If you expect Ruined Heart – Another Love Story Between A Criminal & A Whore to be a typical love story between a criminal and a prostitute, you are mistaken. Khavn De La Cruz’s new film could almost pass for a musical with almost zero dialogue, just songs to tell the story, but there aren’t any choreographed dances. The 73-minute film starts with a presentation of the different characters and their relations to The Criminal (Tadanobu Asano): The Friend (Andre Fuertellano), The Lover (Elena Kazan), The Whore (Nathalia Acevedo) and The Pianist (director de la Cruz).
The musical score is a wonderful mix for the ears with songs in French, English, German and Tagalog. The theme song “Ruined Heart” is sung by the director and actors in many versions. There are many musical collaboration with different groups, including Berlin-based band Stereo Total, Bing Austria & the director’s band The Flippin’ Soul Stompers and the Mabuhay Singers. The cinematography is breathtaking with its dominant dark colours of blue. The use of a Go Pro camera adds a creative and fun touch to the story, adding some realism to the story.
The story itself doesn’t make much sense, other than The Criminal and The Whore running away together, trying to escape their previous lives. The few times when there is dialogue, The Criminal speaks Japanese. The rest of the time there’s music, poetry or background sound. And of course, there are some gore and sexually explicit scenes in a world of crime and prostitution.
Khavn De La Cruz (poet/filmmaker/artist) produced a beautiful dark film, which reflects the life within the slums of Manila. You will leave the theatre while mumbling the chorus of the song Ruined Heart: “Here’s my ruined heart, please take of it my love with your ruined hands.”
Ruined Heart had its Canadian premiere at Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinéma.