Happiness is ambiguous; or we might as well say, fake. And if you’ve felt fake, faking, or been faked, the possibility that the happiness within you falls away is quite authentic to say the least. From the success of Heneral Luna, the extraordinarily imaginative Jerrold Tarog returns with his eerie psychological thriller film about an actress named Jane Ociega (Iza Calzado), who is barely hanging onto her fame, yet slowly falling into her own dark pit of existence.
It ascends in normality, with Jane being a burned out actress trying to crawl through her career and making it to the only dreamed out Cannes Film Festival, until a glitch on the set turns into a horrible accident changing her entire fate. It’s unimaginable to think how this film arrived at exactly the right moment and at the right generation wherein mental health is still being stigmatized, yet slowly being accepted nonetheless.
Internationally-acclaimed and award-winning actress Iza Calzado relentlessly breaks all the barriers—bold and godless—as she tingles those who are numb and destroys those who are unbreakable through her eyes and screams alone. Praise goes to TJ Trinidad and Ian Veneracion as well for being the men portraying the last attempt of hope and leaving us with the shadow of vulnerability creeping in until the end. Of course, let us not forget the underrated and unforgettable surprise, Adrienne Vergara, who gives a glimpse of both childhood trauma and adulthood paranoia, changing the entire symmetry of the film’s horror, leading us to a nightmare that we will never, ever forget. The execution of the raw emotion from the characters and the storyline itself manages to hold the viewers from the start and gradually delve them in a space of breathless thrill—no excess, no furthers, no rest.
The film’s utterly f—- up psychosexual narrative elevates the film’s distress alongside the socio-political context of the film exhibiting conundrums in the showbiz industry. The mental health perspective also subtly reminds viewers of that subjective struggles will kill us all, especially when the world refuses to accept and understand—believing weaknesses only make us dead. Besides the controversial and perplexing atmosphere, Bliss is utterly impeccable, especially once the twists have been unfolded and the irony of the film’s title will reveal itself.
Bridging the state of our reality and cognition, Bliss is undeniably a film for the decade—in its timeless context showing a wide array of possibilities throughout its entire plot, yet triumphantly exceeding everyone’s expectation to its core.