Spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.
The creative reset I did over the long weekend has definitely ignited my passion for all things art once again. So much so that I wanted to marathon this year’s Summer Metro Manila Film Festival (I had no idea this is a thing now as it always happens in December). Anyway, we have time on Tuesday mornings to do whatever’s not on our work task list so Kim and I went to the cinema to see Bela Padilla‘s Yung Libro Sa Napanood Ko.
What the story is about
The movie is about Lisa (Bela Padilla), a young woman living alone who likes watching Kdrama. She’s also a book writer, but until now I am still wondering what she does for a living to be able to afford a decent-looking apartment in the Philippines and to be able to stay for more than 50 days in South Korea. It might be good to know because I am totally down to shifting careers. Then there’s Kim Gunhoo (Yoo Min-gon), the nice Korean guy who introduces himself as a fan of Lisa and her books. Eventually, we will be told that he’s been dating Lisa for over six years but Lisa does not remember him or their relationship at all.
There’s something missing
Bela is a good actor, there’s no doubt about that. I was thinking, maybe this is different from all the things indie that I have seen before. Maybe she has something else to offer, given that she was also the creative director and the story writer of the movie. Perhaps, there’s an ultimate plot twist in the end that’ll change my life forever. But no, nothing like that really happened.
In fact, the movie played right before my eyes and it felt like it was lulling me to sleep. It didn’t have anything new to offer except for the fact that there was a Korean actor in the movie. It wasn’t something that I haven’t seen in most of the indie films I’d seen before.
Stories of a girl who suffers from PTSD and has no idea about it, and a nice guy who takes care of her have become very common in Filipino indie films. I write stories too, stories that are too mainstream for most people’s taste so I know the challenge of coming up with a unique story that hasn’t been seen or read before. Granted, all stories are the same, but maybe adding a little bit of an unusual but factual detail won’t hurt.
The first scenes of the movie show us how Lisa is living her life. She stays late in the office working on something that’s still a mystery to me (maybe she’s a cybersecurity person or a data analyst but I could only assume), watching Kdramas, and there was also one scene where she was in what looked like a family gathering where what appeared to be a toxic tita asked her why is she still single. But nothing, in the first parts of the film, nothing indicated that she was writing. And I think that’s important. One little scene about that to establish that she was also a book writer makes a huge difference.
OFW and mental health
My heart goes out to her her mom, Mary (Lorna Tolentino). Many of us glorify the struggles of OFWs but only a few think of the negative things brought by working away from their families has done to them. Mental health issues in the OFW community should be talked about more.
But my question is, how did she become a domestic helper in South Korea? Does she have a permanent residence? She was clearly not married to a Korean and Lisa’s dad mentioned that she went to South Korea to work to help with the expenses. But how was it legal? Maybe I am wrong, or the article I read was wrong. I’m not really sure.
So yes, did I regret watching the movie? No. I still had a good time. Again, Bela is a fine actor. And I look forward to seeing Min-gon in other films or even dramas.
But I think this could have been better if it was a book instead of a movie. I think it’ll make a huge difference.