daybreak is a story of love, lust, longing and lost. focusing on the final hours in the forbidden love between a married doctor and a boatman, the film is definitely an odd selection to watch during this valentine's.
the story was pretty simple. william, the doctor, is having an affair with jp, his lover. yet due to personal obligations, william has to finally choose between the two people who lay claim to his heart, a choice made upon daybreak.
gay love has been an interesting theme for many indie films nowadays. probably thanks to ang lee's "brokeback mountain" and to many of its counterparts, not only are gay-oriented films more widely accepted and even critical recognized, but more so, the subject between same sex relationships have surpassed the notion that such topics are taboo. proves to show that we are evolving into a society that is more tolerant in our attitude and more liberal in our thinking. though i am glad of this direction, i still however have my reservations, particularly as to how such liberties are handled.
daybreak offered in it a genuine story of the travails of love in its purest form. a thought so profound that a master is needed to bring it about into action. adding to the difficulty of the theme is that gay love brings with it a whole new dynamic. the film had many good points. it allowed people to see the lives of gay men and address the issues that plagues them, hopefully concluding that in the end, love is love, irregardless of its "players". coco martin's portrayal as jp gave justice to the boatman's simplicity. his outlook, his mindset, his behavior, all the manifestations of a man who loves because of love. interestingly also, though shot as if a continuous account of the events leading to daybreak, the film often breaks into shots of seemingly random and unrelated scenes, something that i could only explain as the director's way of describing the characters' sense of uncertainty, doubt and trepidation.
an almost beautiful work, the film however still sustained quite some misses. paolo rivera as william was very weak in conveying the inner conflict the character was going through. since william was the story's primary proponent, i would have expected that the actor to play him would be able to address this very important point. rivera's acting felt distant, disconnected and at some parts, labored and fake. having intimate scenes with the more sincere martin made rivera's mediocre performance even more apparent.
i also thought that the "love scenes" felt odd and almost detached from the central emotion of the film. rather than exhibitions of intense passion, the scenes seemingly dealt more on the carnality of the act. torrid kisses and anal sex doesn't always equate to love making, most especially anal sex that is physically impossible given the positions they were in (i apologize, anatomy was my favorite subject back in med school). i was mostly disappointed when the characters were supposed to be having their "break-up sex" wherein there was a failed attempt to convey a sense of urgency, almost a desperation to remember the moment as it was their last.
overall, daybreak comes out as a pass, though not really with flying colors, but a pass nonetheless. the brevity of the film keeps one engaged throughout and the highly focused plot helped to keep viewers from peripheral subplots that could potentially become a distraction. it was successful in airing out the complications of an extra-marital affair with the added "feature" of the characters living double lives. a slice-of-life film, daybreak will hopefully serve as an eye opener to people about homosexuality and that in the end, we all love and hurt the same way.
daybreak is showing at the UP diliman, cine adarna from feb. 13 to feb 14 with screening times of 3/5 and 7pm. its regular screening will start on february 20-26 at the robinson’s place IndieSine, then on february 26-narch 4 at robinson’s place - ermita, followed by its robinson’s bacolod run on march 5-11.