Monday, August 12, 2013

CINEMALAYA 2013: Critique of "SANA DATI" by Jarrold Tarog

Cinemalaya is an independent film festival here in the Philippines.
It just ended and this is a late critique of the film: Sana Dati by Jarrold Tarog.
This is actually my submission to my Art Appreciation Class.
The professor required us to critique one movie in the entries in the Cinemalaya 2013 and I thought someone might want a review or critique of this film so that is why I am posting my paper.

Luckily for me, my mom's friend is the father of the cinematographer of the movie.
So my mom was there to watch with me and my boyfriend at the Gala night of the movie.
The only downside to it was the fact that the start of the movie was at 9pm, the time that I usually just sit down and rest at home.

I am happy to say though, that even if it was the first time that my mom, my boyfriend and I had gone to Cinemalaya, it was definitely not a disappointment.
I was expecting anything because I had no idea what we were going to watch.
I only knew one of the actors at first and the quality of local TV and mainstream movies here in the Philippines is usually average or for a specific set of people.
But Sana Dati is very far from TV novels and mainstream movies here in the Philippines.

I was sick at the time that we watched the movie.
I got a viral infection that made me get a very high fever, a head ache and made my joints painful and gave me red spots all over my body. it has been really hard for me to walk the past few days.
One of the highlights of that night was the fact that my boyfriend was sweet enough to take care of me and the fact that my mom was taking care of me as well so I felt a little special and I really liked the fact that I saw that I could depend on my boyfriend at the time that I wasn't feeling well (who wouldn't want that right? It's totally an added hotness factor! :)) ).

It was a little hard for me to appreciate the film but that did not stop me from watching the film intently.
So here is my critique for Sana Dati:

Have you ever watched the usual predictable wedding movie that the bride or groom leaves the one they’re going to marry for another person or the type of wedding movie that the two people getting married suddenly realize that they should not get married? Those movies always have a pattern; boy and girl fall in love and decide to get married and during their engagement, one of them or maybe even both suddenly realize that they have different priorities or maybe they love someone else. It is not that these movies are not good or lack artistry; it is just the fact that these types of movies have become common or considered a cliché. Sana Dati is far from those types of wedding movies. The movie is the last part of Jarrold Tarog’s camera trilogy but he promised that even if you haven’t watched the first two movies of the trilogy, you would still be able to understand the movie.

There were 3 main characters including: Lovi Poe who played Andrea, the bride; Paulo Avelino who played Denis, the wedding videographer; and TJ Trinidad who played Robert, the groom. There were minor characters that played a big part in the movie that included the little sister and the ex boyfriend of Andrea. The cast was good. Everyone played their part very well. There were no flaws in their acting. The setting was at the Cocoon hotel in Manila. The venue was beautiful. There were a few more locations that they shot at and all of them helped in adding an effect to the story. The cinematography was incredible. It seemed as if it was not an indie movie at all with the great quality of cinematography of this movie is. There was absolutely no waste in camera angles or effects used. The sound effects and the sound tracks used were very beautiful and fit the scenes perfectly. Everything was in sync. There were not any special effects in the movie like extreme makeup, etc. Special effects were unnecessary. The story speaks for itself. There were a few symbolisms in the story. At the first part of the movie the little sister of Andrea brought the wrong shoes to the wedding but, what seemed to me as a symbol was the colour of the shoe box that Andrea desperately wanted for her wedding day because it was color blue and blue is known to be a color of peace, calm or harmony. When the little sister went back home to get the blue shoe box, she stumbled upon another blue shoe box that was filled with very important pieces to Andrea’s past. Maybe the shoe box was color blue to signify that it holds the pieces to a time and a place in her life where she felt true peace.

The story started with a proposal. It was a quiet intimate one on one proposal of Andrew to Andrea. Then it was followed by the scene of the wedding day. The videographer (Denis) started to interview the bride and groom. But it was confusing when the groom at the wedding day was not the one who proposed to Andrea in the previous scene. Andrea seemed as if she was unhappy. It seemed as if she was somehow forced to marrying the groom. After the interview with the bride, then came the interview with the groom whose name is Robert, a former politician and Robert was the exact epitome of a groom at his wedding day. He was happy and he acted like he was overflowing with love for Andrea. Then a little later, Andrea’s best friend found a book on one of the tables in the hotel room where the wedding was going to take place. It was not the property of Andrea’s best friend or Andrea’s family. When Andrea and her best friend read a part of the book, the videographer suddenly spoke, continuing the verse that they were reading. He said that he memorized the verse they were reading when he was in high school and Andrea seemed as if she was haunted or scared. It was clear that the story had just gotten a little more interesting.

The scenes kept jumping back and forth showing scenes from Andrea’s past. The presence of Denis at the wedding made Andrea feel torn over getting over her past lover and embracing what she must become; a good wife to her new husband. How Jarrold Tarog depicted the story was very interesting but quite confusing. I think that it was a good way to keep the audience interested in the film but it really kept me puzzled. I did not seem to understand what Denis actually was to Andrea until it reached a certain part of the movie. Maybe Mr. Tarog could have lessened his confusing non-linear way of depicting the film just a little or maybe it was just the fact that Denis seemed as if he was the past lover of Andrea but the guy who proposed to Andrea at the first part of the movie was not Denis and made the story even more confusing in an unhelpful way. Although the love of Robert was strong, it seemed to be mixed a little with obsession. They both did not know each other that well yet they were getting married but Robert was very happy as if he was going to win a prize.


Although it was very confusing, I seemed to have understood the story at the end. The movie was very sweet but it was also very sad because it seemed as if all the main characters ended up unhappy or maybe it was the start of the part of their lives where they become happy. Over all, I liked the movie. It was a little hard to appreciate because it was a little too confusing for me but maybe for others the confusing factor was not that overwhelming. I still do not know why it is entitled “Sana Dati”. I do not seem to see what could have happened in the past if they were to go back in time because you could not have done anything about Andrea’s past lover’s fate. It is still a good movie though. It was nice that in the middle of all the drama the writer found a way to incorporate a little comedy into the story. It lightened the mood a little. I would absolutely recommend this movie. All of the elements of the film made up for all the confusion that was put into the movie.

I am not sure if this is a good critique. I'm not used to writing movie critiques but maybe some of you might want to comment on my strengths and weaknesses as a writter? I may be able to improve if you give me your honest opinion. Thanks for the time! Good day! :)