NYAFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Here and There’

NYAFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Here and There’

Set in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Here and There begins with Len (Janine Gutierrez), an opinionated young woman who is stuck at home as a result of the country’s cautionary steps against the virus. Len spends her days chatting with her friends online and they introduce her to their friend, Caloy (JC Santos). Caloy and Len instantly butt heads over social issues yet there is definitely chemistry between them. The two begin to come together emotionally. And they struggle to find ways to actually get together physically as the pandemic becomes their greatest obstacle.

Directed by JP Habac, Here and There is an enjoyable romantic drama that feels authentic in its intention. This is neither a documentary nor a fantastical romcom. Instead, it merely feels like a slice of life. One that many of us have experienced over the last year and a half. Rather than simply use the pandemic as the backdrop, Habac incorporates it into the story beautifully. Days grow into months and the film shows how the characters have a greater desire to be together.

With this in mind, the most interesting aspect of Here and There is its presentation of social media at a time of distancing. Rather than spend the film on screens, There transports those who chatting together into the room physically, removing the barriers that exist due to social networking. In doing so, the film visually depicts our digital relationships. It reimagines the experiences we’ve had over the past year. This film does this while still idealizing the opportunity to be together physically. While we all had to adapt ourselves to view our screen time as healthy connections, There never lets us forget that the most intimate form of interaction remains being in the room together.

This post was written by
Born at a very early age, Steve is a Toronto-based writer and podcaster who loves to listen to what matters to our culture on screen. When he first saw Indiana Jones steal the cross of Coronado, he knew his world would never be the same and, since then, he’s found more and more excuses to digest what’s in front of him onscreen. Also, having worked as a youth and community minister for almost 20 years, he learned that stories help everyone engage the world around them. He’s a proud hubby, father (x2) and believes that Citizen Kane, Batman Forever (yes, the Kilmer one), and The Social Network belong in the same conversation. You can hear his ramblings on ScreenFish Radio wherever podcasts are gettable or at his website, ScreenFish.net.
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