Notes on Kita Kita

Kita Kita
I See You
Director: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Writer: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Stars: Alessandra de Rossi, Empoy Marquez
A blind woman falls in love with a man who uses kindness and humor to make a connection with her.


1. I had reservations about watching this movie. I haven’t read a synopsis, a blurb, nor a review. I wasn’t interested. I was never one for watching Filipino movies at the theaters. I just wait for them to be shown on TV. 

Everyone in my Facebook timeline was all going “Watch this! It’s so cute! All the feels! I want an Tonyo in my life!” I snorted over a meme which played with title: “Kita kita hit Kita Kita kita kita la.” It roughly translates to: “Let’s watch Kita Kita. Just us.” 

It wasn’t until a friend told me that it was set in Sapporo that the film got my attention… as well as her telling me something about “ashiyu” which turns out to be a play on I see you. I thought further and finally remembered my Japanese: 足湯. 

2. Major points for location. The reason why I watched it in the first place, Kita Kita deserves major points for setting this in a must-travel country albeit in a city not as popular as Tokyo or Osaka. Sapporo-shi, located in the largest prefecture, Hokkaido, is on my list of places to see when I go to Japan again. 

Sapporo, and Hokkaido in general, has the charm and sense of adventure that comes when you hear about traveling to Japan. What drew me were the scenes that were filmed outside the city - the locations reminded me of New Zealand, a mecca for filming tourists itself. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Sapporo has an increase in the number of Filipino tourists in the next year or so. 

3. The main focus, romance, lives up to its hype. I found it cheesy, I found it corny. I couldn’t help snorting at the cheesy one-liners and slapping my forehead in secondhand embarrassment. 

I found the heart and banana scenes cute and giggles-inducing*. They were light-hearted and ones I usually like about romantic-comedies. The upfront conversations and situations about life and love between Lea and Tonyo laced with humor provided the fuel that kept this film going. 

* Yet, for me, I don’t think that the relationship between those two was at that deep love level yet. Strong friendship on the way to that ibang (other) level romance to the max. 

4. One element I found disturbing and that was the stalking. Call it dedicated, call it “all in the name of love”; it was still stalking. 

Before it was revealed that Tonyo actually followed her everywhere, approaching her quite respectfully and trying to connect with her as a fellow kababayan (countryman) painted a picture of what Filipinos abroad are facing everyday what with how they’re away from their homeland. 

But when he started leaning quite close, touching unnecessarily, and trying to hug her when a blind Lea was clearly uncomfortable… BIG NO. 

Someone posed a question on whether, if Tonyo had been handsome, the stalking and the touching would be alright then. NO MEANS NO be he or she looks like blue cheese or molten chocolate cake. 

5. But there was something more important than romance. In a review for the local newspaper, Inquirer, Don Balmes expounds about a sociological perspective of the film: on the plight of the Overseas Filipino Workers, identity, disability and vulnerability, and relations. It is a piece worth a read and the insightful points are more significant and what we should take away and ponder after we watch Kita Kita.

BUT 

Stalking is not cool.

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