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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 12, 2022




“RELYEBO” is written and directed by Crisanto Aquino, with cult director Roman Perez Jr. as creative producer. 

Aquino’s previous film, “Write to Love”, got a lot of acclaim and won awards in the 2019 Metro-Manila Filmfest. 

He then did wholesome shows on GMA like “Regal Studio Presents” and “Raya Sirena”.  

“Relyebo” is totally different from his past film as it’s from Vivamax, which is synonymous with erotica. 

The lead character is Jimmy (Sean de Guzman), a security guard who is assigned in the night shift of an apartment building. 

With nothing much going on, he is able to familiarize himself with the daily activities of their tenants. 

He and the other guard Roman (Jeric Raval), who’s in charge of the day shift, are well acquainted with what’s going on in the lives of the people in their building.

To while his time away and amuse himself, he puts a label on some of them, such as Mr. K of unit 201, Ms. G of unit 402, Mrs. M of unit 501 and so on.  

The monotony of his routinary work perks up when a woman with striking red hair moves to a unit in the building.  

Jimmy labels this new sexy tenant as Ms. F, for Fantasy (Jela Cuenca.)  And he does start fantasizing about her. 

Jimmy is already in a good relationship with his loving common law wife, Amor (Christine Bermas), who works as a server in a pizza joint.  

They both come from the province and are trying their luck in the big city. 

Each morning, Amor eagerly waits for Jimmy to come home from work so they can make love before she herself leaves for her own job.  

She enjoys their lovemaking and they’re both jubilant when Amor becomes pregnant.

Miss F can sense when a man fantasizes about her. 

When there is a leak in the kitchen sink, she calls Jimmy for help and he finds out that she has a much older sugar daddy who often visits her.

The film is about the danger of not being contented with what you have. 

Jimmy cannot keep his mind off the red-haired Miss F and his fantasies about her might just come true.  But will it be worth it?    

“Relyebo” (the title is not appropriate for the story) is one of the best films to be shown on Vivamax. 

It’s a good example of very visual, finely nuanced storytelling. 

A lot of movies bank on big things happening on screen, but this one is a slow burn that concentrates on building up the characters without rushing the exposition. 

The camera focuses on the eyes, lips and small details and gestures of the characters.

Jimmy gets fascinated with the perfume used by Miss F so he finds out what it’s name is and buys it for Amor to wear it while they’re lovemaking, so he can imagine that it’s Miss F who’s with him in bed. 

The CCTV camera is also used ingeniously in forwarding the narrative, specially in revealing to Jimmy that his clandestine indiscretion is not so secret after all. 

In the end, the film is not just the usual sextravaganza that Vivamax churns out every week but a serious drama about infidelity, love, and forgiveness. 

Both Christine Bermas and Sean de Guzman give superlative performances, reflecting perfectly the arcs of their characters. 

They both manage to show that they can be credible actors and not just the sex objects they usually project on screen.  

Jela Cuenca has a limited role as Miss F but she is very  as the femme fatale who seduces Jimmy and later dumps him cruelly. 

We hope the film is a hit on Vivamax so they can give more assignments to writer-director Crisanto Aquino who’s definitely one reliable young filmmaker who knows his craft. 

His final sequence in the papaya plantation is quite a gem.