Review: Pandemic-set “Dito at Doon” is a worthwhile and relatable watch

Apr 3, 2021
Dito at Doon JP Habac Janine Gutierrez JC Santos

JP Habac’s Dito at Doon sets its love story in the early days of the community lockdown in the Philippines.

It was March 2020 when the COVID-19 was touted as a pandemic, and the number of cases is on a rapid rise. People are trying to adjust to a set-up that mandated them to lock themselves at home, with physical interactions being enforced to ensure social distancing.

Dito at Doon JP Habac Janine Gutierrez

We get to see this period realized onscreen through the eyes of Len (Janine Gutierrez) and Caloy (JC Santos), two strangers who met through a friend’s virtual drinking session. With the lack of people to talk to, the two developed instant chemistry and would eventually catch up regularly and remotely. Given their current limitations, communication had to be done through chat messages and video-sharing applications on their mobile phones.

While the events of Dito at Doon happened a year ago, the film felt like it was captured later. We still yearn for that personal touch, the feeling of togetherness. We still feel the anxiety of just being tired and running out of authority to be free again. Habac’s film captured that, at least the feeling of it.

Dito at Doon JP Habac Janine Gutierrez JC Santos

Dito at Doon also wisely uses its medium to seamlessly transform online conversations into face-to-face interactions, having its characters’ video conferences magically create a shared physical space. It’s a charming framing device that rings differently in the time of the pandemic.

While mostly a romance film, the film works better when Len and Caloy dealt with their struggles. Maybe, it’s the fact that their larger obstacles felt much more important and urgent, or just the actors (Gutierrez and Santos) working better with a more difficult conflict.

Dito at Doon is a decent entry to what may be a long list of love stories set in the pandemic. While many would argue that the film had come sooner, especially at a period where our real environment carries the same struggles, it was able to touch on something worthwhile and relatable. 

Dito at Doon JP Habac Janine Gutierrez JC Santos

Dito at Doon is now available for streaming at Cinema '76 at Home, KTX.ph, Ticket2Me, and iWantTF.

Comments

  1. The color correction during the kilig video calls is inconsistent. It is later revealed by the filmmakers that this is intentional to evoke the sense of being in different settings: soft, warm for her and harsh, cool for him. Yes, it’s confusing.

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