Now Playing The Year I Did Nothing

Set in 1985, Manila, three siblings spend an extended summer waiting to immigrate to the United States, while their country gets ready to evict their homeland’s notorious dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.

The Year I Did Nothing is such a cute but pensive film about a family’s hope for a better life in the United States smack dab in the middle of chaos in the Philippines involving Marcos and a preferred successor Corazon Aquino.

The opening credits show local events and those in the United States, including the announcement of the 1975 “Thrilla in Manila,” the historic boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

The three children, an older sister, and a younger brother and sister are so enmeshed in the United States that the younger ones persuade the parents to let them sit out going to school because of the feel that any day soon they will be leaving their homeland.

The family, whose parents are named Ricky and Lucy, is hooked on whatever American television shows that they can muster. Laverne and Shirley is a favorite, and they use this entertainment to learn more about life in America—a life that their aunt in Los Angeles is already enjoying.

It literally takes a year for the family of five to get letters, take physicals and finally board a plane to Los Angeles to what it believes are streets paved with gold—but certainly much better than their existence in Manila.

The children aren’t entirely idle. They go to the malls and devise a scheme to sell cold drinks to the children who are still attending school. They will need this money for school tuition in the states. But mostly they just wait and wonder if and how the political events will affect them.

The Year I Did Nothing is based on a true story and is directed by Ana Barredo and stars Nora Lapena, as Christina Santos, Jared Xander Silva as George Washington Santos, and Faith Toledo as Elena Santos. The film will screen at the Los Angeles Film Festival from May 15 through May 24. For more information, visit IFS for more updates.