KUNG PAANO HINIHINTAY ANG DAPITHAPON
Written by John Carlo Pacala
Directed by Carlo Enciso Catu
I always look forward to Cinemalaya every year because this is the time to see new indies while reuniting with my cineaste friends. I started my Cinemalaya 2018 journey on a positive note because the first movie I saw on the very first day August 4, 2018 at 10:00 AM was Carlo Catu’s second film “Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon.” While waiting in line, Carlo, who I met a few years ago at a CCP screening of his outstanding debut film “Ari: My Life With A King,” approached me and greeted me warmly.
What makes a good movie? A good story. What makes an outstanding movie? A well-executed story. There is beauty in simplicity. Less is more. “Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon” is an unusual story about old people. If they were young, you might even call it a love triangle.
Teresa / Tetang / Tere (Perla Bautista) and Celso (Menggie Cobarrubias) are a couple who have been together for 27 years. We later find out that they are unmarried because Perla’s estranged husband Benedicto / Bene (Dante Rivero) with whom she has a son, Chito (Romnick Sarmenta), is still alive but dying of cancer. Celso, who is a pediatrician, also has a daughter, Marissa, from a previous relationship, who has her own marital problems with a philandering husband. One day, Tere receives a call from Bene asking her to visit him and, after much thought and upon the prodding of Celso, returns to the house they once shared and old memories come back.
I love movies which show people acting and behaving intelligently, controlling emotions and not resorting to hysterics so common in teleseryes and everyday life. We have here three old people who are confronted with the reality of life. For Bene, he is sick, old and dying and would like to be cared for. For Tere, she is loyal to her partner but still recognizes her husband as someone who was once a part of her life. For Celso, he is selfless, open-minded and considerate about the situation even if he has fears that Tere might reunite wth her estranged husband. It is really refreshing to see how educated people handle the complexities of life acting logically and rationally. We are faced with the need for companionship and nurturing in our old age. More than the thought of growing old, it is growing old alone and dying alone which we all fear.
The movie is indeed about love, companionship and forgiveness but it is also about honesty, acceptance and selflessness. Tere says she was always wondering what happened to her marriage and then one day she also realized she fell out of love. She says she is able to face her estranged husband because she does not love him anymore. There is no more love, but no hate just indifference. In his devotion to his partner, Celso goes the extra mile to help Bene even taking him out to the movies and assisting him with his medical needs. He is also there for Bene as a friend. Bene reaches out to his estranged son, Chito, who harbors ill feelings for being abandoned when he was a child. Despite an emotional conversation with his father, the act of visiting is already the supreme act of forgiveness.
Congratulations to Carlo Catu and team for bringing us this cinematic gem which lets us examine our own mortality with the thought that one day we will all grow old and long for companionship.
Scenes from the movie: (taken from the internet)
Gala Night of KPHAD on August 8, 2018 at the CCP Main Theater:
Top 4 Cinemalaya 2018 films:
Cinemalaya will run until August 12 at the CCP and Ayala Cinemas.