Ria Limjap on "The Arrival": Leaps of Faith
Our SPOT.ph blogger on a film about a man who is stuck in a rut but dreams of love and a happier life.
At the recently concluded Cinemarehiyon 2010 they screened Erik Matti's latest film The Arrival, which is possibly his best work to date. After doing a slew of mainstream movies and television commercials, the succesful Ilonggo director goes back to his roots by writing, directing, and producing a deeply personal and intimate film about a man who is stuck in a rut but dreams of love and a happier life. I guess it's what we all want: to escape our drab lives and to find the one place where all our dreams come true and meet the one person who will greet us at the door with a kiss. (I can't deny that I want it, too.)
Leo (played by the wonderful Dwight Gaston) is a bookkeeper in a small company. Everyone takes him for granted–from his mid-level management boss to the maintenance guy, his self-absorbed sister, even the drinking buddies who carelessly ignore his sisig and use his folding table for their nightly inuman session. At night, Leo dreams of a house with a beautiful woman who comes out of the door, walks up to him, and gives him a kiss. This recurring dream is the only bright spot in his lonely life. One day he decides to literally find the house and woman of his dreams. He ends up in a small town called Murcia, the one in Negros Occidental, not Spain. The journey Leo takes is based on nothing but a dream, but since there's not much going on in his life what does he have to lose?
While it would be easy to fall into a clichéd happy ending, Erik Matti's story is realistic: Leo, the loser-hero, the antithesis of a leading man, does not fall in love and live happily ever after. Instead, he makes a few friends, renovates an old bahay kubo, and lives the rest of his life as best as he can.