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“Joy is Here”: A Review of Hello, Love, Goodbye

Hello, Love, Goodbye is breaking box office records in the Philippines, and now it’s making waves throughout the diaspora.

The film centers on Joy (Kathryn Bernardo), a domestic helper living and working in Hong Kong, and her determination to fulfill the responsibilities to her family in the Philippines. She then meets Ethan (Alden Richards), a Filipino immigrant in Hong Kong working as a bartender, who, unlike Joy, skirts many of his responsibilities to his family. The two meet, fall in love, then…life happens.

 

It’s easy to see why the movie has won the hearts of many Filipinos worldwide. Yes, Filipinos love their romance films, but Hello, Love, Goodbye also reminds audiences of the realities so many Filipinos face. Amidst the love between the couple is the harrowing life of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and the various ways the two have to navigate through the social, legal, and geographic boundaries that separate them from so many people. The film sheds additional light on the realities of living abroad and the seemingly impossible ways of finding and sustaining love transnationally. It’s not your typical melo-drama about OFWs, nor is it just another sappy Filipino rom-com. Instead, filmmaker Cathy Garcia-Molina brilliantly takes the best elements of both genres and fuses them together to make an emotional-laden, yet entertaining film.

The acting of Kathryn Bernardo certainly carries the film, particularly through the roller coaster emotions Joy felt during her journey. Alden Richards was a bit more stoic in character, but he still serves as a suitable love interest. Additionally, as a Filipino film, family is a big element for both characters’ lives. Garcia-Molina successfully lines out the main plot narratives that demonstrate Joy and Ethan’s obligations of family that complicate their love for each other.  Garcia-Molina also employs artistic filmmaking devices that gives the film a very poetic touch.

By no means is Hello, Love, Goodbye perfect. Some of the subplots are a bit excessive: three disabled characters, both stars’ ex-partners make an appearance, and a run-away cousin. One can also do without the romantically-laced music in the background of almost every conversation between Joy and Ethan. Also, Bernardo and Richards’s light skin color aren’t exactly the prototypical among Filipinos living in Hong Kong (but that’s certainly a larger and ongoing issue in Philippine society).

Yet, despite these minor glitches, the movie works best as an expanded view of OFW life. Most films centered on OFWs highlight the horrific elements – an abusive employer, spoiled children left home, or cheating spouses. One particular scene in the movie is even an ode the classic OFW film, Anak. We see Joy and her friends watching quintessential scene in Anak (2000), where Vilma Santos, in an Oscar award-worthy performance, painstakingly explains to her daughter the tremendous sacrifice she has to make for her family as an OFW. We are thus reminded that the OFW experience of hardship continues on in this global economy, with no concrete end in sight.

While this movie touches on some of these elements, Hello, Love, Goodbye also conveys that OFWs maintain humanity and happiness amidst the chaos and injustice abroad. Throughout the movie, the characters live full lives. Though their life situations are not ideal, they can still unwind at a bar at night, they can poke fun at their friends, and they can enter beauty contents. But most of all, like Joy, they can fall in love.

 

Hello, Love, Goodbye is playing in theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada.  For theater listings, click here.

TFAL at San Diego Comic Con 2019

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TFAL is going to San Diego Comic Con this week, and to celebrate, we’ll have these exclusive #SDCC2019 Sticker Packs! 

So how do you get your hands on one of these?  Just look for Elaine and Producer Mike!

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This is what they looked like the last time they went to SDCC in 2011. 

But where can you find them?

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At the Filipinx Voices in Podcasting Panel, of course!  Hosted by Diverse Geeks in Focus, Gemma Vidal (host – Diverse Geeks in Focus), Alix Catherine (host – Ready Set Geek!), Justin Quizon (Screen Rant, That Hashtag Show), Elaine Dolalas (host – This Filipino American Life), Earl Baylon (Tomb Raider Series, Pangeekery), & JPG (CEO – Geek Say What? Network) will talk about how they represent the Filipinx diaspora in the podcasting world, tell stories that are uniquely our own, and how Filipinx voices fit into geek culture overall.

The panel will be hosted at:

Neil Morgan Auditorium, San Diego Central Public Library

330 Park Blvd, Downtown, San Diego, California 92101

Friday, July 19, 5-6pm

After the panel, say hello and let us know you want a sticker pack! Sticker packs are $5 each. We take Venmo, PayPal, and good old fashioned Cash!  

Also….

NEW PATREON SPECIAL! 

If you sign up to be a patreon on the spot at any level, just show us the email confirmation and we’ll give you a sticker pack FOR FREE!! 

You can sign up at https://www.patreon.com/TFALpodcast

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We can’t wait to join folks in San Diego this week. What artists or booths are you excited to check out? Let us know! 805-394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

 

EMPTY BY DESIGN

EMPTY BY DESIGN is Andrea Walter’s feature debut and will have its world premiere as the Closing Night film for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Walter’s film evokes the loneliness of returning to a home you no longer recognize or a home that does not recognize you.

 

EMPTY BY DESIGN

Fri, May 10, 7PM

Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center

1000 W Olympic Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90015

 

BUY TICKETS HERE:

https://laapff2019.eventive.org/schedule/empty-by-design-5ca076743b07ca002f7ca101

 

PARENTALS & #LIFE

PARENTALS highlights how parents and children take on the complexities of today’s world. This shorts program features MANILA IS FULL OF MEN NAMED BOY by Andrew Stephen Lee. In this film as Michael Jackson’s televised funeral plays throughout The Philippines despite terrorist attacks in the south, an estranged son purchases a child who can drink and smoke to impress his father. However, what determines who is more valuable of attention?

