In 2018, my friend, who is a filmmaking major, recommended that I watch his favorite movie. As someone who enjoys obscure films, his suggestion piqued my interest. When he told me that the film was a romantic comedy, I immediately groaned. I don’t like movies about romance or comedies, and I especially don’t like romantic comedies. However, this movie is easily my favorite just by the attention focused on small details.
“Kita Kita” is a 2017 Filipino film directed by Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo, who won two Star Awards for this film. The film runs for 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Kita Kita, in shortened Tagalog, means “I saw you.”
The movie follows two Filipino neighbors who become friends while living in Sapporo, Japan.
Alessandra De Rossi plays Lea, a blind woman who lives a reserved and quiet life. Tonyo, played by Empoy Marquez, wants to befriend Lea since he recently moved near her apartment. He visits her often and tries to give her meals in order to gain her affection.
The emotions and behavior of Lea throughout the film are well-portrayed and realistic. Her annoyance against Tonyo and outlook on life due to her blindness ironically pairs well with Tonyo’s pure-hearted intentions in getting to know a fellow Filipino neighbor in the city of Sapporo. Tonyo may appear annoying to viewers by being persistent in wanting to know Lea, but after watching the entire film, the viewers will adore Tonyo and his thoughtfulness.
The movie takes its time for the audience to understand Lea and Tonyo individually and the relationship dynamic shared between the two.
Even when they’re apart, it feels like the duo are always together by the way one character speaks and acts in when thinking about the other character.
The comedy aspect doesn’t rely on cheap jokes. From the many comedic moments, a good handful of them don’t rely on trying hard to make the audience laugh. Tonyo provides wholesome humor that the audience will find endearing.
The relationship of Lea and Tonyo is endearing, yet unique. You could account Lea’s blindness as the reason why their relationship is rare, but adding Tonyo’s wise and optimistic personality, it’s refreshing to watch the two interact.
The film undergoes a drastic change in tone that catches viewers by surprise, but it isn’t forced for the remainder of the film. It’s genuine and powerful.
The cinematography is gorgeous. From beginning to end, the film is like a tour of various noteworthy locations in Japan. You’ll see shots of colorful gardens, intriguing historical sites, souvenir shops and other locations that will leave you wanting to experience in person.
The plot may seem straightforward, but keep in mind that certain lines, actions, and objects matter in this movie. The viewers may watch something and not have a second thought about it, but are reminded of the various symbolisms later in the film.
“Kita Kita” makes the audience hope that one day, Lea will gain her sight. The viewers will wish that the pair can work things out despite their differences. Just like how romantic comedies are, the audience will expect a light-hearted ending, but I can attest to my friend’s words — this is not your typical rom-com.
“Kita Kita” is currently available to watch on Netflix and TFC.