Wednesday, July 9, 2008

'When Love Begins'

One of the inevitable challenges of being away from home is the loneliness. Aside from the very tiresome job I have as a chook-minder, living in a secluded Australian township is really very difficult (who will put up a chicken farm just beside the Sydney Opera House, anyway?). I have to deal with the local TV shows (with low-budget, nagging advertisements) and the delayed broadcast of the American TV series after work until before bedtime that had made the movie Iron Man a very fantastic treat for me already! I admit, when I was still in the Philippines, watching movies in the malls was once my favourite past time during weekends. Both foreign and local movies (even if others might call these movies corny), I have no preference.

It’s good that Filipino population is gradually increasing here in the Yorke Peninsula. Recently, my workmate’s wife and two sons came to join us here in Port Wakefield—and to live with the chooks day and night (of course not inside the shed, we have our own decent accommodation in the farm). I am happy to have somebody who just arrived and update me about the Philippines ‘informally’ (I consider the Bandila news every 6:45am in SBS as my source of ‘formal’ information). I enjoyed browsing their lists of DVD’s and selecting Filipino movies that they’d intentionally included in their baggage. At last after 18 months of living in Australia, I have finally got a chance to watch a Filipino movie that was released after my departure!

A movie from Star Cinema and Viva Entertainment was my first choice, written and directed by Jose Javier Reyes, DGPI. I instantly missed my country because the first shot was the coconut trees, then the white sand in Boracay (which according to the movie, those sands are once sea shells—that were ground by nature into tiny bits and had started to build-up since millions of years ago)!

The cast, I reckon, was just nonchalantly but (it ended up) fairly selected. I can’t believe to see Anne Curtis (Michelle Valmonte) that beautiful and sexy, the last time I saw her acting was in her fantaserye* Kampanerang Kuba as Imang. Aga Mulach played as Ben Caballero, whose age is quite 'incompatible' with Curtis, but the writer-director Reyes have found the right story (by Kriz Gazmen) in this movie for them.

Somehow, I can call their story ‘love at first sight’. But it is the love with NO commitment, as these lovers apparently believe that passion is enough for their love to flourish. Michelle is a young, successful business woman, working with her dad’s (Christopher de Leon as Paul Valmonte) company is afraid to fall in love and to suffer the consequences just like what she had with her previous relationships. While Ben, whose one and only girlfriend broke up with him just a day before their wedding, is a lawyer by profession but had a traumatic experience with his job so he finally decided to help save the planet—an environmentalist. The two met in Boracay.

Just like other movies, their uncommitted love was as well challenged. It came to a point when Ben’s group have to make a stand to save Mother Nature against the housing project of the Michelle’s family. Michelle’s dad hates Ben, but Ben’s Mom (Boots Anson-Roa) likes Michelle. (Sorry, just read it again if it’s unclear.)

Once again it was proven that in love, age doesn’t matter and that no true love should be left uncommitted. Serendipity and destiny have also been highlighted in this film, and if we love somebody, here's what the script says, "you shouldn't only accept me for who I am, but you should also accept me for who I am not." Aga Mulach has once again shown his charms to create a beautiful love story, and Anne Curtis had definitely started to establish and should now be included in the list of leading ladies because of this movie.

There are English dialogues in the movie that had really made me smile because once again I heard that Filipino accent from others when speaking English (I’ve been hearing my own accent here for a while).

Though Ben has been called ‘Attorney’ by Michelle for three times, Mulach had failed to present even a little aura of being a lawyer in this movie. There were moments in the film when Curtis should show a more distinct emotion, especially her sadness and surprise, but the scenes were too short that it had never given her the chance to show it vividly. There was a very noticeable flaw in editing when Ben is convincing Michelle to join his family affair. Ben have uttered, “ I decided to meet you...” when he, supposedly, have to say, “ I decided that you should meet my family.” But these imperfections are nothing, because this movie has been very successful in carrying out its target to entertain the movie-goers and let them fall in love in a very different way!

The movie does not just touches a viewer with its love story, it also teaches the audience with its lessons. It emphasizes that each of us can do something to improve our world, and that we should always make things better in our own simple ways.

The cinematography is good enough to feature the real beauty of Boracay Island! I haven’t been there but now I can say that the famous island is, indeed, a ‘must see’ place. I wish I could visit Bora when I’ll take my holiday soon (so I can meet my own Michelle there)! For the guys, Anne Curtis and Desiree del Valle will never disappoint you in this movie! For the girls, Jon Mullaly, AJ Dee, Rafael Rosell and Aga Mulach will never let you down, as well.

For those who haven’t seen this movie yet, it’s not too late to feel the heat of summer! Watch it, and see When Love Begins.


fantaserye* - is a nickname for a Pilippine television series; literally, a fantasy series.

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