By ADRIAN PAUL L. TAÑEDO
TECHNOLOGY is a helpful medium for communicating with the ones we love. In a matter of seconds, people are able to convey feelings of intimacy and endearment condensed in chunks of data through messages. However, technology does not come without a limitation; it is prone to malfunctions, therefore sometimes failing to serve its most important purpose, which is to bring us closer to the people we care for. For the youth, problems with online communication also means problems for romance.
Directed by Jun Robles Lana, Ang Babaeng Allergic Sa Wi-Fi is an entry to this year’s Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino which tackles the reliance of modern relationships on technology. The film shows just how fragile bonds can become when online communication is taken away, and how a constant, genuine effort for the subject of one’s love trumps the ease and convenience of sending digital messages any day.
The story revolves around Norma (Sue Ramirez) who is diagnosed with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, a condition rendering her unable to live with technology. Merely being exposed to wifi is enough to make her nose bleed and weaken her entire body. Her condition dramatically affects her relationship with her boyfriend, Leo (Markus Paterson), as it rips her away from the world they previously shared. Thus, she has no choice but to move in with her grandmother in a house far away from the modern world and technology.
Unbeknownst to Norma, Aries (Jameson Blake), the younger brother of Leo, slowly starts falling in love with her because of her bright smile, beauty, and bubbly personality.
Due to her new living arrangements, Norma has no means of contacting Leo; Leo meanwhile makes no effort to visit her. The love that the two have for each other begins to whittle and soon enough, this rift enables Norma to realize that it was Aries’ various efforts to cheer her up that helped her withstand the drastic change in her lifestyle. Norma then realizes that the love she truly desires is that of Aries’, which is consistent and stable.
The film attempts to deliver a pragmatic message: technology will never beat the feeling of being physically beside a loved one. The film also tackles the unhealthy reliance of modern romances on online communication. It raises the question of what would happen to people’s relationships if technology was not involved. This idea is established by comparing Leo and Aries: Leo portrays a love that is unstable or vulnerable to factors such as lack of time and great distance. Aries, on the other hand, manifests a love that is nurtured by constant effort, surpassing the virtual love that devices bring.
The film utilizes vibrant colors that are apparent in the multicolored school and the verdant surroundings of the house of Norma’s grandmother, which help bring a feeling of ease to the viewers. The film’s light mood is induced by the numerous interactions among the characters such as Norma and Aries’ sweet and playful moments together, as well as Aries’ hilarious rebuttals with his best friend, Macha.
Although a romantic film, Ang Babaeng Allergic Sa Wi-Fi also highlights the value of asking for and giving forgiveness, like when Leo and Aries apologized to each other on their ride back home from the bar that Leo was drinking at. This is further shown when conflicting characters decide to forgive each other as a way to bring back the peace among them.
Finally, the film evinces the importance of being vocal about one’s true feelings. The plot consistently revolved around the concept of people making time and exerting effort for someone they truly love. The film also reaffirms the reality that people will come and go, so they must learn to say how they truly feel without an ounce of regret. F