“Camp Sawi” revolves around a fictional retreat resort located in Bantayan Island, Cebu wherein guests can stay and join in activities that can aide them from moving on from their heartbreak. The movie focuses on the heartbreak of five women namely Bridgette (Bela Padilla), Gwen (Arci Munoz), Jessica (Yassi Pressman), Joanne (Kim Molina) and Clarissa (Andi Eigenmann), their coping process and how they eventually moved on.
Going in, I was expecting it to be a tacky hugotfest; hugot lines turned into punch lines to romanticize heartbreak. Fortunately it wasn’t like that. Camp Sawi was honestly interested in exploring the grieving and recovery process of each of the camp participants. The movie spent time in expounding the backstories of each woman to make it easier for the audiences to understand their present coping mechanisms. Overall, the movie’s introspective intention was refreshing, even though it did make its tone heavy.
Peppered throughout the movie were laugh out comedy scenes that inject the needed energy to its somber mood. Jerald Napoles once again proved why he’s the most impactful comedian (scenes over audience reaction) in local film. The nuanced weirdness of his characters have always been scene stealers since English, Only Please.
Sadly, the focus on the five main characters came at the expense of fleshing out the other parts of the story. I was interested on Sam Milby’s motivations in creating Camp Sawi but it was not at all explained in the movie. Was Sam honestly concerned in helping the girls to move on or was he just in it to swoop vulnerable girls off their feet? That could have helped the audience to have a better appreciation of the context because, honestly, he’s basically the Professor X of Camp Sawi. (On second thought, was Sam the really owner of the camp? Maybe he disposed of the real owner to take advantage of the women????)
In addition, the film had difficulty in cleanly weaving the different storylines of the protagonists. Transition was sometimes abrupt and too often that made the flow incoherent. The last ten minutes were especially confusing as the film presented what happened to each character after the camp.
Overall, Camp Sawi’s concept and intentions were honest and refreshing, but just fell short with its execution.
Shout Outs, Call Outs and Watch Outs:
- There were some promising movies based on the reel of trailers they showed before the movie
- Alessandra de Rossi and Empoy Marquez’s “Kita Kita” seems to be an unorthodox romcom. I’ve been an advocate of Empoy for years to be the heir to the late Tado’s throne. I hope the film can rightfully showcase Empoy’s talent. Also, nice casting of Alessandra. She seems to be the actress that can manage and match Empoy’s alt-humor.
- Bela Padilla’s “I America” also shows promise. A tale of a fil-am woman played by Bela Padilla who tries to connect with her absentee american father.
- The Runner-up to the Jerald Napoles Scene Stealer award goes to Rico Blanco for his break-up song. He still has the moves!
- I’m pretty sure some of the scenes were improvised. Gwen and Bridgitte’s drunk discussion was LOL-worthy
- “Hindi lahat ng nag-eenglish taga-England, pwedeng taga-Makati lang.”
- Kind of weird that they used Regine Velasquez’s “Dadalhin” as the sing-along song of the movie. Especially when you consider the scene where they used it to diffuse tension.
- Props to music scorer Len Calvo! Background scoring was great throughout the film. Reminded me of longtime Jadaone/Villegas collaborator, Emerzon Texon.
- Sponsor Spotting: Ginebra and San Mig Light, of course their endorsers Arci and Bela were in the movie.
- Fun Fact: Kim Molina, Jerald Napoles and Sarah Brakensiek (Bebang of OTWOL) were all part of last year’s #Walang Forever