'Eternity Betweens Seconds' wants you to know it's ok to be stuck

Yeng Constantino is the last person who would take anything for granted. She is thankful for a cup of coffee, a cold glass of water, the chance to rest for a few minutes before heading into an interview, and the drive to shoot and edit vlogs even if there really is never enough time in the world.

But Yeng is also the first to admit that key to surviving the daily grind she loves and is thankful for is the chance to take a break and step away from it all – even if it means plunging into a character that she can’t relate to, for a movie shot in a foreign land she's unable to enjoy outside of work.

“Imagine if you’re forced to eat your favorite, adobo, every day. You’ll get sick of it, right?” Yeng tells Rappler on a humid and rather busy Monday evening, just hours before she’s set to do final dubs and voices for Eternity Between Seconds, her latest movie directed by Alec Figuracion.

“I decided to act again because the things I’ve been doing had become repetitive. Okay, I have a noontime show, I’m a judge, I have gigs, I sing at night it’s a routine. You need a diversion, to refresh yourself so when it’s time to come back to what you always do, you end up loving it all the time,” she adds.

She plays “Sam”, a 20-something Filipino who flies to South Korea in hopes of meeting an absentee father she’s never met. It’s there where she meets Andres (TJ Trinidad), a self-help book writer who is need of help himself. It’s in the stark and clean confines of the Incheon Airport where the two characters linger, refusing to move forward just yet, according to Direk Alec.

“The whole film is about these two strangers meeting in an airport, and creating a fleeting and lasting connection. An eternity between seconds, so there two people prolong their moments together,” explains Alec.

Alec and Yeng’s story, too

Eternity Between Seconds, in some ways, is relatable and alienating for both Alec and Yeng.

Meeting the “perfect stranger” – a person you can pour your heart out to and never see again – is a concept Alec has always liked but has never had the pleasure of experiencing.

“Maybe subconsciously, I’ve been craving for that kind of connection, the kind where you can lay down everything in a day, on a stranger. You tell him or her your life story but at the end of the day, you part ways and there’s something very cathartic about it, isn’t there? You leave him or her with your story and that’s it, it’s over,” Alec tells Rappler.

For Yeng, playing Sam was initially a big mystery since unlike her character, the singer considers her father her “best friend”.

“I wondered to myself… how will I do this? Where will I find the pain and anger because in real life, my relationship with my father is beautiful. It’s nice, in a way, because I wasn’t able to understand my character fully until [Direk Alec] explained it to me,” says the singer.

Screenshot from YouTube

The movie, or at least scenes from the trailers, are slow and tend to drag, although beautifully. This is, after all, the story of two strangers who want to make the most of the “eternity between seconds”.

Alec, who fell in love with Incheon airport years back, admits it’s ironic that they chose to shoot the entire movie in South Korea but didn’t ride on the Korean wave.

“There’s irony because they’re in a different country but we never show the beauty of South Korea. They’re just confined in the airport… But how do you tell the story of two people who are stuck? Confine them in a space. That’s the idea,” says Alec.

The 5-day shoot in Incheon and Seoul was no joke either, according to both Yeng and Alec. They shot the movie right smack in the middle of winter so any outdoor shoots were, almost literally, buwis buhay. There was little to no time to go around, too – any free time was spent resting and sleeping.

An ode to the restless

There’s a line in the trailer wherein Andres points out the obvious – that he and Sam, are being “left behind” and that everybody is a rush. This is, perhaps, a part of Sam’s character that Yeng can relate to better.

Years back, the popular singer considered leaving the industry ostensibly because the daily grind was getting too much. Today she travels – and acts – as a “break” from the grind of noontime shows, talent contests, and gigs.

Yeng now says running away – or quitting showbiz, in her case years back – isn’t the solution. “Running away isn’t the way to find happiness. You have to face the problem. You need to find a solution,” she tells Rappler.

Does Sam make the same realization?

Alec, meanwhile, thinks of the film as his “ode” to the restless. “It’s the film saying that sometimes, it’s okay to wait even if you’re in this world that’s always in a rush and that it’s okay to take your time. And then, at the end of the day, if you’re sure, go. You have to face your problems, you have to face the world." – Rappler.com

Eternity Between Seconds is an official entry in CineFilipino 2018. It premiered on May 9. Follow their Facebook page for updates.