• Film

New Asian Cinema: Hello, Love, Goodbye (Philippines)

There are over 12 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who reside in another country for a limited period of employment. Films that center around the lives of OFW are usually tear-jerking dramas, such as Anak (2000), Caregiver (2008), depicting the hardship and injustice OFW face while working abroad. Hello, Love, Goodbye (2019) explores the humanity and hope in the world of young Filipino workers in Hong Kong, but this time, with romance and laughter. And it has become the highest-grossing Philippine film of all timeThe film follows Joy (Kathryn Bernardo), a young Filipino woman who leaves her family to pursue a better life in Hong Kong. Working as a domestic helper, Joy struggles to make ends meetBut she is determined to bring her family to Canada where she can get training to become a licensed nurse. Then she meets Ethan (Alden Richards), a Filipino bartender who enjoys his carefree lifestyle in Hong Kong and wants to break free from his familyThe two fall in love and Joy faces the most common dilemma – stay for love or move on to fulfill her dream?

As the story unfolds during a nearly two-hour running time, the film offers much more than a clichéd love story. Director Cathy Garcia-Molina, using Hong Kong as the film’s cultural and economic backdrop, explores the dreams and struggles of millennial Filipino workers that have remained invisible to the public. Through cinematographer Noel Teehankee’s high-energy and fast-paced camera movement, Garcia-Molina orchestrates her own socio-political commentary on worsened income inequality and the changing Filipino family values.

Garcia-Molina and lead actress Kathryn Bernardo had previously collaborated on their 2018 romantic drama The Hows of Us, which held the box office record in the Philippines until