PARENTALS

Weds, May 8, 6:30PM

Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center

1000 W Olympic Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90015

 

BUY TICKETS HERE:

https://laapff2019.eventive.org/schedule/parentals-shorts-program-5ca503c34f00bf002f194838

 

#LIFE is a cinematic invitation to step into contemporary perspectives on family, culture, and career. This shorts program features HALO-HALO by Bernard Badion where a man on a deadline at work is incapacitated by the thought that he may have met the love of his life earlier that day, but has no idea how to find her.

 

#LIFE

Thurs, May 9, 8:45PM

Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center

1000 W Olympic Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90015

 

BUY TICKETS HERE:

https://laapff2019.eventive.org/schedule/life-shorts-program-5ca50a011da54700235ba0f2

 

OMENG SATANASIA

What film has a satanic dance number, singing angels, perilous escapes, bawdy humour, and a rough and tumble fight scene? The  visual mind trip of a film OMENG SATANASIA, starring the ‘King of Comedy’ Dolphy. OMENG SATANASIA combines the golden era Philippine Cinema of the ‘70s and ‘80s with the prolific entertainers comedic stylings. ABS-CBN has restored this 35mm FUJIFILM so that we can director Frank Gray Jr’s work with our 2019 lens. This screening is free, however tickets are required. Reserve your tickets today!

 

OMENG SATANASIA

Weds, May 8, 8:30PM

Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center

1000 W Olympic Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90015

 

BUY TICKETS HERE:

https://laapff2019.eventive.org/schedule/omeng-satanasia-5ca50d71c954d80029f3bc00

 

JOURNEY TO IFUGAO

 

JOURNEY TO IFUGAO follows five Filipino artists and healers as they travel from Los Angeles to the Philippines on a spiritual quest for their identities and indigenous roots. Directed by Nicanor Evangelista, the cast and crew traverse to a village in Ifugao where they learn life lessons communing with nature and the essence of their homeland. If you’d like to continue to support Nicanor’s work, you can cop Ginto Seeds apparel! (https://gintoseeds.com/)

 

JOURNEY TO IFUGAO

Weds, May 8, 6:45pm

Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center

1000 W Olympic Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90015

 

BUY TICKETS HERE:

https://laapff2019.eventive.org/schedule/journey-to-ifugao-5ca076743b07ca002f7ca119

I Gotchu Fam, Always

 

I Gotchu Fam, Always is a shorts program where folks will see the likes of Tess Paras make her directorial debut in THE PATIENTS, the Academy award nominated short WEEKENDS by Trevor Jimenez, and you’ll see formal TFALpodcast guests Christine Balance and Geo Quibuyen make an appearance in Robert Karimi’s Lumpia Campesina. Get your tickets today!

THE PATIENTS

After a “bad fight” with her boyfriend, Filipina-American party girl Regina Ramos ends up in the ER where her Dad works. When her family rushes to her aid, they stumble to connect as a trending topic becomes a real-life issue that affects them all.

WEEKENDS

A young boy shuffles between the homes of his recently divorced parents. Surreal, dream-like moments mix with the domestic realities of a broken up family in this hand-animated film set in 1980’s Toronto.

Lumpia Campesina

Mero Cocinero, traces his love for lumpia by taking us back to a birthday party where he faces the awkwardness and isolation of being the only Iranian-Guatemalan in attendance. While the DJ spins 80s dance hits, young Mero learns how to transform his alienation into a recipe for empowerment.

 

I Gotchu Fam, Always

Sun, May 5, 7PM

Downtown Independent

251 S Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

 

BUY TICKETS HERE:

https://laapff2019.eventive.org/schedule/i-gotchu-fam-always-shorts-program-5ca3f99da758630023831841

 

NO DATA PLAN

NO DATA PLAN by Mike Revereza makes its west coast premiere at LAAPFF. Named as one of 2018’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film to Watch,” Revereza challenges formal tropes of filmmaking while amplifying the voices of the underrepresented. The unconventional travelogue chronicles Revereza’s life as he uses whatever is available (camera, phone, etc) to traverse through the immigration landscape of the US.

 

NO DATA PLAN

Sun, May 5, 5pm

Downtown Independent

251 S Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

 

BUY TICKETS HERE:

https://laapff2019.eventive.org/schedule/no-data-plan-5ca076743b07ca002f7ca11d

 

Counterflow: Currents in New Filipina/o Music

 

Check out this visual mixtape curated by former TFALpodcast guest Joel Quizon! Counterflow is an experience that features shorts from Philippine artists redefining and reworking the contemporary Filipina/o music landscape.

Counterflow: Currents in New Filipina/o Music

Sat, May 4, 9PM

Downtown Independent

251 S Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

 

BUY TICKETS HERE:

https://laapff2019.eventive.org/schedule/counterflow-currents-in-new-filipina-o-music-shorts-program-5ca3f0bba098b2002f7f64e3

 

EERIE

EERIE is set at Saint Lucia Academy for Girls, which is plagued by the ghost of a student who died under mysterious and tragic circumstances. The NEOMANILA & BIRDSHOT director returns to the screen with his play on Filipino mythology that uses supernatural characters that Filipinos may find familiar (mumus, aswangs, and dwendes oh my!). Horror fans will clamor for Mikhail Red’s take on the genre.

 

EERIE

Friday, May 3, 9:30pm

Downtown Independent

251 S Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

 

BUY TICKETS HERE:

https://laapff2019.eventive.org/schedule/eerie-5ca076743b07ca002f7ca125