Endo: Short for end-of-contract. Slang for last day of temporary workers.
Endo, a cinematic highlight of the illustrious Cinemalaya 2007 film festival, tells the moving story of a habitual contractual worker named Leo (Jason Abalos). He has been accustomed to holding jobs temporarily that he stopped believing in long-term planning and long-distance romance. He lives on a day-to-day basis. His meager take home pay is just enough to take care of his distraught father and shoulder the school expenses of his younger brother.
His relationships with women have been regularly brief. Most of them don’t last longer than five months. He not only endures the pain of losing a girlfriend but also ends up agonizing over the loss of another job. Almost always, his love contract is co-terminus with his employment contract.
The intense pain of losing a job can wreck havoc on a person’s life. The American film Up In the Air has a newly-dismissed person committing suicide. On the other hand, Leo may not be dead but he is nevertheless lifeless. Caught up in a Groundhog Day situation, he gets to experience the pain over and over again with no possible relief in sight. He no longer cares about living life to the fullest. It’s a cul-de-sac for the underskilled lad.
All seems hopeless until he begins to yearn for Tanya (Ina Feleo), a fellow temp worker flitting from job to job. Leo is not entirely immune to pain after all. Losing a job may be a mosquito bite to him but the pain of losing Tanya is akin to enduring a harrowing bout with tooth abscess. The pain gnaws bit by bit until he can no longer ignore the jackhammer pain. The thought of missing her forever wakes him up from his stupor and he resolves to dream and live again.
The proletarian countenance of Endo is vastly different from the middle class sensibilities of Star Cinema romance films. Leo and Tanya go to a cineplex but both decide not to watch a film. ‘Walang maganda,’ says a character. But, in all likelihood, they do not have enough money to buy tickets. All they have is one another and the hope of a brighter future.
The romantic film Endo is notable for its tender moments. The most memorable of them is a cool scene that recalls the refreshing indie spirit of the café dance sequence in Band of Outsiders. The impromptu scene highlights the magical hold of Tanya on Leo (and the audience). The girl improvises an enthralling dance right in the middle of the street. She smiles, charms, and beguiles the guy. Her eyes twinkle brightly like stars in a dark sky. Her hips sway to the beat of the music. The vivacious girl is so full of life and bewitchingly loveable. She then gives him a long, long kiss.
Tanya’s contagious optimism and positive outlook resuscitates the inert Leo. The guy decides to wait for the return of the ship-bound girl. Tanya is no longer treated as a syota or short-time girl but a potential long-term life partner. He has found the girl of his dreams and will not terminate his love contract with her.