​Every Room Is A Planet (Malay Javier, 2016)

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White hallways. Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. A city skyline at night, seen through a condominium unit’s glass panel walls. Antoinette Taus’s solid, sexy woman’s back. Quark Henares wearing goggles coming out of the bathroom. I’m enumerating stored images–residue-memory of this animal-structure of a film–Every Room Is A Planet. It has, at its center, its most captivating energy buttressed by one breathtaking song–a capsule of a short romance you think, after all those weirdness before and after it, is impossible to happen. But despite the movie’s general  disjointedness in terms of plot, there are elements that hook scenes: binary codes that come and go like a silent film’s intertitles, a sound design that’s appropriately eerie. And tolerable except for that instance of loud volume which must have cracked my eardrums, the time that milkwhite-skinned actress, probably with Polish blood, screams with the violence of pulled bound set of knives with edges scraping the bathroom tiles, and that same sound, overdubbed with the grumbling voices of demons. Those many edged pains were unleashed after the woman was reminded of her missing husband whom she believes had been abducted by aliens. 

That woman, Yannie (Valeen Montenegro), is neither stranger nor extremely different from the other cast of characters. Elly (Rap Fernandez) looks like an apathetic Japanese who is bored initially with his visits to his sick sister-in-law. Ms. Taus as the psychiatrist Dr. Cara hides, in her icelike mien in public and in her sexually stimulating voice inflections, what could be her feline, kinky, little, wild animal version under the sheets. Pinky Amador as the mother of Elly acts like a mental patient herself, who must be waiting for an antenna to grow, out through her skull through a sliding opening lid on her forehead to reveal a hole.

Early on, we search and wait for logical and emotional connections in the story. The waiting is too much, too long to handle for a time–that some airplane thrust levers appear on the sides of my seat enticing me to pull them up to eject and propel me out of the theater. I’ve seen a few members of the audience dart into the bathroom compartment to take quick breaks from what could be a prolonged nauseating filmic turbulence. Then the narrative haze and din clear up thankfully, after we see Elly and then Yannie watch a video. At that point, the director must have received our telepathic messages saying that we have begun to relate to his work. We feel the characters’ helplessness. We recall that brief tryst and we wish a couple to live happily ever after. 

When we think that things have finally normalized, the characters become perturbed again. A ‘ghost’ resurfaces. And then, finally, we must go away like Elly who sports the same apathetic look as when the movie started. This time though we can see and feel a thin layer of pain on his face. He must be wishing for things not to turn out ‘normal’ like before, which is really him being consumed with jealousy for sometime as we later would infer–the man victorious in keeping probably this desire to murder someone to himself. 

Every Room is a Planet gives us a deep space ride. It is a unique exploration of relationships and it takes time to be fully grasped. When you’re forgiving and strong enough to withstand the movie’s puzzles and peculiarities, you’ll find yourself rewarded in the end.

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