Ruined Heart: Another Love Story Between a Criminal and a Whore is “punk” filmmaker, Filipino poet/artist, Khavn’s latest cinematic venture. Featuring Christopher Doyle’s cinematography, which is of course breathtaking, and a fabulous array of music on the soundtrack, Ruined Hearts proves to definitely be just another love story between two unfortunates.
It certainly makes for an interesting viewing. Our leads are helpfully introduced to us one by one, before the film begins, each stepping up to the camera in turn. With Asano Tadanobu as The Criminal and Nathalia Acevedo as The Whore, Khavn takes us deep into the slums of Manila, telling an episodic, non-linear story as The Criminal and The Whore begin their doomed relationship. It’s a well-worn story; The Criminal falls in love with The GodFather’s woman and the two run away together. It doesn’t end well but Khavn’s uniqueness makes even this cliché interesting.
The film has almost no dialogue, and what little there is is un-subtitled, leaving the characters’ actions and expressions, along with the lyrics of various songs to move along and tell the story. It’s a bold strategy but, unfortunately, it makes the film hard to follow at times – it’s left up to the viewer to piece together a story out of episodic snatches they’re given and with so little to go on it is difficult.
Nonetheless, the two leads are exceptional, each forming a solid character solely through their gestures and developing a bizarrely sweet relationship.
Ultimately, though Ruined Heart feels more like a film to be experienced than to be watched for any narrative value. As a visual, artistic experience, Ruined Hearts is top notch, fast-paced and jaw-droppingly beautiful, even the violence is made to look artistic. But those seeking a more traditional film experience may be disappointed.
Ruined Heart does not yet have a UK release date. This is part of the Sonic competition in the 59th London Film Festival.
Watch the trailer for Ruined Hearts here: