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Bela Padilla's Directorial Debut "366" Might Just Be Your Next Favorite Hugot Movie

The actress proves she's a triple threat with a film that she wrote, directed, and starred in.
Bela Padilla's Directorial Debut "366" Might Just Be Your Next Favorite Hugot Movie
IMAGE 366/Viva Films
The actress proves she's a triple threat with a film that she wrote, directed, and starred in.

While changing her address has been the main cause of buzz around her name lately, Bela Padilla reinforces that she is, first and foremost, a storyteller with 366. The actress embarks on a three-fold mission with her latest offering to hugot film connoisseurs; not only did she star in it as June, a girl enveloped in grief for a past lover, she also stepped behind the camera as the one responsible for coming up with the story and deciding how it would pan out.

366 bela padilla
PHOTO BY 366/Viva Films
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In a season of numerous international blockbusters on Netflix, all of which are worth the watch themselves, 366 has firmly stood in the streamer’s Top 10 Movies list since its debut. Is it because the Bela Padilla-JC Santos-Zanjoe Marudo match-up is just downright irresistible? Could it be that it’s the refresh button our good old Pinoy rom-coms have apparently been needing? Or is it simply because we all just need an ugly cry sesh? Read on and decide for yourself!

The Plot

As mentioned, Bela takes on the lead role as June, a hopeless romantic who hits rock bottom after losing the love of her life, Pao. Their next-door neighbor Marco comes to her side, and proposes that they spend the next year completing her and Pao's unfinished bucket list. As the 366th day of their deal nears, June is caught in between the emerging feelings she has for her proxy-boyfriend, and the grief she still hasn't shaken off. 

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366 bela padilla
PHOTO BY 366/Viva Films

The Cast

Forming a pseudo-love triangle with the actress-director-screenwriter are JC Santos and Zanjoe Marudo. Despite only appearing in flashbacks and daydreams, JC gave life to Pao as yet another leading man to Bela. The twosome has virtually become a fixture in contemporary Filipino rom-coms, with 100 Tula Para Kay Stella, The Day After Valentine's, and On Vodka, Beers and Regrets being their shared resume so far. Meanwhile, Zanjoe fulfills the role of Marco, marking his first on-screen reunion with Bela since 2017.

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366 bela padilla
PHOTO BY 366/Viva Films
366 bela padilla
PHOTO BY 366/Viva Films
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Rounding out the minimal list of cast members are Kat Galang, Alma Moreno, Ivan Padilla, and Josef Elizalde in supporting roles.

What the Internet Is Saying

When Bela Padilla fronts a story about a melancholic romance, you can count on tears to flood. Such was the case among the online crowd, who not only commended Bela's acting chops, but also applauded her involvement behind-the-scenes. By the looks of it, 366 seems to be shoo-in addition to the line-up of "it-hurts-so-good" movies us Filipinos just can't seem to get enough of.

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What the Critics Are Saying

Fred Hawson of ABS-CBN Entertainment primarily describes June's narrative as "very slow to burn." "Scenes do get to feel repetitive and melodramatic as they spun around June's inability to forgive herself," he wrote.

Though, Fred emphasizes that the film's ace lies in the actors' skills to make even the most mundane sequences feel genuine. He says: "This gloomy situation was saved by the sincere performances of Padilla (that breakdown scene after the mobile phone mishap was intense) and Marudo (who played a character too good to be true, yet still felt real)."

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366 bela padilla
PHOTO BY 366/Viva Films

Stephanie Mayo of Tribune offers a more pointed review of the film, stating that, "June’s pain does not transmit beyond the screen. Since it had been a passionless relationship, carried only through video calls the audience does not see, it’s unaffecting," pointing out how there seems to be a lack of development between JC and Bela's characters.

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366 bela padilla
PHOTO BY 366/Viva Films

On the flipside, Kate Adajar and Ronel Principe of Random Republika contests that the film intentionally leaves some stones unturned. They state: "Bela’s overall approach is one that evoked a lot of thinking on the part of the viewers. You will not just wait for things to be revealed but you will find yourself asking questions in your head and constantly trying to relate scenes to your personal experiences."

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366 bela padilla
PHOTO BY 366/Viva Films

For them, 366 boils down to a story that, one way or another, just hits home with its viewers. "Aside from being visually appealing and emotionally effective, the film is highly relatable. How many of us have tried to move on from someone we have spent moments and memories with? This film reminds us of how difficult that is in real life."

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Watch the full trailer here:

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