DISCLAIMER: This post is not written by me, it is written from CNN Philippines’ Jansen Musico.
Avid Liongoren’s “Saving Sally” is a product of persistence. It’s been 14 years since Charlene Sawit-Esguerra wrote the short story that inspired it, 11 since they first wrapped up production with actress Anna Larrucea playing the titular Sally, and 10 since Rhian Ramos took over the role. The story of its protracted production is remarkable, but is the film really worth all that time and sacrifice?
At the core of “Saving Sally” is a seemingly simple story. Marty (Enzo Marcos), a budding comic book artist, sparks a friendship with Sally (Ramos), a spunky inventor with a lot of personal baggage. Marty develops romantic feelings for Sally but quells them in fear of losing her friendship. Although it has all the ingredients of a cute and angsty teenage love story, it’s anything but one. Below the surface, it’s also a story of a strong girl who builds from scraps and fights for her salvation, and a boy so absorbed in his own meanderings that he delays lending a helping hand.
Liongoren’s characters are very complex, and the hand-drawn world around them, far more intricate. He has created an animated realm which he utilizes to personify how Marty views the world. Everything he treasures, the things he finds familiar and comforting, appears in live action: his room, his parents, Sally, and the comic shop they claim their own. And then everything he deems wretched are drawn as monsters, the most intimidating of which are Sally’s dick of a boyfriend (TJ Trinidad) and abusive parents (Shamaine Buencamino and Archie Adamos). Liongoren takes care in personifying these antagonists. They are not always in 2D. In moments of decency, they appear corporeal and human.
This attention to detail is laudable. It is something that, given the length of time this was produced, should be required. And Liongoren and his team do not disappoint. It’s evident in the character designs and color-coded costumes, in the depth of the space they’ve filled in, in the seamlessness of the scene transitions which make use of pans, zooms, and tilts instead of the regular cut-to-cut to navigate through scenes. These components make the initially discordant use of English as the characters’ main vernacular negligible in the long run. The film’s true genius, though, is in moments of Marty’s wordless introspections, when the animation is let alone by itself, demanding its audience to soak in the wealth of symbols presented in front of them. Yet the film teeters on a thin line, trying to balance exhausted tropes like the manic pixie dream girl and the friend zone, with a time capsule of pop culture references that bring forth a giddy sense of nostalgia to older viewers.
Filipinos have not been too kind to full-length home-grown animated films in recent past. Previous MMFF entries like “Dayo” (2008) and “RPG Metanoia” (2010) may have enjoyed some critical nods, but they did not make enough in the box office to break even. The gripe is often the same. Many viewers are stuck with comparing the films to their Pixar and Disney contemporaries. It’s an unfair exercise. Doing that again would be a great disservice to “Saving Sally,” when the film has zero aspirations of becoming the next “Frozen.”
“Saving Sally” is a triumph, regardless of the support it may or may not receive. It champions Filipino comics and animation. It tackles domestic abuse with care and presents a solution minus the tiring melodrama normally attached to such a subject. Most importantly, it is living proof that persistence coupled with talent pays off. As much as it is about saving Sally, the person truly redeemed by all this is Liongoren himself, who never gave up on a dream.
MY REVIEW and MY THOUGHTS:
In the review of #Saving Sally, after 14 years of written and concept this short story. Just like English Class in a Movie Review. A little thing to show what to draw and what to do. In this film that we should I am what aspiring to make these. It is written in a short story in 2002 and now it became a Film. That is could be Inspiring Moments that touch our lives.
Big dreams do come true for the years to come, Saving Sally is really efforts and time past. It is true that we could anything. In this film for a triumph by drawing in 2D just like Dayo in 2008. That I could be explained about #SavingSally for a leaving things to do.
RATING: Actually, efforts are perfect than the perfect drawing. Cinema Evaluation Board says: “The Visuals are Simply Amazing”. I give you perfect 10 for perfect film.
From CNN Philippines Life: http://cnnphilippines.com/life/entertainment/film/2016/12/27/mmff-reviews-part-1.html
Avid Liongoren / Youtube