TBA Studios, the outfit behind some of our favorite Pinoy films I’m Drunk, I Love You,
It tells the story of Lio (JM De Guzman), a withdrawn and impulsive young man who’s having a difficult time connecting with other people because of a rather unique and strange condition: face blindness, a cognitive disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces.
But the reclusive Lio finds himself opening up to the world (albeit unplanned) when he finds himself falling in love with Shana (Rhian Ramos), a beautiful free-spirited woman who rescues dogs from shelters, spontaneously kisses strangers, but also has skeletons in her closet.
JM does a wonderful job making us feel the difficulties of his character, mistaking people for someone else everywhere he goes be it in the office, a bar, a cafe, and even in his own home. We feel sorry for him. We wish he’d get better. We think of solutions to his problems. In other words, we end up caring for the character more than we usually do for protagonists like this who live very different lives than we do. Lio’s affliction defines his character and affects his whole life, and we're on that roller coaster ride with him.
While the movie does not go as deep into Shana’s side of the story, we can’t help but feel for her as well. Despite coming off as somewhat of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl at first, we gradually understand where she’s coming from and why she does what she does. Rhian plays the role beautifully--the charisma, the playfulness, the simplicity, and the melancholy all combined seamlessly makes her character equally lovable.
Kung Paano Siya Nawala is helmed and co-written by the relatively young filmmaker, Joel Ruiz, making this his feature-length debut. Known for one of the viral #KwentongJollibee shorts that (admit it) made us cry like babies, Ruiz successfully explored the highs and lows of a modern relationship in his debut film, shining a whole new light on contemporary urban love stories about letting go and holding on.
The cinematography was nothing short of fantastic, capturing vital moments in the film and highlighting all the intense emotions through the simple framing of the scenes. The musical score arranged by Armi Millare of Up Dharma Down, and the inclusion of an unreleased song from the popular indie band, “Anino”, adds the perfect backdrop that tugs at your heartstrings and hurts the deepest parts of your soul but in a good way.
Kung Paano Siya Nawala narrates a hopeful tale of how people can still emerge victorious despite the many battles that love entails. Whether it’s a jealous partner, a broken family, an addiction, the past, the present, the future, or a unique mental disorder, love always triumphs in the end.
The film opens in cinemas nationwide on November 14.