“Kita Kita (I See You)” is the latest from Filipino director Sigrid Andrea Bernardo that breaks away from some rom-com conventions within the beauty of Sapporo, Japan.

Lea (Alessandra de Rossi, “Langit Lupa”) was a content tour guide until she found her Japanese fiancé having a date with a fellow Filipina. Soon after she broke off their engagement, she felt faint and collapsed on the Sapporo sidewalk. When she came to, she could not see due to the temporary blindness she got from stress. Not being able to go around town and work, Lea became a hermit at home who sulked in her sadness. It was when a new tenant joined the neighborhood did things slowly changed for her. Lea was hesitant on conversing with Tonyo (Empoy Marquez, “Bloody Crayons”), another Filipino OFW (overseas foreign worker) but soften after hearing that he wanted to be familiar with the city and kindly gave her food every day. She finally offered him a tour with him as her eyes. As the two explored Sapporo, something sparked within them but it was up to Lea if her hurt heart was ready to let someone else inside.

Though it was overall a Pinoy movie, it showcased what life in Japan might be as a foreign resident. It also featured a city that not many would add to their itinerary when visiting the country. As Lea and Tonyo travelled from one location to another, the audience could also enjoy the area like a guided tourist without having to buy a plane ticket. While “Kita Kita” was a bigger project compared to Director Bernardo’s previous films, it didn’t follow many of the trends of mainstream Filipino romantic comedies. It was a simple story that carried a lot of emotion without the need for very dramatic and boisterous personalities. It still contained a lot of puns but they didn’t dissuade viewers away from the movie. However, the big revelation within the last third of the film definitely made “Kita Kita” a standout from those within the same genre. It was something that those that like unusual foreign rom-coms will want to see.

For information on the City of Sapporo, go to its global website. To read more on the film and check out some similar recommendations, visit the San Diego Asian Film Festival’s page. Follow Pacific Arts Movement to find out what other events they will be hosting.