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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 10, 2019


ONE ENTRY in the current Cinema One Originals filmfest we highly recommend is “Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo”, a very contemporary love story about two millennials who are both into premarital sex. The story is told in a non-linear manner.

It starts with Jane Oineza about to have sex with a hunky but apparently dumb guy who is interested only in talking about his workout routines. She agrees to hop into bed with him, but the memory of another guy haunts her and spoils the moment for them.

We then see the other guy, JC Santos, a free lance artist she gets to work with in a coming project. They spend the night together and he’s willing to maintain their relationship only as fubus (if you don’t understand that, you’re obviously not a millennial, google it). He is just so afraid of a more committed relationship. In a flashback, we see him being dumped by his girflriend of two years who turns out to be a two-timing slut.

She’s living in with JC but actually has a long-distance relationship with another boyfriend based in Singapore for four years. She now wants to marry the Singapore guy who she believes can give her a better future. JC is crushed and the pain remains, so he cannot commit more permanently to Jane.

The final scene shows them having a heart-to-heart talk about love, commitment and acceptance and the fact that no one can change overnight, so Jane proposes the film’s title: sila muna habang hindi pa talagang sila. The movie is less than an hour and a half and can actually be mounted on stage as a two-act play because most of it was shot in interiors. All in all, there are only about six or seven sequences, all long ones, shot in well rehearsed, tightly blocked scenes with the camera often just following the two major characters.

At first, we’re cynical about where the movie is going but it really grows on you because of the very good performances of the two leads. Even if they seem to be mismatched. Jane is a big-boned girl who needs a much bigger leading man to suit her. She sometimes looks she has even wider girth than JC, who’s not really big hunky guy.

But when they interact together, you actually start to believe in them. They’re both excellent in their respectively roles, but JC is even more so. He gets high marks for being truly instinctively good, as also seen in his last movie about unusual relationships, “Open”. JC is so effective in throwing his lines with so much impact, even the flippant ones that seem nagpapa-cute. And when he’s hurt, he certainly knows how to project vulnerability to make him seem like a hurt puppy.

The film is written and directed by Denise O’Hara, a former TV soap writer who debuted as a director last year in “Mamang”, a stylized film about an old woman and his gay son that won her a best director award but which didn’t really sit that well with us. She does a much better job here in her sophomore effort, “Tayo Muna”, that is surely more viewer friendly with its sharp writing and witty hugot lines that are all delivered in English.