Film buffs will easily spot some familiar scenes in Sid & Aya, and whether or not the references are intentional is anybody’s guess. There’s a silhouette scene on a top building floor that screams Fight Club. The Tokyo gentleman’s club scene and Aya walking on a busy street at the ending can arguably be from Mike Nichols’ Closer. The most prevalent and hard to ignore are the Lost in Translation allusions, starting with Aya’s white umbrella in the middle of a busy Tokyo intersection. It is easy to throw some words like “ripoff” or “copycat,” but believe us, Sid & Aya is a wholly different animal. We cannot fault the filmmaker for being a film buff herself. Even Tarantino once said that “I steal from every movie ever made.”
Pao Orendain, who also lensed Meet Me in St. Gallen, features some haunting silhouettes during the first half of the film, complementary to the story’s somber tone. The Tokyo club scene is also eclectically lit, while the daylight Japan scenes have a chilly, misty register. There is repeated use of mirrors, glass windows and other reflective surfaces, a technique which not only adds depth and dimension to a scene but also allows a peek into the inner workings of the characters.
Love in the age of capitalism
Comparisons with the Richard Gere-Julia Roberts starrer Pretty Woman, will be inevitable, but Sid & Aya contains elements that are distinctly Filipino, foremost of which is Aya’s aspiration to go overseas to provide for her family. The film also examines how money affects the dynamics of a relationship between a man and a woman, strangers at that, to the point that the line between business and personal becomes blurred. Which brings us to…
The epilogue can be interpreted many ways, but we’d like to believe that it is an imagined scenario, since the look of the characters have changed, as well as the resolution and aspect ratio. It is a question of “what if two people meet and get to liking each other, without money being in the way?” Of course, money will always be a factor in such a consumerist society like the Philippines, but what if it only played second fiddle to human connections? The epilogue is very important because it bookends the whirlwind cautionary tale of Sid and Aya, posting a solution to the film’s hypothesis that money can’t buy love.
All screenshots are taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH1Iu6-nV0A