Tag Archives: Alessandra de Rossi

tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘12’ is a Lengthy Conversation that Doesn’t Really Go Anywhere

Alessandra de Rossi’s writing debut is about a breakup that’s taking too long to happen

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12 tells the story of Erica and Antonio (Alessandra de Rossi and Ivan Padilla), who are at odds with each other at the onset of the movie. Antonio has just proposed, but Erica, feeling stifled and listless in their relationship, doesn’t give him a yes. The film then largely takes place the day after, where the two are forced to deal with the fallout of her response, all their emotional baggage brought out into the open as they explore and argue over all the things that went wrong in their relationship.

So the film stays with the characters in the present while they argue about all manner of things, but it occasionally cut back to little scenes from the past that elaborate on the rift that grew between the couple. Or rather, elaborate on the increasingly bad behavior of Antonio, who turns out to be a pretty awful person. He’s moody, controlling, temperamental and prone to stumbling home drunk. The film firmly picks a side in this conflict, Antonio pretty much written to be a complete child in the guise of an adult man, basically keeping Erica a prisoner in her own home, his ego consuming the entirety of her identity.

This makes a lot of the movie pretty insufferable to sit through. The more we learn about Antonio’s weaknesses, the more we see of his bad behavior, the more unreasonable it seems that Erica stuck around for so long. The movie doesn’t invest much in showing the good parts of their coupling. There are a few scenes here and there, but it never really makes much of a case for what is being lost in their parting. And so, in the scenes set in the present, it starts to feel silly that Erica doesn’t just walk out, and that she continues to entertain the abuse of this apparently bipolar monster. And then the film goes on to add a strange layer of sentiment to the toxicity in which these two characters seem inured.

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In fact, the way things play out, the movie seems to be actively taking away the agency of Erica in this regard, making her completely incapable of just leaving under her own volition. It’s a real thematic problem, because her freedom, up to the very end, seems contingent on the choices of Antonio. It isn’t so much about a woman taking back her identity, but a man being chastised enough into finally granting the woman a measure of her own power. Stilted dialogue only serves to make things worse. Characters tend to speak in labored idioms that just don’t feel real.

Alessandra de Rossi plays the lead of this film, but she is also credited as the writer. If nothing else, the material does feel personal, and her familiarity with it allows for a performance that feels heartfelt even in moments that don’t quite ring true. Less successful in this movie is Ivan Padilla, who isn’t at all convincing while depicting the couple’s few happier moments, and only becomes less engaging once the character gets into darker emotions. To be fair, the character is written really badly, but even so, Padilla is unable to make any part of this performance appealing.

12 really tests one’s patience. And it isn’t just because it’s a movie that pretty much two people talking in one location for the entirety of its runtime. Conversation can be compelling, of course, and there are truly gripping movies that do the same. But the content and the context of these conversations matter. Content-wise, the film feels trite and tedious. And in terms of context, the film doesn’t make it feel like all this talk should be happening at all. Erica should be walking off into the sunset, into a happier life without the permission of the man who made her so miserable.

12 IS NOW SHOWING IN CINEMAS.
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Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.
tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘Kita Kita’ Can Get Iffy, But Its Strengths Are Evident

Strong filmmaking helps mitigate a few problems inherent with this romantic film’s premise.

