There’s something about heartbreak, bittersweet romances and man’s never-ending pursuit of happiness that makes movies about them instantly relatable, like the refreshing trio of films on view in local cineplexes this week: Lee Seok-geun’s “On Your Wedding Day” (from South Korea), Mari Okada’s “Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms” (Japan) and Fifth Solomon’s “Nakalimutan Ko Nang Kalimutan Ka” (Philippines). They examine love and its vagaries.
Revisiting joys, sorrow
In “On Your Wedding Day,” college professor Woo-yeon (Kim Young-kwang) is forced to revisit the exhilarating joys and soul-crushing sorrow of falling in love for the first time when he receives a wedding invitation from Seung-hee (Park Bo-young), the transfer student he instantly fell in love with 13 years ago.
Lee peppers his bittersweet rom-com with movingly staged and thoughtfully acted flashback sequences showing the difficulties Woo-yeon had to hurdle to get Seung-hee to reciprocate his feelings—and how he bungles his chance to ride happily into the sunset with the girl of his dreams.
The production further benefits from the towering presence of Young-kwang, who inhabits his character with disarming charm, sensitivity and feisty relish, along with a nudging reminder for viewers that even love in its purest form can be dissipated by negligence and our inability to find contentment from the things we feel we’re entitled to.
The visually delectable “Nakalimutan Ko Nang Kalimutan Ka” is also of the hugot rom-com variety that has been finding favor with millennial audiences lately.
Anchored on the winking and winsome portrayal of Alex Gonzaga and her young director’s zippy and breezy execution of an oft-tackled tale, the film is about a woman’s (Alex) inability to move on from a failed relationship (Vin Abrenica), and her seemingly futile attempt to find closure from the road trip she embarks on with her similarly brokenhearted but silently suffering best friend (Jerald Napoles).
For its part, “Maquia” muses on man’s intimations of mortality and love’s all-encompassing reach.
It tells the story of mystical Maquia (voiced by Manaka Iwami), a 400-year-old orphaned lorph who finds her raison d’être when she stumbles into Ariel (Miyu Irino), a newborn baby boy wrapped tightly in the protective arms of his dead mother, then raises him as her own.
But, complications arise when Ariel grows up and his lovely adoptive mom remains young-looking.
The film, as despairing as it is enlightening for its thematically polarizing dilemma, mulls over the universality and undefinable nature of love as it underscores its ability to transcend man-made rules and ethical restrictions.
Be that as it may, “Maquia” pays loving tribute to the type of love that knows no bounds.
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