REEL DEAL: Unfriend Highlights Same Sex Love and the Power of Social Media

Not so long ago, a 13-year old boy killed his boyfriend then killed himself inside a mall. The video was uploaded on popular social media and became viral. This became a sort of crusade for indie film director Joselito Altarejos who promised himself he would do something about it to show people how this new technology has so affected our lives, both in a negative and a positive way.

Now, Director Altarejos film Unfriend, which took the Berlin film festival by storm, takes viewers on a nightmarish journey with the film’s principal character David, jilted by his lover just before Christmas, to turn to the screens of his mobile phone, iPad and computer in a desperate attempt to extend his affair with his 17-year old love, Jonathan. Altarejos masterfully relates a gay teenager’s heartbreak and obsession with the social media and makes for a grappling tale of how the Internet can drive fragile minds into a dangerous world. As David’s phone calls, text messages and Skype calls go unanswered, he becomes more and more detached from reality and wanders through the crowds and chaos of Manila with a fatal plan forming in his head.

The film Unfriend vividly portrays life in the Philippines, where poverty forces millions to work abroad, and cheap phones and free WiFi make social media all-pervasive. It has a universal message in showing the perils that the ready availability of unfiltered information online can hold for young people-putting them in touch with shady characters and online materials instructing them how to commit suicide, assemble bombs or commit crimes, and an infinite variety of self-destructive topics.

Unfriend boasts of a mixture of veteran and upcoming actors in the persons of Ms. Boots Anson Roa, Sandino Martin and Angelo Ilagan. It is distributed by Solar Entertainment Corporation. Showing on February 26, 2014 at your favorite theaters. 

by Emy Abuan

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