In Focus: Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon

The first film you watch in Cinemalaya sets the tone for the rest of the festival – either it’s so bad that everything else that follows is a masterpiece or so good that it would emerge as the film to beat. Carlo Enciso Catu’s Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon is under such pressure for being the first one showcased at the main theater, but I can definitely say it delivers.

Teresa and Celso are an old unmarried couple who hears from Teresa’s estranged husband Bene. Suffering from a terminal disease and left alone with no one else, he relies on Teresa for help. What follows is a story of forgiveness and acceptance. Their reunion after more than 20 years allows them to heal old wounds and find peace.

The beauty of the film lies in its simplicity. It’s not tackling huge themes or trying to be politically or socially relevant, but what it tells, it tells quite well, kudos to John Carlo Pacala’s poignant script. He created fully realized characters with so much heart and weaved a moving story that feels authentic. Indeed, Dapithapon succeeds in intricately developing the backstories, motivations, and nuances of its three leads, and actors Perla Bautista, Dante Rivero, and Menggie Cobarrubias give credence to their respective roles.

Owing to its excellent cinematography and memorable sound design, from the opening shot of Bene sleeping through a storm to the closing shot of all three lounging at the beach, the whole film feels peculiarly tranquil, coasting the viewer through every scene as if riding the ocean’s currents. You just allow yourself without any hesitation to go with the flow and be led to where the narrative takes you. To have that certainty and confidence is a rare feeling in watching films. For Dapithapon to achieve that makes it an instant classic.

Directed by: Carlo Enciso Catu
Starring: Perla Bautista, Dante Rivero, Menggie Cobarrubias

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