Friday, November 3, 2017

“Four Days’’ Movie Review: A Gay Love Story Inside The Up Campus That Happens On Four Valentine's Days

“FOUR DAYS” is a gay love story from writer-director Adolf Alix, who has done this kind of romance between two men before in “Daybreak” (2010) with Coco Martin and Paolo Rivero, and “Muli” (2010) with Sid Lucero and Cogie Domingo. This time, the stars are Mikoy Morales as Mark and Sebastian Castro (an admitted gay) as Derek.

The story is set mainly inside the narrow confines of their dorm room within the UP Campus and the title refers to four different Valentine Days in their lives, something like “Same Time, Next Year”. On the first day, Mark moves in just as Derek is romancing his girlfriend (Hazel Faith de la Cruz.) The second day a year later, Derek has a new girlfriend (Stephanie Sol) and Mark has realized he has feelings for his roommate and tries to drown his feelings of isolation while swimming in the campus pool.

The third day after another year shows Derek crying after his breakup with yet another girlfriend. Mark tries to console him. They already have a relationship and Mark is angry because when Derek’s mom (Rosanna Roces) come for a visit, Derek doesn’t introduce him to her as his boyfriend. He’s sick and tired of their relationship just hidden within the walls of their dorm room.



Unlike “Daybreak” and “Muli” that have graphic homosexual love scenes (especially those between Coco and Paolo), this one doesn’t show any sensual lovemaking between two men. We heard it was shot for only two days with a small budget, so the film has a short running time.
When it was released theatrically in Trinoma, it was paired with Adolf’s short film that appears like a one-act play, “Kinabukasan”, featuring Alden Richards as a young man whose mom (Rosanna Roces) left him for a lesbian affair with Nora Aunor.

Despite its brevity, “Four Days” is quite tedious to watch with its slow pacing and long drawn out “tuhog” scenes with the camera just stationary in one corner and the characters delivering long long lines of dialogue. You can feel the padding to stretch out the thin material. The story is told from the point of view of Mark, who narrates it, and this makes it very personal as he shares his own deepest feelings with the viewer.

The problem is we don’t really know anything else about his personal life and we don’t see his romantic relationship with Derek being developed in a more credible manner because of the elliptical way the narrative unfolds. It gets quite difficult to sympathize or make any emotional connection with characters when we are not given much chance to get to really know them well.

In his narration, Mark pedantically quotes passages from French and Japanese sources to help indicate his feelings about unrequited love, while endless aerial drone shots shows the lush foliage of verdant trees and the top of various buildings inside the UP Campus. If you’re from UP, no doubt you’d appreciate all the familiar sights. And despite all the angst and heartbreaks portrayed, the film, just like “Muli”, does not have a sad ending.

What we like most about the film is Mikoy Morales’ persuasive portrayal of the plain looking Mark. If we didn’t know he’s been on with “Protege” colleague Thea Tolentino for some years, we’d suspect he’s really a closeted gay. We’ve noticed that he’s quite talented since we saw him playing a short but significant role as the son of a murdered journalist in “Hustisya” with Nora Aunor.

His voice over job about his feelings is just perfect and his very committed acting captures all the right emotions of his character especially when he finally pours his heart out in his very emotional scene with Derek that felt so real. This guy is really talented as he also sang and composed the film’s original theme song, “Pusong Hindi Makatulog”.

Sebastian Castro gives adequate support in the more restrained, reserved role of Derek, a guy who has had various women in his life, but realizes he can also harbor feelings for a man and yet is reluctant to leave his comfort zone. Sebastian just did a similarly effective supporting role as a gay professor in “Barboys”.

Well, we guess that his coming out gave him some sort of stigma and it couldn’t be helped that he’s now always signed gay roles in his film projects. This is exactly what happened to another actor who came out, Prince Estefan. So should we be surprised that other actors with similar proclivities would prefer to stay hiding inside their own closets rather than lose their careers?

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