I am not a person who likes Filipino-made movies. What I’ve seen of the majority of Filipino productions have given me a rather strong bias against spending my money on them. Those I’ve watched were few and far between, tending towards historical movies (Rizal and Heneral Luna). But this time around, the array of movies released for the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) was quite different.
I figured, if I wanted to support better movies with a greater variety than the typical Pinoy movie, I should do it with my wallet. Off I went to the cinemas to watch Saving Sally. I didn’t know much about the movie I was walking into, save that it was partially animated, took 10 years to make, and was recommended by some geeky friends who’d watched it.
Saving Sally essentially is a romance movie. Again, this is not the kind of movie I prefer. It is a slice of life film, showcasing the story between a geeky would-be comic artist and a beautiful, nerdy inventor, and how both navigate their own personal struggles in life. The plot is nothing particularly new. But the delivery was great.
The quirky comic art style and animation felt very unique. There were countless of hidden jokes and puns (many in the Pinoy style of course) in the scenery which ranged from pop to geek culture, from the 80s all the way to the early 2000s. The different types of imagery used, from the mixed live-action scenes to the full animated ones felt well-timed to deliver the emotions that sought to be evoked in the film. My favorite was the heartbreak sequence (#hugotkapatid).
Beyond the aesthetics, it was also the first time I really enjoyed the acting of the artists. I normally cringe at much of Filipino acting in movies, but this time around was a pleasant surprise. The drama here didn’t feel forced. Both Marty (Enzo Marcos) and Sally (Rhian Ramos) portrayed themselves convincingly and the supporting actors carried their scenes with warmth and nuance – except perhaps for Sally’s parents.
The one aspect of the movie that I might consider weak would be in its sound. The background and scene music was rather mild, although I suppose a stronger soundtrack may not be all that necessary in a film of this type. But what do I know? It won the Best Musical Scoring at the awards, so go figure. #musicalbarbarian
Watching this movie was a treat for me. It was a trip through a story that evoked much nostalgia and memory (#thisissohighschool #thisissocollege) as I viewed it. Anyone who’s experienced the highs and lows of falling in love, the stupid decisions and regrets from those choices, might be able to relate. Certainly, I did. Put together with the multi-layered, hidden and not-so-hidden love notes to all the geeks, nerds, and artsy people who passed through high school and college, the movie resonated with me in many ways.
This is a movie I’m glad I took the time to watch. It is a film outside my comfort zone, and I am glad to know that our local movie making industry can produce things of this quality. Kudos to all those who were involved in the making of this film. Great job guys! Inspiring.