NBHD movie 3-2 ticketsKita Kita is Lea (Alessandra de Rossi), who is a Filipina working in Japan as a tour guide. At the start of the film, she’s looking forward to finally tying the knot with her Japanese fiancee, but then discovers that he’s been cheating on her. To make things worse, she suddenly loses her ability to see. She convalesces in her home, resigning herself to a rather lonely existence. But that’s when her neighbor Tonyo (Empoy Marquez) introduces himself to her. Tonyo seems determined to break Lea out of her funk, giving her food and taking her out, and trying to push past her resistance to finding any sort of happiness in her predicament.Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 8.16.02 PMThere’s more, but it’s better to avoid the details for now. Suffice it to say that not everything is completely as it seems, the film at times playing fast and loose with the timeline to achieve a very specific effect. But for the most part, this really just the story of a persistent suitor; of a well-meaning young man who approaches a brokenhearted woman and tries to be there for her. There are problems inherent to this premise, but there is a gentleness to this film that lets it skate by the expected discomfort. It is thoughtful and patient, the film giving its characters space to build something real.Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 8.07.21 PMHaving said that, the stuff that the film chooses to romanticize can still feel iffy. All the film’s sweetness doesn’t completely erase an overall tendency to portray borderline creepy behavior as the foundation for a love story. The film is best when it just allows the characters to talk frankly about who they are and what they’ve been through. There is resonance in how these characters speak of their lives in this far-off land, away from their families, looking for any sort of connection that might make them feel a little less lonely. The film builds a context where heartbreak is amplified, because these characters, no matter suited they might be to living abroad, still aren’t home.Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 8.05.55 PMAnd that’s smart, but it doesn’t entirely excuse where the movie goes. There are still points where what the film plays as infatuation comes off as strange obsession. There are bits where Tonyo’s efforts might feel like overreach. The film tells its story well, employing clever little structuring tricks that create interesting parallels between its two main characters. But there are just these moments where it all becomes a little questionable, playing into fantasies that in real life would be much harder to swallow.Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 8.08.15 PMThere’s plenty of skill on display, though. Skilled direction allows the film to shift seamlessly between silly little jokes and much heavier moments. The production design gives the film distinct personality. The more questionable aspects of the story are also mitigated somewhat by the two leads. Alessandra de Rossi brings an interesting edge to her character, the heartbreak conveyed with greater ennui than your average starlet. And Empoy Marquez just doesn’t bring an ounce of malice to the role, which helps out a lot. The contrast between the two tells a story in itself, and there’s real merit in that.Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 8.21.10 PMThe strengths of Kita Kita are clearly evident. Its weaknesses are obscured somewhat, but they’re there. And any objections to some of the behavior of these characters would be completely understandable. But if you can get past that, it ends up being a pretty sweet film about two people who just didn’t give up on each other. Issues aside, there is genuine skill on display, the film handling emotions big and small, building palpable romance in its smaller moments of kindness.

KITA KITA OPENS ON JULY 19 IN CINEMAS NATIONWIDE.
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Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.
tv + film by Philbert Dy

The Wandering ‘Sakaling Hindi Makarating’ Finds Beauty in Being Lost

Though aimless, the movie captures the joys of taking an unexpected detour.

NBHD movie 3-2 ticketsSakaling Hindi Makarating puts us into the headspace of Cielo (Alessandra de Rossi), a young woman who has retreated from the world following the bitter end of her engagement. Then one day, she receives a bunch of hand painted postcards in the mail, each one depicting some idyllic scene from somewhere in the Philippines, and bearing a message of loss and heartbreak. With only the vaguest suspicions of who they could be from, she sets out on a journey to find the places these postcards were sent from, hoping to find something that might quell her heartbreak.Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 11.12.50 AM

What follows isn’t exactly a love story. The postcards serve as a catalyst for several of the characters we encounter in this film. There is Cielo, of course, who is finally able to leave the confines of the empty home that she’s made for herself. There’s her neighbor Paul (Pepe Herrera), who is also on the verge of something new and scary. And later on, we encounter a young girl whose coming-of-age if faciliated by the discovery of these postcards. There is somewhat of a mystery to solve, and some hearts that are drawn to each other, but in the end the film’s aimlessness proves to be its defining quality.Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 11.13.09 AMThe appeal of such aimlessness might be questionable to some viewers, but it really is in the most disconnected moments that this film delivers its odd bits of magic. Cielo encounters a series of quirky characters in her journey, each of them providing odd bits of wisdom that never really directly address the soul of her problems. In doing so, the film captures something strange and vital about travel. We may set out on a trip with a particular goal in mind, and a set itinerary that will get us to where we want to go. But the true joy in exploration may come from the digressions.Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 11.15.56 AM

This is the feeling that the film runs on. It is certainly tough to capture on screen, and the film isn’t always successful, but there are worthy bits in it that recreate the joy of being lost for a little bit, far away from everything that concerns, and meeting someone whose life experiences are completely different. The movie does a good job of expressing the different personalities of these places, whether through the characters, the scenery, or just the general vibe in the scene.Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 11.14.01 AMThe conclusions it arrives at aren’t the most profound, the final answers aren’t altogether satisfying, but getting there is a pleasure. There’s a lot of smart filmmaking in here. The way the flashbacks are stitched together, for example, with just glimpses of small moments arriving in an avalanche of emotion. The cinematography is luscious, taking full advantage of all the terrific, varied scenery this nation has to offer. The acting is uniformly great, with Alessandra de Rossi, Pepe Herrera, and Therese Malvar often filling in the emotional blanks when the script threatens to wander into triteness.Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 11.12.32 AMSakaling Hindi Makarating similarly took a long, and circuitous journey to making it inside cinemas. It’s one of those scripts that floated between festivals, before finally finding a home in Cinefilipino. Despite its buzz, it arrives in commercial cinemas nearly a year later, with only the occasional special engagements breaking up its stretches of absence. And now it is here, and it is still as flawed and aimless and love as it was nearly a year ago. It’s still worth the look.

SAKALING HINDI MAKARATING IS NOW SHOWING IN CINEMAS NATIONWIDE.
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Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.