The John Lloyd Cruz-Bea Alonzo IG live wasn’t a promo, it was ‘The Unconfined Cinema’

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The John Lloyd Cruz-Bea Alonzo IG live wasn’t a promo, it was ‘The Unconfined Cinema’
'The Unconfined Cinema' explores a world where 'the line between reality and make-believe blur'

MANILA, Philippines – The Instagram Live featuring former on-screen partners Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz wasn’t a promo for a future project. It was, in fact, the project, it turns out. 

“The Unconfined Cinema was founded on the idea of exploring what else cinema could be, freeing our stories to be told outside of the traditional spaces and conceptual boundaries set by the last century of the medium. In this unprecedented time of quarantine, in a time when movie production is impossible, we found it especially pressing to find ways to tell our stories. Love Team is a love story – whether romantic or in its other forms – told entirely within Instagram. It is a story of our times,” said the project manifesto, which was posted by director and writer Antoinette Jadaone and John Lloyd himself on their respective Instagram accounts.

Jadaone, the mind behind modern Filipino romance classics such as That Thing Called Tadhana and Never Not Love You, wrote and directed Love Team.

Bea and John Lloyd, whose tandem dominated the 2000s, had gone live via Instagram on April 27, initially under the guise of Bea wanting to teach followers a recipe and later, finding the experience of going live via social media rather lonely. John Lloyd later joined the live, during which the two talked and teased each other about how well they know each other, Bea’s volunteering efforts, John Lloyd’s “pessimism” during the coronavirus pandemic, their most memorable movie lines, how they’ve known each other for so long, and how much they miss each other, until John Lloyd had to sign off to put his son, Elias, to sleep. 

“Love stories have always had their place in Filipino cinema, and we wanted to bring the feelings that those movies inspire to a platform that has become more relevant and utilised in this time of quarantine – social media, specifically Instagram. The use of social media creates all sorts of new possibilities for storytelling. This was a story told over two weeks, adapting and evolving to real-life events, integrating our genuine sentiments over the state that we’re in,” continued the project brief. 

Both Jadaone and John Lloyd earlier teased followers about a future project, noting that “any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is intentional.” “We are in a culture where the usually distinct line between reality and make-believe blur,” reads Unconfined Cinema’s brief. 

Love Team was produced by Erwin Romullo, Philbert Dy, and Dan Villegas. Villegas, a director and writer who also happens to be Jadaone’s real-life partner, had tuned in to Bea’s Instagram broadcast early on.  

Bea and John Lloyd were in a “love team” for several years, during which they starred in the TV series Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay and the now-iconic One More Chance. In the Philippines, popular actors and actresses are typically paired together and go on to star in several projects together. It’s not unusual for them to later come out as real-life couples. Whether it’s a genuine pairing or not is often fodder for gossip writers and their fans. The Bea-John Lloyd tandem didn’t translate into real-life, although the two had evidently remained friends through the years. 

Still, fans seem to have held on to hope that they’d end up together in real life, if the reaction to their Instagram performance was any indication. 

The project, of course, comes at a time when most are glued to their gadgets and social networking sites. Love Team went live just as Metro Manila entered its 6th week in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Unconfined Cinema ended its manifesto with an invitation for creatives “to join [them] in exploring the possibilities of our cinema… not just on Instagram, but on every stage imaginable.” –

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