Black Ruby is the first film of the year to be shot with the iphone 7. The film follows two jazz musicians, Jules and Louis, struggling to create a hit song when an exotic black Hispanic escort persuades her way into their lives. Ruby played by the gorgeous Krystal E. Heredia quickly turns their friendship upside down causing violence and pushing the main actors Josepeh Mennella and Zachary Laoutides to the point of no return.
The film is an actor’s piece that is rare, dark and comical at times. Parts of the film move from black and white — in and out of its retro themed journey that explores abuse, race and religion. The studio Ave Fenix Pictures seems to be diversifying their films, embarking on distinct themes and yet at the same time still keeping their Latin and Chicago roots.
Los Angeles movie producer and actor Marius Iliescu starring in the film as the movie’s comical and unrated pimp (Vic) knows Ruby’s story better then anyone, “In Vic’s world the girl belongs to the pimp. This is not the case here, he desires her just as much as selling her to his clients. She’s fresh, young and exotic, enough reasons to be abused for saying ‘no.’ On the other hand, Jules and Louis attract her at a crossroad — an unexpected turn can give her a total different life perspective.”
Both actors Joseph Mennella and Zachary Laoutides give noteworthy performances playing polar-opposite parts, but yet a brotherhood bond we feel throughout the entire film. Mennella’s character of Jules is complicated blending a former boxer, jazz musician and a furniture salesman who likes to bet on street fights, “I was able to find the empathy with him — Being able to understand his desires, wounds and backstory made me able to embody this character truthfully. Black Ruby has literal and metaphorical meanings – Ruby is a black female that attracts the attention of both Jules and Louis, but it can also be looked at metaphorically because these two best friends covet the same treasure, which in the film is her heart — tearing both of their worlds apart.”
Equally challenged was screenwriter and actor Zachary Laoutides going for his third film to be released for a third year straight. If experimenting with the iphone 7 wasn’t risky enough his toned down hair, skin color and eyes was an ultimate gamble, but a defining character role worth taking, “I told Joseph straight up we wouldn’t get cast for this film. Our last film we were playing streetland gangsters and now we’re playing the piano – but I knew we had the depth to take the film to a different place; we could both connect with the characters and read beyond the lines. This is a film of subtlety and I’ve always known that to be our strength as actors.”
The big question is how does the film actually look being shot with the iphone 7 an idea pushed by Ave Fenix Pictures owner Monica Esmeralda Leon… Well, it looks great and to be honest the film actually looks aged making Black Ruby feel classical, “We wanted to change things up. We experimented with our last two films and things really paid off, so going about the screenplay artistically I sat down with Zachary and asked him what can we do different that hasn’t been done — We knew this was relatively new technology for feature filmmaking but we researched it and got hooked.”
Black Ruby will hit the film festival circuits this year and also look for UK composer Liam Williams who scored much of the film. This is one movie review we need to applaud that takes the artistic and technological risks. Black Ruby is a four-star piece in all categories from deep acting, profound music and hi-tech success.
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