Friday, August 10, 2018

Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon


Despite not being married, Teresa (Perla Bautista) and Celso (Menggie Cobarrubias) have been living in a blissful union for more than two decades now. Her son Chito (Romnick Sarmienta) visits them from time to time and they share stories about their respective lives over food and coffee. Bene (Dante Rivero), on the other hand, has been living a life of solitude in Pampanga since his wife left him more than twenty years ago. He keeps himself busy with daily trips to the ring where he bets on cockfights. One afternoon, he does not make it home and collapses in the middle of the street. As news of his condition reaches Teresa, she decides to go back to Pampanga after a long while to take care of him. Celso ends up joining her and together the three of them try to make his last remaining days as memorable as possible.

Aww, old people. Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon often revels in silence, conveying its message through the power of unadulterated subtlety. Forgiveness is the central theme of the narrative, with the theme of moving on being ever so prevalent as the characters deal with their own set of intertwining dilemmas in life. It’s touching when you think about the premise, yet the setup also yields a lot of funny interactions and petty banter that can be so juvenile despite the age of the people involved.

Bautista gets to portray a role that is a little more upbeat than the usual grandma roles that she gets nowadays. Here, the grandma is not just the side character. Instead, the whole story is anchored on her. Cobarrubias offers solid support as the competitive live-in partner who feels obliged to compete with the legal husband. As for Rivero, he can be the main antagonist story-wise but he is not a baddie at all, but rather a broken soul seeking redemption at the twilight of his life.

In terms of symbolism and imagery, the movie begins with the view of a house caving in, consuming all the furniture under its roof as chaos ensues. It can be interpreted in so many different ways. It can be the relationship that just did not work out. It can be Bene’s health and even state of his mind, or even both. It can also be the deconstruction of their unusual setup in the face of impending decay. The film could have used more of this, but the decision to focus more on tangible emotions is not that bad either.

The narrative derives its comedy from mundane everyday stuff, from pubes on shared soap to TV recipes that do not translate well to real life dishes. Of course, when the trio begin their wholesome adventures, you get to witness an interplay of overlapping themes. Tolerance. Friendship. Forgiveness. Acceptance. What starts off as awkward and funny becomes poignant and endearing, which gives the culmination of the plot a more emotional impact despite the subdued approach of the director. Less is more, indeed.

Compared to the other senior citizen entry, Mamang, Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon benefits from its more interactive approach to old age, as opposed to the isolationist stance of the former. Instead of focusing on mental deterioration, you have three oldies who decide to face the challenges of old age in a fun and collaborative manner, a beautiful reminder that at the end of your life what truly matters is the collection of relationships you have established with people around you, including those you have hurt or have hurt you before.

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