1ST KO SI 3RD (2014) opens with an extreme close-up of crystal-like morning dews and of orange sunrises over a fresh, green, dreamlike meadow – ironically setting a stage for an hour and half of senior moments, forgotten promises, unbearable regrets and final realisations. Though it delivers the fun it promises in its teasers and the momentary thrill of remembering an iconic love team, it tries to be too broad and misses so much in it’s totality.
Corazon Bautista (Nova Villa) retires at 65, and with a new chapter comes new struggles. Cory, who has been used to decades of routines and unending clerical jobs, now faces the inevitable boredom of retirement. Her husband, Andong (Dante Rivero), silently observes Cory’s painful adaptation to her new life. This continues on until a former love comes along. Third (Freddie Webb), Cory’s first love some forty years ago came back to visit his hometown. Now divorced and already relieved of his parental responsibilities, Third goes back to reconnect with Cory for old times sake.
Director Real Florido didn’t miss to put in the visual magic in his Cinemalaya entry. As he revives our yesterdelights of the Freddi-Nova love team of the 80s, he also brings a colourful, yet bittersweet world of the old, the forgotten and the dying. In 1st Ko Si 3rd, he presents a world of inevitable sighs after a lifelong of search for happiness, that has been embracing us with all along without us knowing. In 1st, Florido experiments brilliantly with the magic of cinematic sound, and mixes it with his plot as it develops; a feat I first experienced in Cinemalaya.
Villa as Corazon Bautista proves her worth as an actress. She can punch big jokes, but can still command silent laughs. Here, Villa has scenes so intense, it’s like seeing a new actress taking form before our eyes.
But the film tries to cover too much issues that it makes the plot too broad, and its character’s goals too vague. It tends to drag at some point. but the director surprises you with a few laughs, that you unconsciously cut that yawn.
It’s more of a movie about growing old, than a love story that the title promises. If you’re rooting for a romantic comedy, this will disappoint you. It’s an exploration of what Erickson calls, Integrity vs. Despair. It tackles the psychology of old age, and how such character continues to survives the unending battle against self. But then again, you realise that this exploration, this thesis, takes us to a journey that is more profound, more real.
1st Ko Si 3rd may have been too preachy, too ambitious, too slow, but it’s final point takes you back to an understanding that life may be about your FIRSTs, but then again, your LASTs may prove more worthy and may very well define who you are.
3 STARS OUT OF 5.