So did Acevedo who loved “Mondomanila.”


As for the cinematographer who shot “In the Mood for Love”?

“I showed Christopher my Cinema One Originals film ‘Edsa XXX.’ After seeing all the fish-eye images, he thought it would be cool to wear a bayong (native bag) on his head,” he recalls.

De la Cruz says Doyle “sees Manila as a city of pastels: lived-in, crazy, chaotic.”

De la Cruz sums up his collaboration with Doyle as “a roller-coaster ride, an exhilarating experience. He’s a unique free spirit, with his own special way of working. Between takes, he can be a goofy storyteller; during takes, he’s a professional hitman.”

To cut down on costs, De la Cruz and Doyle “constructed our own set of lights.”

“Christopher is very innovative,” De la Cruz says. “He refuses to use a Steadicam. Instead he puts a big pillow on his stomach and rests his elbows on it, while holding the camera. He calls the pillow Steady Chang (chang means elephant in Thai and is a beer brand, too). I call it Steady Tiyan.”

With a Japanese superstar as lead actor, it is only fitting that “Ruined Heart” will have its premiere at the 27th Tokyo International Film Festival (Oct. 23 to 31), where it is competing in the main section.

Berlin short

Interestingly, “Ruined Heart” started its journey as a short film that competed in 2012 at the Berlin International Film Festival. “Even back then, I already envisioned it as a feature film,” he says.

It is hardly coincidental that “Ruined Heart” found a staunch champion in a German producer, Rapid Eye Movies.

De la Cruz explains that Rapid Eye Movies “is responsible for the Bollywood boom in Germany and the rest of Europe. It is also the German distributor for such Asian filmmakers as Takashi Miike, Kim Ki-duk, Takeshi Kitano and Park Chan-wook. I am lucky to call Stephan not just my producer and distributor, but also my friend.”

Meanwhile, color grading was done by the same expert behind “Sherlock Holmes,” “Atonement,” “Winter Sleep.” “Adam did beautiful work. I like bright, loud, shocking colors. It reflects the über-colorful soul of the Filipino.”

Completing the international flavor are the musicians behind the soundtrack. “Music is 1/4 of the film,” says De la Cruz. “Stereo Total, a French-German band, did the score with me.” The “exciting, eclectic soundtrack” will be released on limited edition vinyl soon.

Among the artists featured in the soundtrack are Australian singer-songwriter Scott Matthews, The Mabuhay Singers, Pete Canzon, Bing Austria and the Flippin’ Soul Stompers. “There are kundiman, punk, soul, French pop, pyschobilly songs, and even a kudyapi solo (by Tadanobu!).”

After Tokyo, next stops for “Ruined Heart” are Europe and Asia.

“Ruined Heart” will be shown in Germany, says the filmmaker, “since Berlin and Cologne supported the film’s post-production. The Korean premiere will be at the Puchon Fantastic Film Festival, where it got 10 million won (US$9,000), as prize for the Network of Asian Fantastic Films’ IT Project Award last year.”

Journey continues

The journey for De la Cruz himself continues. “I’ve been invited to teach at Bela Tarr’s Film Factory (in Sarajevo). There is also a retrospective of my films   in Croatia,” he says. “I will shoot ‘Mondomanila II’ in December and maybe a horror flick in Italy early next year. We’ll see. It’s important not to stop.”

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It is a never-ending struggle. “Someone predicted that the Philippine new wave was just a fad in the mid-2000s and that it would die by the end of that decade. Good thing he was wrong,” De la Cruz says.

TAGS: cinema, Khavn de la Cruz, Ruined Heart: Another Love Story Between a Criminal and a Whore

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