Available on Kinet
The meaning behind Miguel Mantecón’s title does not reveal itself until mid-way of its 25-minute runtime as a newspaper headline pronounces the tragic circumstances of Goodbye Philippines, casting a much different light on the jovial opening sequence that entailed the camera tracking the movements of celebratory fireworks.
The details that surround the subsequent footage – momentary glimpses stitched together in ellipsis – remain, for the most part, undisclosed furthering the mysterious nature of the film. Mantecón portrays an emptiness in the world, of lives continuing onward while a vacancy lingers around them; the camera almost an embodiment of the spirit observing an existence out of reach (never haunting only longing) or, perhaps, an apparatus scouring the settings searching for any hint or suggestion of a lost soul.
On occasion, beholding the essence of a man limited to the margins of a projected past, recordings of familial moments superimposed onto the topography of an interior; conjured memories or an apparition attempting contact through a coaxing of remembrance. Either way, a bittersweet sight as the washed out vibrancy of the past caress the darkness inside the cold rooms; is the darkness dimming the past or is the past illuminating the darkness?
Goodbye Philippines seems reticent to build upon its aesthetical/thematic choice of projecting the memories of a man back onto the landscape of the world he has left behind; perhaps, it is a comment on the inability to move on, being stuck in limbo of mourning and moving forward but Goodbye Philippines can, at times, feel a bit one-note in its exploration. However, that one note is pleasing.