'1st Ko Si 3rd' radiates with life lessons and the splendor of Nova Villa

3:17 PM

I was rushing to the CCP when I bumped into a friend. She was asking where I am heading on a very bad weather. "I can't watch the movies there. They are so graphic and problematic," she said when I told her I was about to watch some entries of this year's Cinemalaya. I can't blame her. However, we've seen the festival transform from being unapologetic and radical to being smart and beautiful. Well, at least for some entries. So, I shared to her one of this year's films which I know she would love. Something that is cheerfully sentimental. 

1st Ko Si 3rd is about Cory, a retiree who is reunited with her first love. But being already married, she balances her way to go for happiness without sacrificing what's right. Nova Villa is on her first big screen lead role and her love team with Freddie Webb is back after a long time. 

You would expect a colored version of a 70's romance film from Sampaguita Pictures. But let me assure you, it's not. However, if you were already alive during that era, you shall embrace this film in full nostalgia. In my case where my best memory of Nova Villa is being Aling Ason in Home Along Da Riles, I felt my love for this woman once again after a long time. I missed her. 

That could be one of the film's main selling points. It takes you back to the less complicated days of your life. Those nights when you're ready to watch their sitcom after sharing dinner with the family. Then our lead is there. Someone familiar but after so many nights of comic silliness on the boob tube, she is still capable of giving us something that we may have not seen in her before. It's the channeling of different emotions flashed in an instant: bored, irritated, amused, in love, confusion, regret and satisfaction.

As simple and light as the mood of the film is, there is no need for an extravagant camera work. But the shots here are pleasant. There are the sepia flashback moments and that romantic scene during Cory and Third's reunion in a coffee shop. However, the most amazing are Villa's close-ups. Her facial expressions were sublime to dictate the whole journey of the story and enough to capture the audience's attention on what could have been boring scenes. 

Although I found it unacceptable why it took Cory and Third almost 50 years to talk again after she met an accident and failed to go with him to their school's dance, the film had fate to support it. They were so in love with each other that one unfortunate evening could not let them wait for five decades to be reunited. We can easily move on from this slant, however, and we have Nova Villa once again to thank for entertaining and destructing us from this inaccuracy.

While the young Cory had zero resemblance to Villa (looks and acting, altogether) Ken Chan, the young Third, was charming. The sepia parts were his moments, something that Freddie Webb failed to copy. Or maybe we can blame age for the dissimilarities between them. Dante Rivero, on the other hand, was steady but his character is very important. He is the representation of selflessness and patience. 

In a festival full of heavy and dark materials, it's nice to find a beautiful respite in 1st Ko Si 3rd. Just like with how Cory used Facebook to communicate with Third, the film is an example that conventional storytelling can still work in a generation bombarded with rabid creativity. How it appealed to me though is that life lesson that never grows old: choosing what is right. 

P.S. Yes, Nova Villa and Rihanna can be in one film. :) 

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