It did come with a warning. “Over the next weeks,” said an artcard posted on John Lloyd Cruz’s Instagram @dumpsitegallery last April 11, “we will be performing a work of fiction on Instagram. (It is a love story and it is about these times.) Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is intentional.”
And the day indeed came: last Sunday night, Bea was doing an IG live, pretending, or maybe really trying, to figure out how that darn thing worked. She starts out innocently enough with an intent to share a recipe or other, and then it proceeds to giving shoutouts to some of the people who had tuned in.
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After a while, who would join her in the live feed but her perennial screen partner, John Lloyd Cruz who, as it happens, seems also her friend in real life. Throughout the entire conversation, they exchange lines from their movies, talk about the world we live in and the times we find ourselves in. She giggles. He makes statements that make us cringe. He talks about his fears of raising a son in a world so violent. She answers with her belief that privilege is what makes us capable of doing good.
After a while, they hint at the crux of the entire exercise—who is the real John Lloyd and who is the real Bea? Is Bea also Basha? Is John Lloyd also Popoy? Do they all have the same sentiments? The same fears? Does it matter to their audience who want nothing more than to see them onscreen together?
Well, as John Lloyd has warned in his IG a couple of weeks back, it was all a performance. We were watching a John Lloyd and Bea production. It was an exercise spun from their script reading last February of Antoinette Jadaone’s script for That Thing Called Tadhana. In that Art Fair event, they read a screenplay originally written for them, while good naturedly touching on their personal romantic travails. Fact and fiction mixing, just as it did last Sunday—but instead of the Ayala Tower grounds, on the more accessible venue that is the Internet. It was cinema, yes, presented in a totally new form.
Anyway, here’s the statement posted by Dan Villegas on his social media account, and which also appears in @dumpsitegallery on Instagram.
The Unconfined Cinema was founded on the idea of exploring what else cinema could be, freeing our stories to be told outside of the traditional spaces and conceptual boundaries set by the last century of the medium. In this unprecedented time of quarantine, in a time when movie production is impossible, we found it especially pressing to find ways to tell our stories.
“Love Team” is a love story – whether romantic or in its other forms – told entirely within Instagram. It is a story of our times.
Love stories have always had their place in Filipino cinema, and we wanted to bring the feelings that those movies inspire to a platform that has become more relevant and utilised in this time of quarantine – social media, specifically Instagram. The use of social media creates all sorts of new possibilities for storytelling. This was a story told over two weeks, adapting and evolving to real-life events, integrating our genuine sentiments over the state that we’re in.
This is a platform where we all share little bits of ourselves. Through our images, this curated list of memories, we reveal what it is we want the rest of the world to see. Using the various features of Instagram, we attempted to tell a story of two people reconnecting in a trying time; separated by distance, but united in their memories.
We are in a culture where the usually distinct line between reality and make-believe blur. We started this story by stating that “any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is intentional.” And that remains true. It was the only way this was possible.
The Unconfined Cinema invites filmmakers and artists to join us in exploring the possibilities of our cinema. Not just on Instagram, but on every stage imaginable.