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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2020

entry arrow10:00 AM | The Film Meme No. 67

[67th of 100]. As far as I know, we will forever be drawn to selecting particular loyalties in a peculiar division of a love story: Are you Team Basha? Or Team Popoy? [On the other hand, the renegades among us will probably claim themselves for Team Trisha. As I do, to be honest. Maja Salvador's character is a saint and still gets the short end of the stick.] As far as pop culture goes, this is a strange development for a love story that actually ends happily; why pit the movie's love interests against each other? The quick answer is that it hit the zeitgeist, and crystallized for many Filipinos the contemporary struggles of staying in a loving relationship while heeding the challenges of the real world as experienced by Filipinos. [By 2019, we were still considering the nuances of these social realities in Hello, Love, Goodbye, essentially the 2007 film's spiritual sequel, sharing the same director and screenwriter.] The story as a kind of "war between the sexes" also allows us to weigh the culpability of each party in the breakup that is the movie's emotional centerpiece: Popoy is too controlling, and takes Basha for granted in the patronising way he mistakes for being a knight in shining armour, but he is also kind and works hard for their dreams; Basha feels stifled, and is blind to the kindness of her man, but she deserves to find her place in the world. Some days I understand where Popoy is coming from, and some days I feel the tight discontent in Basha's inner being. [Most days, I shout at Trisha to stay away because she deserves so much better than being collateral damage in two people's love wars.] But Cathy Garcia-Molina, who's a journey-woman director capable of churning out movies steeped in the ABS-CBN house style, managed to create something that spoke to many Filipinos in a very fundamental way that the only word capable of encompassing the result is "magic." The response from audiences was electric, and continues to be so. The film came out in its year more or less packaged as just one of those romantic dramas from the entertainment factory of Star Cinema -- and I doubt they had an idea the phenomenon the film would engender, breaking through the already strong fan base of its two stars, John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo, and becoming a hit cutting through demographics and social classes, and then becoming a solid cultural touchstone, and then becoming something even college classes often take up as part of some curriculum or other. It would spawn a novelization, and then a sequel -- but the original has remained untouchable. I've watched the film countless times, and it still remains a solid piece of popular entertainment. It has preserved the magnetic performances of its leads as well as their undeniable chemistry. And it has given us the eternal quotes we've come to glean from the screenplay by Vanessa R. Valdez and Carmi Raymundo: “I hate the things that make you hurt and how I wish I could take them away, if only it could be done, I’d do it for sure.” “Sana ako pa rin...ako na lang...ako na lang ulit.” “Baka kaya tayo iniiwan ng mga taong mahal natin kasi baka merong bagong darating na mas okay. Na mas mamahalin tayo, yung taong hindi tayo sasaktan at paaasahin. Yung nag iisang taong mag tatama ng mali sa buhay natin.” “She had me at my worst. You had me at my best. Pero binaliwala mo ang lahat...and you chose to break my heart.” Bring out the tissues! What's the film?

For the introduction to this meme, read here.

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