A review: What you can find in ‘Ang Nawawala’

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Gibson Bonifacio (Dominic Roco) is 20 and had just gotten back to his home in Manila after three years of studying abroad, but just for the holidays. The thing with Gibson is he doesn't speak. He hasn't, since witnessing a tragic event in his childhood.

He immediately notices that his family is falling apart. You notice too, that there is something more to Gibson than his selective mutism and the camera he always carries around.

The thing with "Ang Nawawala" is the restraint writer-director Marie Jamora applied in telling the story. She knew her characters' stories and back stories, all the details, but she and co-writer Ramon de Veyra revealed just the right amount of information to keep you interested.

Nothing forced

Nothing felt forced, nor too drawn out. Except perhaps for Mark Abaya's wig.

And because Marie's a well-loved music video director, you're almost worried her first feature film would look and feel like one. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that you would want something more from someone who waited so long to make a feature. Fortunately, she's as comfortable with silence as she is with music in the foreground.

The really quiet cemetery scene with Gibson and Jamie (Felix Roco), for example, will move you to tears, not just because it's particularly sad, but because of things left unsaid.

Sequences with local independent bands, on the other hand, felt like Peter Sollett's shy hipster romance "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" where two suburban teenagers fall in love as they wander through New York's gig spots to find the night's culmination of shared musical passions.

The music is a collection of old-time OPM hits and current independent acts like "Ang Bandang Shirley," "Hannah+Gabi," "Tarsius" and a lot more a Cubao X or Collective regular would recognize. That sounded really hipster, but there really is more to hipster than the image when it comes to our local scene.

Newcomer Annicka Dolonius plays Enid, the girl Gibson falls in love with. You'd fall in love with her too. She's heartbreak waiting to happen. She's gorgeous, funny, quirky and a pleasure to watch.

All this aside, "Ang Nawawala" is about coping with "What isn't there" anymore. It's about how life always changes, and how you just want to believe it's for the best.

Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed.

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