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The Philippine Independent Cinema’s Celebration of Self-Realizations

Loving someone and being loved back can transform someone into the best version of himself or herself. However, these noteworthy local independent films might tell you that unrequited or failed love is also an essential phase in one’s individual growth.

A Love Story Minus the Dramas

Pardon the title, but J. P. Habac’s I’m Drunk, I Love You is not really about alcoholism. Yes. sometimes you will see Carson (Maja Salvador) drinking but there is more to this film than drunkenness.

(Spoiler!) For seven years, Carson has been secretly in love with her best friend, Dio (Paulo Avelino). Days prior to their college graduation, Dio, Carson, and Jayson Ty (Dominic Roco) head to La Union music festival. Assuming that this might be the best time for Dio and her, Carson is surprised to see him with his former lover, Pathy (Jasmine Curtis-Smith). Carson is still able to confess her feelings to Dio, though.

The film might sound like a typical love story, but not until you have actually watched it. Carson and Jayson’s conversations sound just like you and your friend talking about your crushes. Carson and Dio’s relationship seems just like yours or anybody else’s. Carson’s annoyance at Pathy feels like everyone of us when someone threatens our possible romance with someone.

What makes this film remarkable is how simple, relatable, and funny it was delivered even though the story is actually heartbreaking. The story focuses not on Carson and Dio, but on their feelings and vulnerabilities, on their personal reasons why she loves him and why he cannot love her back, and on Carson’s seemingly lengthy process of acceptance and moving on.

A love story minus the “almost lovers,” infidelities, and other redundant, exhausting romantic plots, I’m Drunk is beyond question, a refresher from all the usuals.

A Traveler Without a Destination

Directed by Ice Adanan, the road-trip film Sakaling Hindi Makarating centers on Cielo (Alessandra de Rossi) and the story behind her doomed 11-year relationship with his boyfriend. After their break-up, she began receiving hand-painted postcards with poetries from “M,” the initial of her ex-boyfriend.

Distracting herself from such loss and wanting to find out who her postcard sender is, Cielo set her unplanned trips across Zamboanga, Siquijor, Marinduque, Ilocos, and Batanes. The film is arguably, a tribute to the beauty of the Philippines, and of moving on.

Another hackneyed traveler film? Not until “M” interests you, too. Having said that, Sakaling Hindi Makarating‘s most unexpected plot twists lie not on the identity of Cielo’s postcard sender, but ironically, on its absence of plot twists, focus, and answers. Besides Cielo’s self-discovery and self-love, the most monumental denoument of the film is knowing that some things can still be beautiful even if they happen without meaning and reason.

This article originally appeared on English Magazines published by Vibal Group, Inc.