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Saving Sally: Seeing Rarity in the Familiar

Poster grabbed from Saving Sally Facebook page
Poster grabbed from Saving Sally Facebook page

MANY FILMS labeled as “romantic” commonly include at least one of the characters directly saying the words “I love you” as it makes use of intimate physical contact between the couple to justify the concept of love in the story. Saving Sally, however, introduces a new take on the idea of romance by showing the incommunicability of the person’s feelings for his beloved. It presents how voicing out the supposedly simple three-word confession is made complicated, and thus, carries more depth as shown in the lover’s actions to communicate his love non-verbally.

In the eyes of Marty (Enzo Marcos), an aspiring comic book artist, nothing is ever simple. Marty visualizes the world as if he were in a graphic novel, in which people are monsters and he himself being the hero of the story. Sally (Rhian Ramos) is his innovative childhood friend with a hobby of creating bizarre gadgets. The love story evolves from a mere childhood crush into a love triangle that then becomes an adventure to save Sally from the “monsters” she cannot escape from alone. The straightforwardness and familiarity of the narrative makes the film relatable to young audience, but also has an element of nostalgia for the adults.

Directed by Avid Liongoren, Saving Sally took more than a decade of hard work comprising of filming, refilming, and animating. The young-adult romantic film blooms into a futuristic blend of live action and 2D animation which gives the viewers a refreshing cinematic experience. Its normalization of the English language as the characters’ medium of communication further emphasizes that the setting of the film is indeed futuristic, in which hierarchy in language does not exist. Despite the use of a western language, the film is still considered naturally Filipino with its witty wordplay. For instance, there are punned names of places that Filipinos would undoubtedly be able to understand such as a shopping center called TukMall and a children’s park named Sandara.

Through its complex cinematography, Saving Sally recreates the concept of a romantic film with the use of both the typical and non-typical. It communicates to the audience like a folded love letter, but sends it flying to them like Sally’s rocket instead of a paper plane. DIANNE ALYSSA A. AGUIRRE

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