“An ill-fated couple must face and find the resolution to their own destinies.”
Philipines based romantic drama Chasing Fire (website here), written and directed by Brian Patrick Lim, revolves around a young woman Kristen (Anthea Murfet) who falls for a musician Shane (Richard Herrera). Both of them are dealing with problems of their own – she with an aggressive, possibly abusive boyfriend and an overbearing mother, and he with a criminal gang who are demanding money.
When the two meet it doesn’t take long for a romance to develop and their lives to become entangled. A revelation fairly early in the film, however, throws an unexpected complication to the proceedings as they find themselves in a moral dilemma. The sombre pace helps to build the sense of impending catastrophe, although at times Chasing Fire seems to be less about the story and more about the style, with the music and the cinematography setting the slightly downbeat mood. Due to be released online on Vimeo on Demand on the 23rd of October, Chasing Fire is certainly handsomely shot, with a lot of care having gone into the lighting, colouring and composition of each scene.
It’s difficult to talk about the story without revealing the dilemma that forms the central narrative. Suffice it to say that the lovers are dealt a bad hand on top of the other problems they already have, and the thought of fleeing together to see the world is never far from their minds. Poetic and lyrical rather than plot driven, the story is punctuated with moments of danger and sudden violence.
Although some of the dialogue occasionally falls flat, Chasing Fire by and large works within the parameters that the filmmakers set themselves. The two sidekick friends and the mother are well characterized, helping to overcome an initial indifference to the Incredibly Good Looking leads – who appear to live in an advertising/music video inspired slick world. With those criticisms to one side, Chasing Fire does conclude in a surprising way, with the romanticism of the first half supplanted by an unexpected and melancholic ending.
Winner of the Barcelona International Film Festival best screenplay, Chasing Fire is a slightly unusual and off-beat indie drama that has been carefully shot, edited and scored and doesn’t go where you expect it to.
Dave is the Editor of TLFR and a freelance writer. As well as a guest on BBC radio and regular appearances on the television show Reel Review, he has written for The Guardian, We Got This Covered, the International Political Forum and more.