Friday, February 6, 2015

That Thing Called Tadhana (2015, Jadaone)

Director: Antoinette Jadaone
With: Angelica Panganiban, JM de Guzman

Glad that this got a nationwide release since I didn't catch this during the CinemaOne Originals festival last year. I am sort of shocked that people dug this since it's a talky film, but not so much since we Filipinos are hopeless romantics and one reason why this got raves is because this film is about, well not necessarily "love", but it's more of about "moving on". We are emos and most of us have been through that so it's definitely identifiable. I can see why people love this but I also know that this won't be received well by some. Aside from its subject, it didn't really expand to other areas so we're stuck with these two strangers whom we only found out their names at the end, talking about their exes and heartbreaks, trying to cope up and falling sort of in love with each other before fate surprises them with a twist. Many people have compared this to Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, and I guess, I can see why. It's talky, it involves beautiful places and it also involves two strangers embarking in a "journey". I also see it going the Before trilogy route with the help (or not) of Star Cinema. I say, Ms. Antoinette Jadaone, stick to your guns and don't let film companies hinder you to express your filled-with-profanity-and-realness feelings.

I'm amazed that I did not like it so much but I sort of understand why since I think the film really communicates more to those who just recently had a break up, or had exes they cannot forget. Yes, funny Angelica Panganiban and charming JM de Guzman have undeniable chemistry, and Jadaone's witty and inspired script earned a few chuckles from the audience but it's also a bit contrived sometimes, and some circumstances were exaggerated. Either that or I just didn't really connect with the film.

I do appreciate its value for intimacy though. The film focused only with these two characters, shot closely together most of the time and I found that cute. Uneven sometimes but it captured some pretty establishing shots of Manila, Baguio and Sagada that kind of redeems some of it's bad shots. It kind of made you want to travel along with those two characters and I find that pleasurable especially for a traveler like me.

Still, I don't think the film is about filmmaking. It's more about the message, and the story, and the journey and the feeling rather than the cinematography, or the acting, or the direction, or the writing. Just like how we should view One More Chance according to Angelica Panganiban's Mace. Plus, it's the love month and I think it's perfect for the season so don't think your money would be wasted if you watch this. I got relaxed, entertained and discovered a new talented scriptwriter and director in town. Yeah I know, this is my first Antoinette Jadaone film and I look forward to seeing more of her in the future. Her short story "The Arrow With The Heart Pierced Through It" is incredibly well written and some of the most interesting, heartfelt and original things I've seen in this film. Very impressive.