ABERYA (Philippines, 2012)
International Premiere
109 minutes, DCP, in Tagalog with English subtitles
Directed by: Christian Linaban
Starring: Mercedes Cabral, Will Devaughn, Iwa Moto, Nicholas Varela

Lourd is the champion boxer with a hedonistic nationalist’s new vision for the Philippines. Angel is the girl who scares him, the holy whore marked for death and on a mission from God. Eden is the ex-nanny with the Satanic sex tape who just wants to start over. Mike is the politician’s son who takes drugs (all of them named for Back to the Future – “DeLorean,” “McFly”) to travel through time, a self-styled “psychonaut” desperate to be reborn in fire. These are the things they do but they’re not where they’ve been, or where they’re about to go. The slender cosmic threads that bind these souls together are on an extradimensional collision course, and the fallout will tear them apart.

ABERYA (literally, “disruption” or “malfunction” from Tagalog) is a time-tripping, psychedelic acid noir following four overlapping stories in the seamy, steamy “Queen City” of the Philippines, Cebu. It’s the first feature from self-taught Filipino director Christian Linaban, who’s ready to do anything and everything to up his city and his country’s cinematic profile on the international stage, from crowdfunding his movie online to creating a gorgeous tie-in graphic novel. Utilizing a ragtag crew who work outside the slicker Manila film industry, his drive to tell his story by any means necessary infuses every frame of his film with a raw, pulsating indie spirit. The cutting is ragged, the lighting vividly garish, the garage band FX rough, ready, and utterly winning. The sum of its elements form an unholy alchemy that produces some the most immediate and vibrant cinema of the Philippines, like the crack baby love child of Aleister Crowley and Darren Aronofsky.

ABERYA is a bootleg green-screen head trip into the depths of a post-colonial hangover, a primal ritual song of people starved for love and salvation. It’s about a city just out of the jungle, still teetering on the existential high-wire between religious piety and primal savagery. Sex and the church, perversion and expiation consumes our four wanderers, whose obsessions with everything from the Stone Monkey Tribe to the Oracle of Delphi compel their every fated move. Choose your poison and make your choices, but remember that God is watching. In order to purge your sins, you must breathe in the cave fumes that show you the future and the past, and face the solarized drug phantoms of your shadow self.

Monday July 1, 1PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets

Part of Manila Chronicles: the New Filipino Cinema

ABERYA FULL TRAILER from Panumduman on Vimeo.