When the trailer was presented at the Cinemalaya 2020 press con, I also received the posters of all the short films. The first one that sparked my interest is Tokwifi. No, not tok- wai-fai. Tok-wee-fee which means star, a short film where a 1950s mestiza star, trapped inside a television that fell from the sky, dreams up a romantic romp with a Bontok Igorot man who does not know how to kiss.
(Star, pronounced “tok-wee-fee”)
By Carla Pulido Ocampo
Short Feature Category
SYNOPSIS: As Limmayug carries firewood back to his home village, something falls from the sky – a 1950s television with a hysterical showbiz star, named Laura Blancaflor, trapped inside it. The frightened man saves the television – nay, saves Laura – from the flames of the impact. Worlds apart in their language and methods, the two try their best to engage each other. But for Limmayug, an indigenous man from an off-the-grid mountain town, Laura’s TV talk seems too contrived and finds her even uncontrollably tactless during commercial breaks.
I had a good feeling with Tokwifi and now I’m pleased that I was able to get that affirmation. Filmmaker Carla Pulido Ocampo’s Tokwifi is indeed a masterpiece. I can’t even point out which scene is my favourite because every scene is needed and is a work of art.
That is why I encourage you to watch this short film before the Cinemlaya 2020 ends. Who knows when you’ll be able to see this!
But I have to admit I wish it was longer. A mini-series, perhaps? Both characters are strong and relatable that I have gowned to love them even if the film lasted for only 20 minutes.
In addition, Tokwifi presented some interesting issues. What does the girl in the television remind you of? What does Limmayug remind you of?
In a world where streaming is normal, don’t you just see yourself in Limmayug’s place? You’re there in front of the screen (tv, laptop, or phone) watching a series in another country. A Spanish soap opera? A K-drama? Either which you won’t understand their language but you try to. And with the help of the subtitle or a little Googling, you finally get the idea.
Our leads didn’t have those means but it wasn’t a hindrance as they still found a way to understand each other. Love itself is a language between two people willing to break the barrier.
But there is also a dark side to beautiful fantasy and that is being over-generalised or stereotyped. How are men and women; not to mention, their preference or culture portrayed on television? Are they all truly like that? Again, someone has to break the barrier to convey the right message.
I believe Tokwifi was able to transmit it loud and clear.
Tokwifi 10/10 IMDb.