Stories of a different kind: Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa

Stories of a different kind: Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa

Love comes in different forms at various stages in life. It might present itself as something typical, such as a relationship between two childhood friends, or it could come as a surprise and turn out to be something quite unusual. If there’s one thing to be sure about, though, it’s that the soul always knows. The indescribable attraction between two people is something that cannot be controlled—it just happens naturally.

Photo by Yves Publico
Photo by Yves Publico

Last February 7 saw the special screening of DLS-CSB faculty member Mr. Nestor Abrogena‘s first full-length film, Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa (The Story of Us That Never Was), at the UP Diliman’s Cine Adarna. Originally written as a 20-minute short, the film soon became a one hour and twenty minute masterpiece, created as Mr. Abrogena’s finals project for his directing class. Starring Nicco Manalo and Emmanuelle Vera, the film tells the bittersweet story of the short-lived relationship between a guy and a girl who take serious risks in order to keep their spark alive.

Photo by Yves Publico
Photo by Yves Publico

One of the first things you’ll notice about the work is how it incorporates long takes as part of its style. This added to the overall effectiveness—through the uninterrupted scenes, the film was able to get closer to reality, in the way it kept conversations and pauses flowing as natural as possible. Manalo and Vera’s acting were equally brilliant, keeping things lifelike and never exaggerating at any point.

Photo by Yves Publico
Photo by Yves Publico

Another aspect that has to be commended is the film’s atmosphere. Combining darkness with love and a bit of hopefulness, the work was able to perfectly capture the vibe for when one is going through a situation similar to that in the story. The amazing soundtrack was one of the elements that helped build the mood. With songs such as Gabe Piolo‘s “Look Along the Way” playing as the audience members were transported through everyday life in Manila, it wouldn’t be surprising if some forgot they were still watching a movie.

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The plot twist at the end (which we won’t spoil) was a pleasant surprise, diminishing any preconceptions about the film being just another cheesy romance. The moment it revealed itself, most of the audience members backtracked on the story and realized some things they hadn’t early on, giving them excited “Aha!” moments. The twist also made them question what exactly it was that inspired the concept, making the film even more interesting.

Photo by Yves Publico
Photo by Yves Publico

What sets this work apart from others is its honesty, which is something quite rare in today’s industry. The movie isn’t afraid to reveal itself at any point—it knows how relationships really function, so it presents itself after that. A good number have already been fooled by cheesy lines and exaggerated fantasy—this is exactly why we need Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa to bring us back to the ground.


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