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Monday, July 24, 2017

Movie Review: 'Kita Kita' Is Intimate and Endearing







DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU STILL PLAN TO WATCH KITA KITA. I MIGHT INADVERTENTLY GIVE AWAY SOME OF THE IMPORTANT PLOT LINES WHICH MIGHT DESTROY YOUR MOVIE-GOING EXPERIENCE.

There was a sizable audience tonight when we watched a screening of Kita Kita at SM MOA. It is always great news for local cinema when an indie-produced film makes a breakthrough in the box-office through sheer word-of-mouth only.

While I was watching it, it reminded me of the American movie, Lost in Translation, released in 2003, which had a similar thread to this movie - its simplicity, the surprising unaffected chemistry of the two leads, the blossoming of the romantic possibilities, and the way it showcases the beauty and uniqueness of Japan, as seen through the eyes of the female directors (Sofia Coppola, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo) of these movies.

I highly suggest that you watch both movies one after the other, and explore the complexities of human relationships as the directors present isolation and heartbreak.

One is set in the tranquil (well, that's the way it looked to me) city of Sapporo in the lovely island of Hokkaido, in northern Japan, while the other is set in the frenetic city of Tokyo, amidst the sheen of Park Hyatt Tokyo, and the craziness of Shibuya and Shinjuku.

They are both beautifully photographed, with a tender musical score that would make you want to book a trip to Japan, right here, right now, and follow the leads of both movies, as they visit the delightful sites of both cities.

Well, back to the story.

As both leads find each other, we revel at the connection that they make with each other, even though from face value, they may not seem the most likely of couples. Alessandra looks lovely but is depressed, and so is Scarlet's character, maybe not too depressed but is ignored by her husband.

Come to the rescue, Bill Murray and Empoy Marquez, who are both comedians so they don't exactly have matinee idol looks. Surprisingly, there is a bubbling chemistry that you can feel they have with their beautiful leading ladies. There is no corniness in their facial expressions and you can feel their earnestness to connect with the two women.

I saw that kilig in English is to gush (Kita Kita had subtitles - and you can bring a Japanese-speaking friend along since a good percentage of the movie is in Japanese) - and I won't be surprised if many, especially the millennials, would be able to identify with Alessandra and Empoy.

I was wistful as I left the theatre after watching Lost in Translation and you will too, after watching Kita Kita. The circumstances of how both movies end are not the same, but they tap at the same vein of what might have been.

The third movie that you can bookmark with these two movies is Atonement, with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, but you'd need too much tissue paper already.

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