Friday, January 31, 2014

Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita (Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, CineFilipino 2013 Best Picture)

Do you remember the time you met someone, and firmly believed that the two of you are meant for one another? If you do, then this film might interest you.

A pre-teen girl named Anita (Teri Malvar) sees a new face in her village. Right then and there, she proudly proclaims that the newcomer is the one she'll marry.

Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita takes a sunny look at first love. Several times, we see a giddy Anita imagining her love dancing in front of her. The beloved is happy, cheerful, and full of zest like a passionate horse. Even in a crowded place, the beloved's eyes are fixed only on her. The charming smiles are meant only for her. These scenes perfectly capture the romantic longings of a girl deeply in love.

It doesn't matter that the beloved's name is Pilar. It might be Mariel or Robin. It might be Marian or DingDong. It doesn't matter that Anita is in love with another girl. What matters is, of all the people she meets in the world, the beloved is the only one who makes her truly alive.

The alluring Pilar (Angel Aquino) is not new to the village. It is just that Anita was too small to remember her. Rumors fly over Pilar's hasty return from Dubai, where she worked as a physical therapist. Issues are raised over her non-appearance during the wake of her father. One villager who is happy to see her is her ex-boyfriend.

The fragrance of blossoming love pervades through the whole village. The scent is so strong you'll probably smell it while watching the film. I smell aroma from summertime flowers. I smell a freshly-bathed person. I smell intoxicating love.

Love is like a long sought after baby. It might take awhile. It might take a long, long time. For some, they need to endure countless dances, processions, and novenas. It may still not be bestowed despite litany of prayers. But once given, nurture it with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul.

Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita is a lovely, likable, lithesome film peppered with winning performances from the ensemble. It took some time for the film to come into fruition. It is a good thing director Sigrid Andrea Bernardo held on passionately to her 'baby' project. Upon receiving a grant from CineFilipino, she showered her 'baby' with the best care and love she can give. Her 'baby,' in return, gave birth to a confetti of accolades and awards including Best Picture at the CineFilipino competition.

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