Whether the Weather Is Fine (2021)

Whether the Weather Is Fine (2021)

An absurdist odyssey through the aftermath of disaster and a singular sensory experience

The Very Best



France, Germany
English, Tagalog
Charo Santos-Concio, Daniel Padilla, Francis Magundayao
105 min


Where Western critics see magic realism and dense symbolism, Filipinos see an ordinary day in Philippine disaster management.

What it's about

After the city of Tacloban is left ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan, three individuals struggle to relocate from their former homes.

The take

Though only currently available on Prime Video Philippines, Carlo Francisco Manatad's critically acclaimed drama boasts the kind of directorial vision and technical brilliance that deservedly kept it on the international festival circuit throughout 2021 and 2022—and that deserves to be seen around the world. Through textured cinematography and sound design, and art direction that situates its story halfway between reality and a dazed state of mind, Whether the Weather Is Fine isn't so much a factual retelling of life after Typhoon Haiyan but a meditation on what home and freedom mean to those who no longer seem to have it.

Manatad's background in experimental short filmmaking shines through in how the film seems comprised of so many irregular parts, but the emotional through line is unmistakable. Three incredible performances—from Daniel Padilla, Charo Santos-Concio, and Rans Rifol—illustrate the different ways that people try to escape or cling to hope in the wake of devastation. It's the furthest thing from "resilience porn," as the different perspectives of these characters clash and inevitably push each other away. And while that might not sound like the film offers a constructive point of view on disaster management, its intense psychological focus feels like something we haven't seen on screen before.

What stands out

Of the many fascinating oddities that Whether the Weather Is Fine offers, some of the most memorable ones are entire scenes playing out among extras in the background that we never get any real explanation to. We see violence occur, we see an entire group of people participating in a zumba class in the middle of a ravaged landscape, and we see people performing like they're at a pageant. There are a million and one ways to read into these details, but what's most important is how full and alive the world of this film feels—something that Manatad knows can never be taken away from Filipinos, even by an act of god.


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