“Bikini Open” puts a number of serious issues into the limelight by twisting them into comic fun — the murky side of pageantry, TV, advertising, and media as a whole, in between the struggle for ratings, mileage, and fame.
Using HD camera blown up to 35mm film, this tightly budgeted cinematic offering turns out as a good watch.
As a commercial fare, “Bikini Open” works with a satirical vibe. Its premise remains culturally correct and aptly representing the larger scale of realism the story needs.
The film’s non-linear format provides a fitting treatment and motivation for the characters. The narrative flow makes a valuable distinction in presenting the visuals from each segment, which includes the documentary style part, the bikini pageant part, and the main story part. The presentation showcases stylistic and dynamic shots and angles with apt colors, grain, and overall look in all the right places. It effectively sets a clear difference in its storytelling flair compared to the overused formula utilized in many mainstream flicks with similar concept, theme, or story.
Cherry Pie Picache plays the role of a shrewd broadcast journalist pressured by ratings. Working as a typical media personality with that familiarly local female anchor tone, she is determined to maintain her industry position by covering a bikini contest in the most sensationalized manner possible. She runs through the most petty fights from backstage and even reveals the contestants’ lives in the most private parts of their homes.
This motion picture explores the ambition, exploitation, and cruelty in media and the powerful and influential people controlling the industry. The rich ones get things done their way and they are the perpetrators of the so-called “glitz and glamour” driving the craziest dreamers to do anything, at times even the most risky things. Meanwhile, people in the lower financial demographics find their own escape from oppression through media feeding their ego with false hopes.
With a well-written script coupled by fine direction and decent editing, the film provides a good tone for the narrative. It successfully showcases the various reasons for joining a bikini contest, as well as the various reasons for watching one.
The cinematic material parades a bikini contest situated in a comedy bar. The exposition of how the gay hosts enliven the bar with witty words and antics, plus the diversity of the audience, sets a culture of its own while inside this “gimik spot.” Although the place is quite small, the film actually shows an entire Philippines inside this setting. Whether in front of the stage or at the backstage, those involved in the comedy bar, those involved in the bikini contest, and those spectators enjoying the sight of flesh offer a slice-of-life look at the different types of people in the country.
The story depicts how media manipulates and exploits. It denotes the truth behind what really happens inside a comedy bar as each host enjoys the opportunity to hold the powerful mic and have some fun for themselves and their customers. Within that smoke-filled room of nicotine inhalers and alcohol gulpers, the bright and colorful lights suggest how the music can get the audience into the “beat” and the “heat” as the almost skyclad young hopefuls ramp their way in front.
Some acting performances deliver well for their characters, while others don’t live up to the best expectations. Some scenes, including that of Ricky Davao while trying to spoof a computer school sponsorship for the contest, suffer from out-of-sync audio. But as a whole, amidst some acting and technical flaws, the film still stands as a watchable satirical fare.
In deviating from the overused storytelling style within the sphere of mainstream filmmaking, which was especially rampant in local movies that proliferated during the 1990s, “Bikini Open” lives up to the risk of somewhat trying to break free from the long recycled and often exploitative system in the country’s commercially available sexy flicks.