A Nostalgic & Coming-of-Age Story: Thoughts on 100 Tula Para Kay Stella

One of the 12 films shown during the first-ever Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines is Jason Paul Laxamana’s 100 Tula Para Kay Stella.

At first, I wasn’t interested in this entry. When I saw the trailer, I was a bit thrown off by the first two seconds where Bela Padilla (Stella) is channeling her inner rocker. There’s nothing wrong with that. The reason I dislike it is I’ve seen way too many films with that character during my college film days. But the moment the guy says that he has a speech defect I knew this film is going to offer something different.

And it certainly did!

100 Tula Para Kay Stella
Directed and Written by: Jason Paul Laxamana

Throughout his four years in college, Fidel, a stuttering student, tries to finish 100 poems dedicated to Stella, an aspiring but frustrated rock star, to win her heart.

The film starts at the beginning of the School Year 2004 – 2005, Fidel’s first year in college. Like any school, the first day is dedicated to getting to know the professor and the students. In one class, it was Fidel’s turn to do so. To help him speak and cover the fact that he has speech defect, he prepared a couple of cue cards. But as soon as he was asked about his interests and hobbies, Fidel was caught off guard revealing his secret.

Though that incident led to students making fun of him, that encounter also led to his inspiration. The professor who asked about Fidel’s interests and hobbies happens to be the Faculty Advisor of The Seedling, the school’s publication. She asked if he could submit a poem about anything that inspires him.

“Anything that inspires you.”

He tries to write but was unsuccessful. When Freshie’s Night came, he met Stella, the person who showed him kindness and the inspiration behind his first poem.

Babaeng Nakaitim Na Lipstick
Itim ang lipstick niya
Subalit mabait siya
Sadya akong namangha
Sa angkin niyang… ganda?

As he gets closer and their friendship deepens, he soon writes more and more poems with her in mind.

Sa ilalim ng lipstick na itim
Ay kulay rosas na mga labi,
Astig pa rin siya sa paningin
Patuloy na namumukod-tangi

What I like about 100 Tula Para Kay Stella is their take on both sides of college life and life in general. It is, after all, the time where a person discovers and understands himself.

“Kailangan mong mamili: pag-aaral o pagbabanda?”

Take Fidel, for instance. Though Stella never left his mind, he continued life in school and experienced the “college life”. Stella, on the other hand, was blinded by her dream. She kept looking straight ignoring the signs making her loose sight of what’s important. But in the end, both characters acknowledged the emotions and mistakes they committed helping them accept everything that happened.

100 Tula Para Kay Stella successfully delivered each characters’ journey. Though there were some sudden shifts in the film’s tone, I didn’t mind it at all because that’s how life truly is. One day, you’re happy. The next, you’re angry at everyone and life starts to loose meaning.

Another thing I like is the non-stop nostalgia. I wasn’t in college yet but I do remember that 2004 was indeed a good year for Pinoy Rock Bands and Nokia phones. I believe it’s the perfect setting for 100 Tula Para Kay Stella. 8/10 IMDb

Photo Credit: Image from 100 Tula Para Kay Stella’s Official Facebook Page
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