‘Absurd cinema’: Charo tells why ‘Whether the Weather is Fine’ not your usual mainstream movie | Inquirer Entertainment

‘Absurd cinema’: Charo tells why ‘Whether the Weather is Fine’ not your usual mainstream movie

/ 03:55 PM December 21, 2021

Charo Santos-Concio

Charo Santos-Concio as Norma

“Manage your expectations.”

This was the advice of actress Charo Santos-Concio to film producers and theater operators who will be participating in the 2021 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) this month.


Charo is the lead actress of Carlo Francisco Manatad’s dramatic piece, “Whether the Weather is Fine” (Kun Maupay Man It Panahon). The film is one of eight festival entries, which will be screened in cinemas nationwide starting Christmas Day until Jan. 7, 2022.


The MMFF’s two-week run is the only time of the year when cinemagoers enjoy an all-Filipino lineup. In spite of this, Charo said she remains “unsure” that this will help regain Filipinos’ confidence in watching inside movie theaters once again. It doesn’t help that, a week before the festival, the Department of Health declared that two patients infected with the Omicron variant were detected in the Philippines.

Social experience

“I’m not sure about that,” said Charo when Inquirer Entertainment asked her what she thought was the general perception of the moviegoing public on the return of the MMFF to the cinemas. In 2020, the MMFF finalists were shown purely online.

“I have been been asking around and learned that there are some brave souls who would go. It seems like people are still afraid to go to the cinemas today. You can’t blame them. This is a tough situation for the movie industry, specifically for the theater owners.

“Watching movies has always been a social experience, but the pandemic has totally changed this. So if you’d ask me how I look at it, I’d say, ‘Life has to go on, anyway.’ So we have to keep trying. We have to keep dipping our foot in the water to see if it’s already warm or cold enough for us. We cannot be imprisoned by our fears forever. We have to imagine that it’s becoming a safer world,” she stressed.

Charo Santos-Concio

Charo Santos-Concio

Charo, who is also the former president of broadcasting giant ABS-CBN, further said: “But everyone has to manage his or her expectations. This is for the producers, the theater owners and everyone involved in the industry.”

Charo, who used to be a film producer before becoming a media executive, described Manatad’s film as “not your usual mainstream movie.” She explained: “It’s not a typical disaster film that’s melodramatic. It has a unique and distinct voice. I remember when Carlo and I first met, he said, ‘This is absurd cinema.’ I had to read up to find out what he was talking about.”


The film is set against the backdrop of the devastation caused by Typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) in 2013. Charo plays Norma, who struggles for survival while searching for her loved ones. Daniel Padilla plays Norma’s son, Miguel, while Francinne “Rans” Rifol plays Miguel’s girlfriend Andrea.

Charo explained that the film “has a lot of dark humor to make the tragedy a lot more palatable. So it won’t appear too heavy, he has put a lot of visual imagery and humor. It’s surreal. It’s beautiful, but I also think you really have to be a committed moviegoer to appreciate this. But watching movies is very subjective—kanya-kanyang lente ng pagtingin. Each audience is different. They each have a way of determining whether a film is good or bad,” she pointed out.

‘Unique, different’

Charo Santos-Concio

Scene from “Whether the Weather is Fine”

Charo also said she felt like becoming a film student when she watched Manatad’s film for the first time. “It felt like he brought me to a different world. I found myself studying how he mounted his camera. I tried to reflect on why he took a particular shot or why he edited a scene in a particular way, and why he used this specific music for it. Carlo’s way of telling a story is unique, different.”

“It’s a story of survival, of resilience,” explained Charo. “It happened at a time when, after the typhoon, people were trying to get back into their ‘normal’ lives, even though they lost everything they owned. We all know what happened to Tacloban during that time.”

For her character, Charo said, “It’s also about making choices, even though they contradict the choices of her loved ones. Norma is obsessed about searching for her husband, who has long abandoned her and Miguel. While playing her, I tried to understand why she’s like that. There’s madness in the way she loves. For her, there’s no rhyme nor reason. She is simply obsessed about seeing her ex-husband and be given the opportunity to say goodbye to him, one last time.”

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“Whether the Weather is Fine” is Manatad’s first full-length feature. It premiered at the 74th Locarno International Film Festival, where Manatad won a best picture trophy in a category for first-time filmmakers.

TAGS: Charo Santos-Concio, Whether the Weather is Fine

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