'Bourne' hit for showing poverty in Manila

Posted at 08/06/2012 7:06 PM
Manila motorbike chase in "The Bourne Legacy."

MANILA, Philippines – Hollywood producer Pat Crowley defended his film “The Bourne Legacy” for showing the poverty in Metro Manila in the much-awaited action movie, which had its Asian premiere in the Philippines on Sunday.

During the star-studded premiere, not a few attendees were surprised that many of the scenes that were shot in Manila showed the metro’s poor communities.

But Crowley pointed out that this was part of the story of the movie.

“In every ‘Bourne’ movie, our characters have to hide somewhere, in the poor parts because it’s easier to hide there, they don’t ask questions. It's from the story point of view. We did the same thing in Moscow,’” he told ABS-CBN News.

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said he didn't feel insulted that the movie showed the poverty in Manila.

“Okay lang naman, 'yun naman ang reality, mayroon tayong mga squatters area 'di ba? In fairness to the President, he released P10 billion to the relocation of these areas, walang masama doon. Ang masama, mag-depict ng kasinungalingan,” Lim explained.

Crowley believes the movie's depiction of poverty will not negatively affect the opinion of international moviegoers about the country.

“I don’t think it will have any effect at all. It ends up beautifully and I think that’s what people will take away,” he said.

'Gritty, sweaty charm'

In ‘The Bourne Legacy,” secret agent Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) and virologist Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) go to Manila as they try to unmask a secret government project.

Reviewing the movie, filmmaker and critic Paul Daza wrote: "Manila’s role in 'The Bourne Legacy' is even bigger than the filmmakers let on; the movie’s entire third act is set in its streets, homes, alleyways, and rooftops."

"The crowded city’s gritty, sweaty charm has been captured wonderfully and honestly by cinematographer Robert Elswit, who lights Manila for the silver screen exactly the way we 'Manilans' see it for real every day and night," he added.

Daza, however, admitted that Manila wasn't depicted as a "beautiful" city in the movie.

"It’s hard to imagine foreigners watching 'The Bourne Legacy' and coming away thinking that Manila is a 'beautiful' city they’d like to visit, considering what’s shown of it in the movie," he wrote.

"'Legacy,' however, tries to balance things out by showing a lovely aerial shot of our gorgeous islands and emerald waters at one point in the story."

Apart from Manila, "The Bourne Legacy" also shot some scenes in picturesque El Nido, Palawan.

Red-carpet gala

Despite some grumblings about showing the country's poverty, Crowley said it was very heartwearming when the audience inside the cinema applauded when the Philippines was mentioned in the movie.

“Rachel (Weisz) goes ‘You can’t drive there, you have to go to Manila,’ and everybody broke into applause and I thought that was great,” he told ABS-CBN News.

Hollywood film “The Bourne Legacy” held its Asian premiere at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at the Resorts World Manila on Sunday.

The red carpet event was attended by a number of prominent personalities including actress Rica Peralejo, actor Raymond Gutierrez, celebrity stylist Liz Uy, ABS-CBN anchor Ces Drilon, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. – from a report by Ginger Conejero, ABS-CBN News