Cinemalaya 2020: ‘Tokwifi’ Review

TOKWIFI Poster2Carla Pulido Ocampo’s Tokwifi (Star) had one of the most interesting concepts in this year’s Cinemalaya Festival. I was not surprised that it was adjudged as the Best Film in this year’s awards. It successfully melded together all of the elements of a good film, and managed to take audience into a fantastic journey for the better part of 20 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: As Limmayug carries firewood back to his home village, something falls from the sky – a 1950s television with a hysterical showbiz star, named Laura Blancaflor, trapped inside it. The frightened man saves the television – nay, saves Laura – from the flames of the impact. Worlds apart in their language and methods, the two try their best to engage each other. But for Limmayug, an indigenous man from an off-the-grid mountain town, Laura’s TV talk seems too contrived and finds her even uncontrollably tactless during commercial breaks.

Tokwifi was not the first film to explore the parallels of two worlds, but it was one of the most successful in delivering a film of this genre.

Tokwifi showcased the life of of a native Igorot and a city woman, an actress trapped a television set that literally fell from the sky.

Throughout their brief interaction,  Tokwifi effectively highlighted the difference in the way of life of two people who live on opposite ends of the country.  In their attitudes and values, in their appearance, in their views in life. They spoke different languages, Limmayug and Laura. They only understood each other through actions but they had a fascination for each other that connected them despite the literal and figurative barriers that separated them.

In this sense, the two central characters seemed to reflect our present experiences as well as we consume the media that is readily accessible to us from all around the world.

The film’s cinematography was was visually arresting — the framing, the colors, the contrasts. The film’s cast was charming and engaging.  It only ran for  minutes but it will linger in your memory for far longer because of its beauty and innocence.