By By Pablo A. Tariman
In the realm of the flesh according to Eduardo Roy, Jr.
posted 28-Aug-2019  ·  
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Kokoy de Santos and Joyce Cabrera pose in the poster of their Cinemalaya film.

F#*@BOIS -- the latest film of Eduardo Roy, Jr.-- again assaults the senses with a lot of skin exposures for the lead stars.

Even its title (sanitized for general audiences) is unpronounceable to the prudes and conservative leading not a few cineastes to prematurely conclude that the film is just another journey into the realm of the senses.

But when it opened to film audiences of Cinemalaya at the CCP August 4, the initial shock turned to awe and wonder and finally, a calm admiration that the writer-director has in fact other profound things in mind other than to strip his lead stars.

The story of two friends played by Royce Cabrera and Kokoy de Santos looks like another normal work-a-day chronicle of male bikini contestants out to win a few cash prizes for their dog-eat-dog survival. But when their trade practices are used to blackmail, the film acquires a suspenseful turn as the lead characters grapple with their social media predicament. They maybe sex workers on the side but they cannot endure being feasted on in the video circuit. In their mind, what would their friends and close relatives say?

Meanwhile, they are fair game on what the small-town politician (played brilliantly by Ricky Davao) wants. They agree to the lurid rituals that begin with taking drugs and then a swift descent into the pit of sexual depredations. Through it all, you see the excessive use of power to lure victims from lower ranks of society.

When the ritual is done and they come to terms with what they have done to get even with their tormentors, the film evolves into a stunning parable of evil.

Like it or not, it has echoes of Brocka’s Stardoom and Bernal's Pagdating Sa Dulo, among others.\

The story happened in a recently concluded elections and the mayor played by the versatile Ricky Davao might as well epitomize the traditional brand of politicians torn in between their own personal demons and an insatiable greed for power.

And what young aspiring stars put up with to realize their showbiz aspirations!

As it is, F#*@BOIS turns out to be a powerful film beyond those skin exposures.

Roy has the enviable ability to portray both heroes and villains in his story for what they are. He leaves it to his audiences to judge.

As writer-director, Roy has an exceptional depth and an uncanny way of fleshing out his story beyond the merely predictable.

As for his actors, Cabrera and Santos came up with a natural portrayal certainly worthy of an award.

But Davao as the town mayor -- known in the cell directory as Britanny --is made of extraordinary stuff. His acting has the force and precision of an eagle swooping down on his victims.  I tell you, the line, “Come to Mommah” will never be the same again after this latest Eduardo Roy film.

F#*@BOIS is one of my top three entries in the recently concluded Cinemalaya film fest.

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