Directed by Remton Zuasola
Official Selection, 2015 San Sebastian Film Festival
A baby is kidnapped. The kidnappers are willing to negotiate but instead of cash they want the aggrieved parents to abduct the child of a close friend and arrange a swap. That’s the initial premise of Remton Zuasola’s impressive thriller, but as family and police scramble for a solution, it proves to be just the surface of much more sinister social fissures. Playing out in one impressive long take, this literal maze takes us through the traumatic family ordeal amid the backdrop of political turmoil in 1980s Philippines.
Navigating through director Remton Zuasola’s labyrinth should be complicated, especially since we are skipping feverishly across both time and space within a single shot. However, Zuasola’s deft camerawork and creative staging transitions seamlessly while still maintaining the high-stakes and tension the film requires. The technical feat is impressive on its own, but SWAP is no gimmick. It succeeds as an intense thriller that puts the viewer right in the middle of the action, while also revealing the perils of those continually haunted by larger governmental corruption. The film serves as a reminder that behind every drama are crimes that remain unseen. –James Paguyo
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