Cine Reviews: ‘Sakaling Hindi Makarating’ (2016)

Yesterday was a Friday, but I had so much to do. Thankfully, I was able to tend to those “important matters” on time. It all resulted to me checking out some of the entries of this year’s CineFilipino Indie Film Festival. There were so many films worth checking out but  Ice Idanan’s Sakaling Hindi Makarating – a seemingly gorgeous movie that might just have something to it had just caught my attention. Before we start, the film goes like this:

“A series of mysterious hand-illustrated postcards take a young woman on a journey throughout the Philippines in search of its anonymous writer”

Now, let’s get on with it and start talking about Sakaling Hindi Makarating.

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Sakaling Hindi Makarating, being Idanan’s film debut could have been something quite special if it had been polished just a little bit more with a refreshing direction. It would have also helped if it decided to add a little more of that lovely spark to what it laid out on the table. It may have looked like your typical hugot-fest type of film, but thankfully it tried to avoid the tropes of its sub-genre. Its mere avoidance of those allowed it to take fairly excellent turns with each location the character jumps to. However, we could just feel that the filmmakers behind it could’ve easily bettered themselves. Sometimes, the turns that it took itself to looked like it was missing some touches to make it leave an impact on our emotions. Therefore, it is quite saddening just finding out that they took a supposedly reasonable dramatically moving idea and planted it someplace. Someplace where plainness was excited to pick it up and throw it in its basket to cook up something. Sadly, that something is just a simple yet somehow quite unsatisfying journey.

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Now that the flaws are stated, it’s time to move on to the goods. The story we are taken into had some quality to it. Like what I said, it isn’t too typical even if looks like such – yet it still is longing for a little improvement. Furthermore, the roads the narrative travels on are smooth but should’ve been even more so. At times, the pacing felt lost in the middle of sluggishness and it was like as if it was really reaching for something that it deeply desires in its incomplete heart. Fortunately it didn’t forget to pick it up and in turn, also offered more fascinating ideas that levels itself just a little higher. The same beats from typical romantic dramas are still walked on in a few steps, but you have just got to admire the wonders of photography and character emotions it all tried to pull off. To conclude the previous statement, I must say that the story was good. It was better and surprisingly different from what I expected it to be. Then again, I was appalled but at the same time I was also impressed. Seeing the characters interact and try to show off the best they could do was just so gleefully delighting. They were all fitting together, and being in the same adorable story let them shone in their own attractive ways. Enabling themselves to give the drive that the film needs.

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Certain charms got produced by Alessandra De Rossi and Therese Malvar. Each delivered “something” that let us continue to keep our eyes completely glued to the screen whenever they appear. On their own, they were amazing, but when put together they are just wonderful. De Rossi’s fun but still emotionally involving performance kept our desires to reach the end of her journey  become a little more enthusiastic. On her way we meet characters that makes our stay worthwhile. Most specially Pepe Herrera who made us laugh and feel even for just a bit. He was so pleasing to watch, and the bond he formed with De Rossi’s Cielo simply brought us joy. In these characters, the film’s themes are discovered but sadly, they were not in the fullest form. The destination that the narrative aspired to reach was a little too far since the efforts it exerted to get there simply  lacked the courage to do so.

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If it had pushed further, then it could have been more than what it ended up being. But in spite of all that, the experience becomes rewarding with the engaging scenery which got our eyes screaming out from the alluring photography that it saw onscreen. The vibrant colors popped out and it gave room for the film to breathe in the triumph of its visuals. Each frame was a wonder to marvel at, but they just don’t serve as distractions. They go well with the story, and served a relevance. Then again, that “relevance” needed to be deepened to hit all the right marks. Sure, the visuals are all good but they try to make up for a rather underwhelming execution of the rather potent ideas in its narrative. In the end, Sakaling Hindi Makarating is a good watch. It never kept our interest low, but it still could’ve kept it a notch higher. Nonetheless it is an exciting, fun, and emotion-filled escapist cinematic adventure that ties you into your seat for an hour or so to connect all the dots in the warm and wonderful expedition it takes you into.

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Sakaling Hindi Makarating is now showing in select Philippine cinemas nationwide as part of the CineFilipino 2016 Film Festival. Rated PG by the MTRCB.

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