The P90 million box-office hit on its first week is no joke, considering it was premiered alongside big-time and long-awaited Hollywood movies. Kita Kita holds a plethora of emotions, but lacks the necessary layers to achieve the supposed depth established in the trailer.
If there’s anything marvelous in its entirety, it’s definitely the casting. Well-blended, Empoy Marquez’s humor and Alessandra De Rossi’s sweetness attain an unusual charm that lifts the film from exposition to climax. However, inconsistencies and awkward moments arise when the supporting actors come into the scene. These inconsistencies, fortunately, don’t suppress the main actors’ strength to their roles.
Despite its charm, the film’s storyline is too typical. Additional layers could’ve been added, such as a more thought-provoking backstory for Empoy or a deeper and more sensible narrative for Alessandra, although her present is deemed more important than her underlayers. It merely tries to be as simple as possible and its simplicity prevails in being both its strength and weakness. The “blindfold” scene however salvages the film from being too generic, as it captivates viewers through its powerful and dramatic conveyance of sorrow and gratitude.
When it comes to the twist, it is subjectively predictable, depending on how familiar a viewer is in the format of most films with the similar genre. Kita-Kita is technically inadequate, but it deserves to be appreciated more for its aesthetic and substantive value rather than its commercialized and romanticized storyline being overhyped.
Nevertheless, the cinematography is stunning—promoting a new and fresh perspective of Japan (architecture, culture, and tranquility) apart from the usual cherry-blossom-esque atmosphere most films manifest. The musical scoring is a thumbs-up too, with KZ Tandingan’s rendition of Two Less Lonely People in the World yielding to the post-Kita Kita feels.
There’s an ambiguity whether it is mainstream, indie, or falls in between, but the importance lies on great leap it contributes to the Philippine cinema. Clearly, the film’s overall power resides in its impact to the viewers and not to its context.