Sakaling 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.
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.The 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.
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.The 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.Sakaling 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.