Dagitab (2014)

EMOTIONAL, MENTAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL STATE UPON SEEING THE FILM:

Twenty-five and lost in life, which was mediocre and I wasn't exactly in love with it. I was working a corporate job, five years in, and I was looking at how else I can grow elsewhere, and so I entertained thoughts of going back to school to study film.

Relatively speaking, and by virtue of not complaining of being in the job “girls would kill for”, it’s safe to say I was having a grand time. Yet in the middle of everything, I was also in need of that spark (pun intended) to ignite that so-called fire in the heart that everyone else seems to know and be talking about, too. Whatever I had at present simply wasn’t enough to create that.

 

EXPERIENCE WHILE WATCHING IT

It was a lazy afternoon, and I needed my me-time. I decided to marathon Cinemalaya films and made a list based on synopsis and trailers, and Dagitab was on my shortlist. Also, I looked forward to not eating meals and instead, spend my entire afternoon indulging on movie food. As I entered, I could hear everyone slurping their ice cold Coca Colas from plastic cups and plastic straws, simultaneously munching on chips without a care.

I, on the other hand, had my McDonald’s brewed coffee and an original glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut with me. As I walked up the aisle and towards my designated seat, I believe I made heads turn in my direction, thanks to the aroma of my coffee.

THREE REASONS TO LOVE THE FILM

Calling the film visually arresting is an understatement, and I for one won’t even try to describe it here as my words won’t do it any justice. The screenplay is just as remarkable, as with any Abrahan film (e.g. Transit, and later, Paki). And then the theme. It was everything you and I can relate to: passion, love, the sparks.

The sparks: delicate, fragile, a wonder to look at, it is rare and hard to find. And when you do find it, you want it to light up even more, to grow big into a flame, and eventually be your permanent guiding light. You want more and more. But that isn’t the way with sparks. Sparks are a special case—it requires a certain combustion of elements for it to come to life.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT OR ELEMENT IN THE FILM AND WHY

A lot of scenes made my heart literally heavy. I Googled and found out that it sometimes could also mean I was having an attack without realizing it, but I sure hope it wasn’t the case.

Anyway, such memorable scenes were the following: when Intersections was being narrated, the moments when Issey would take long draws of her cigarette, catching her husband Jimmy’s blank and empty stares, and that scene when they took a bath together and it felt more routine than romantic.

The most impactful one that made my heart sink was when they were in the middle of a grassy field and surrounded with fireflies (am I imagining this or was it really in the film?) and Jimmy was lying on Issey’s lap. And in the quiet, you could feel a muddle of their emotions—a sense of longing, their passionate but tired hearts yearning to be acknowledged, a glimmer of hope—all set against the silence that was deafening and screaming.

It remains a personal favorite because it makes me think of how sometimes, our lives look perfectly still and put together on the outside, but inside, it’s empty, broken, confused. The sparks are gone. And that specific scene on the grassy field, the ambient sound of their surroundings, the fireflies—all the right elements put together—paints a perfect picture of how chasing the sparks (or yearning after the spark that once was) feels like in real life.

AFTERMATH, OR INITIAL THOUGHTS AND FEELS AFTER WATCHING

It was difficult to properly respond to the film after, as it was touching, heart-warming, disturbing, and an eye-opener all at the same time.

 

LINES FROM THE FILM WORTH QUOTING

Back then, I thought these lines spoke to me:

 
Sometimes we just need someone to tell us: game over.”

”Minsan may mga bagay kang hinihintay na hindi mo alam kung may hinihintay ka pa. Pero naghihintay ka pa rin.”

”Kung pagod ka na, hindi mo naman kailangan umalis, kailangan mo lang magpahinga.
 

A TRIVIA

I was able to catch it again at Teatrino, and fortunately for us, the floor was open for discussion after the film. I remember an old man from the audience, walking up the stage, and asking us naïve youngsters to please listen to what he was about to say.

“If you are impatient, you’re not ready for love," he said, loudly and proudly on the microphone. I do believe the love he’s talking about isn’t limited to romantic love, but also, the love for your craft, familial love, self-love. He said that was ultimately what we should learn from the film, and, frankly, years after having seen it and experiencing more out of life, I believe he’s right.

 

Photos via Cinemalaya.