by Stefano Ortiz
In this edition of PPP4 Spotlight, we will be covering Jason Paul Laxamana’s latest film, “He Who Is Without Sin.” Originally scheduled to make its premiere at the 2020 edition of the Sinag Maynila Independent Film Festival, Laxamana’s film is now slated as one of the PPP4 Premium Selection films, making its world premiere at the 4th Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) through the partnership between Sinag Maynila and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).
“He Who Is Without Sin” is one of three feature-length films from Sinag Maynila scheduled to screen under PPP4’s Premium Selection Section. In addition to Laxamana’s film, “The Highest Peak” by Arbi Barbarona and “Kintsugi” by Lawrence Fajardo will also screen at the PPP Main Feature Film Showcase beginning November 20. Access to these three premium films and more will be available for an early bird rate of PHP 450 until November 8.
“He Who Is Without Sin” writer-director Laxamana is an award-winning filmmaker whose past films “Bakwit Boys,” “The Day After Valentine’s,” and “100 Tula Para Kay Stella” have won the Audience Choice Award in the main competition section of past PPP festivals. In addition to his success at PPP, his film “Mercury is Mine” won the Special Jury Prize and Best Screenplay at the 2016 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.
In 2014, Laxamana received the New Wave Best Director Award at the Metro Manila Film Festival and the Best Feature Film Festival Prize at the Silk Road International Film Festival for his work on “Magkakabaung.” He also received a Best Original Screenplay nomination for his 2017 film “Instalado” at the 2018 FAMAS Awards. Both of these films will screen at PPP4 as well. “Magkakabaung” enters PPP4 under the From the Regions section while “Instalado” will screen under the Genre section.
“He Who Is Without Sin” (2020)
Directed by Jason Paul Laxamana
PPP4 Premium Selection Section
“He Who Is Without Sin” stars Elijah Canlas as Martin, a young broadcast journalism student who happens to meet Lawrence (played by Enzo Pineda), a well-known TV reporter whom he idolizes.
Martin encounters Lawrence while the reporter is doing a story on UFO appearances and interviewing people on the street.. The pair meet again later at a coffee shop and it is here where the story begins. The events that unfold during and after this coffee shop meeting begin to appear in various contradicting ways as Martin recounts them to different acquaintances.
What emerges from his retellings becomes a matter of psychological significance, as dark truths about an apparently positive experience unfold one after the other.
In these retellings, “He Who Is Without Sin” reveals itself as a psychological drama that at the same time brings into light questions about narrative truths and trauma. With such questions, a level of irony runs through the story imparted by the various characters’ involvements with careers in journalism and reporting.
Laxamana’s film, then, also asks: “How much can we accept a single story as true?” And “How much can we differentiate the telling of personal experience from the facts of an event?”
At the beginning of “He Who Is Without Sin,” Martin’s professor explains the importance of credibility when it comes to broadcast journalism. The audience expects the reporter, who delivers “truth,” to appear credible.
Therefore, a reporter must be well-presented, well-dressed, without tattoos or earrings, and blemish-free. But these are only appearances — Laxamana’s film urges us to delve deeper.
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