Wednesday, August 8, 2018


August 8, 2018

Teresa and Celso are an elderly couple living contentedly together for 27 years. They enjoy weekly visits from their respective adult children from previous marriages: Celso's daughter Marissa and Tere's son, Chito. Later, we realize that Tere and Celso were actually not legally married yet, and Bene, a lonely old man living alone in his big old house, was the reason why. One day from out of the blue, Bene called Tere up for her help, she still agreed to his unexpected request.

The film told a big message about forgiveness, moving on, and achieving closure. There was rich drama for sure, but it was never heavy-handed melodrama. There was enough gentle homespun humor to cleanse the palate. The main characters were likable and relatable, played effectively by its triumvirate of veteran senior actors with remarkable restraint and dignity. 

Dante Rivero played Bene as a hollow shell of man with no apparent reason to continue living. But as his end approached, he swallowed his pride to ask a big favor from someone he hurt majorly in the past. Perla Bautista played Tere as an opinionated woman who spoke her mind about things she did not like. However, when someone from her past humbly asked for her help, she still went out of her way to provide care. 

Menggie Cobarrubias was a joy to watch playing the kind and understanding Celso, Tere's current significant other. He may have loved Tere deeply, but he did not seem to mind sharing the woman he loved with someone who needed her attention more. Cobarrubias' Celso is a most positive person we'd all like to be on our side in times of trouble. Featured in smaller roles were Romnick Sarmenta as Tere's bitterly aggrieved son Chito, and Che Ramos as Celso's long-suffering daughter Marissa. 

Another big plus was the haunting camera and lighting work by cinematographer Neil Daza. As you can see in the poster, Daza played with light and dark so skillfully, everything, including Bene's creaky ancient house of stone, wood and capiz windows, looked beautiful and sentimental. Those long shots of streets, either straight on or from a car's side mirror all had a sense of foreboding in them. The titular sunset at the end was spectacular. 

Directed by Carlo Enciso Catu from a script (in Tagalog and Kapampangan) by John Carlo Pacala, the story subtly unfolded with a series of small revelations about the characters and their relationships. You cannot predict what was going to happen next and that kept your attention rapt despite the deliberately slow burn pace of the storytelling, given the geriatric nature of the tale being told. 8/10. 

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