Alessandra de Rossi and Empoy Marquez star in the quirky Kita Kita. While the movie shines with the leads’ unexpected chemistry, the second half of the movie tries too hard to tug the audience’s heartstrings, to the point that it appears almost desperate.
In terms of the cinematography, there is not really much to complain. It has the same muted colors typical of recent Filipino indie movies, which makes it very easy on the eyes to watch. The movie makes excellent use of the Sapporo setting. What Linklater does with European cities in the Before series and Jadaone does with Sagada in That Thing Called Tadhana, Kita Kita also does with Sapporo, Japan. The setting acts as a third character in the city, associating every interaction between the characters in different locations in the city.
The first half of the film focuses on the Lea’s (de Rossi) blindness and eventual friendship with her new neighbor Tonyo (Marquez). Only watching the first half, I would have put it in the same category as Jadaone’s Tadhana, that is, in the pile of great Pinoy indie rom-coms. However, the second half of the film, focusing on Tonyo’s story, greatly pulls Kita Kita from greatness down to mediocrity.
The second half of the film tries to explain elements from the first half of the film, which proves to be quite boring since we essentially have to watch the same scenes twice from two different viewpoints. I also have some issue with how the narrative of the movie springs out of a sequence of events that is very unlikely to happen and that the love story isn’t organic and has a questionable (and quite creepy) reason behind it. Without spoiling, the movie tries way too hard to make the audience cry.
Judging from the reviews, Kita Kita proved to be an effective rom-com for many, but I disagree. The first half alone would probably net it 4 stars, but the second half brings it way down significantly.