the more the desire,
the more the secrets,
the more they remain the same...
story: ed lejano
screenplay: ed lejano & lye candelaria
Finalist, Film Academy of the
Scriptwriting Competition 2005
copyright december 2004
An intricate tale of passion in the tradition of the controversial hit "Basic
Instinct", the film “Seroks” centers on a woman whose mysterious allure follows a trail of mystery for the
men who desire her. A trail that sometimes lead to a tragic end...
This psychological thriller unfolds in a pattern of duplicating elements
that the film's title refers to as it reflects the contradictory notion of what is real and what is not.
Set in the vibrant district of Recto, the story begins on a rainy night as Mina
is shown looking for a place to rent. A man who has been following her sneaks into a room that she is inspecting. She comes
face to face with the man and he suddenly pulls her in towards him. Without a single word being exchanged, Mina gives in to
his amorous advances as they get locked into a passionate embrace, sprawling on the floor of the vacant room.
Mina is on the run having fled the condominium unit she had been
sharing with her rich businessman lover. His sudden, mysterious death has forced her to be like a fugitive, her actions in
the aftermath of his death questionable, her future totally uncertain. Mina feels lost, leaving her vulnerable to any man
who desire her. One of them is Lito.
Lito is a xerox operator in a printing shop called Seroks who lives below the boarding house where Mina has taken refuge. He gets drawn to the enigmatic charms of
Mina whom he secretly observes from his room downstairs.
Soon the two discover a bond, both having been away from their families and sharing
a common grief from unexpected tragedies that each of them have recently experienced.
Events unravel from Mina's mysterious past that prevent Lito from
pursuing his attraction for her. Things spin out of control as Mina, and later Lito, get involved in a complex web of desire,
misfortune and betrayal.
The story of Lito and Mina is complemented by a range of characters
who vivify the story's motif and theme: Joaquin, the owner of the printing shop
which will soon close down; Bon, a town mate of Mina who brings her on the brink
of prostitution; Lyka, a recurring character perpetually dressed in a colegiala's
uniform who "steals" Mina's identity; Fortune Serrano, the estranged wife of Angelo
Serrano who is Mina's recently-deceased lover; Simon, a peddler of pirated vcd's
who meets an ironic destiny in a video aptly entitled "The Recto Scandal"; and Clara,
Lito's mute co-worker, who becomes a silent witness to the unfolding drama of common hopes and failed dreams.
A sudden emergency involving his father forces Lito to go home to his province and this keeps him temporarily away
from Mina. While he is gone, Mina encounters Bon, the shady bouncer of a girlie club called Paradiso.
Bon has discovered something about Mina, who may or may not have something to do with the sudden death of her lover,
Angelo. He knows why she is in hiding and uses it as blackmail to make her do things against her will.
Soon Mina is left without a choice and unwittingly falls into a trap where she becomes offered as payment for a debt
that Bon owes his boss, Charlie, the owner of Club Paradiso.
Lito returns to Manila to discover that Mina has now become the latest mistress of Charlie and he realizes how powerless
he is to win her back…
One of the film's highlights occurs
near the end where Lito, bloodied and bruised, makes love to Mina for the first and only time. They knock down everything
around the shop including a xerox machine that runs incessantly and the two become engulfed by piles and piles of printed
Lito wakes up the next morning to discover Mina having disappeared without any explanation.
In a fit of paranoia and depression, Lito's vision gets blurred by a flashing light like that of a whirring xerox machine.
Soon he finds himself on a building rooftop and jumps over the ledge twelve floors below.
The film climaxes with the revelation of surprising plot twists that seals the fates
of its different characters. Lito’s ill-fated destiny, it turns out, unravels a common experience befalling the men
who become Mina's lovers.
What is revealed at this point is how the men who love Mina fall into a pattern of accidents. What has happened to
her deceased lover and now, to Lito, affirms Mina’s destiny as an object of desire…with a curse.
The other revelation is how Lito’s “accident” is mirrored by a past experience like that of his suicidal
father. Betrayal and misfortune then are the dual legacies that father and son share in pursuit of their passions.
The films comes full circle with a final twist in its voiceover narration,
much like that of "Y Tu Mama Tambien", where intertwining events and identities
have all become... "xeroxed".
A richly textured drama where desire converges with grief and betrayal, where what
is hidden merges with the dangerous, “Seroks” breaks new ground as a contemporary Filipino thriller in the tradition
of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
This tale of individuals leading lives on a downward spiral left to fend for themselves in the absence of their families
puts a new spin to the thriller genre, Pinoy style. Riding on the current wave of the Asian horror/thriller phenomenon, the
Filipino reinvention of the thriller has certainly long been overdue.
Set amidst contemporary realities of urban alienation, forgery and piracy as it tackles
the nature of identities, whether genuine or fake as a theme...this is the intriguing world of "Seroks".
Character List & Proposed Casting:
mid 20s; charmingly simple w/ rugged good looks;
xerox operator in duplication shop in Recto
mid 20s; unconsciously seductive & sexy; the mysterious
tenant at the boarding room above Lito's room
late 20s; wears thick makeup & likes to dress
an SM salesgirl uniform; a recurring cross-dressing character
a big secret, she has a boyfriend named Rajid
- late 20s; well-built & loves good times;
Lito's best friend who sells pirated dvd's in a
late 40s, wears glasses; owner of duplication shop
late 20s; muscular; bouncer at a place called
Club & lives in his old car; he had
Mina way back in Bicol
- early 30s; chinito-looking & macho;
owner of Club Paradise; he becomes Mina's new lover in the end
- 18; quiet & unobtrusive, like a wallflower; the mute
janitress in the Seroks shop
- late 30s; Lyka's Indian boyfriend who sells jewelry;
after finding out Lyka's big secret
- early 40s; sophisticated & somewhat off-balanced;
wife of the late Angelo Serrano
- early 40s; recently-deceased lover of Mina &
husband of Fortune Serrano
- late 40s; embittered & homely; Mina's aunt in Manila who
had driven Mina away from her house
- early 50s; Lito's handicapped father in Davao who uses
a wheelchair to move around due to a broken leg
early 20s; twin sisters who hook up one-time w/ Simon
Female Staff - late 20s; works in the recruitment
office where Mina & Lyka are applying for a job in Japan
- late 20s; plump & talkative; goes to Seroks shop to have ID picture taken by Joaquin
Foto-Me Girl - early 20, attendant in a Foto-Me booth in Recto
New Bouncer - early 30s; well-built; replaces Bon as bouncer in Paradiso Club
- late 20s; Simon's friend who recruits him to a new
- mid 30s,
he is the club patron in a cocktail lounge whom Lyka will meet in the end
2 Card Players - male, mid 30s; card players in Club Paradise; the two men will beat up Lito
near the end
a Lito's native dog given to him by Violy,
his girlfriend from Davao
Angela - new pet poodle of Fortune Serrano
tel: 9263640 (office)