Heaven's Waiting

Heaven’s Waiting is a clever and entertaining adaptation of a short play by Juan Miguel Severo, which reminds us in a modest way of great classic movies like Heaven Can Wait (Ernst Lubitsch, 1943). It is an assumingly artificial but compelling tale about the beyond life consequences of young passions between two persons who meet unexpectedly in the purgatory, after their death. It can happen only in a mega-Catholic country like the Philippines, where most of the people still believe in Heaven and Hell – and therefore in Purgatory! Set in a lovingly designed old fashioned décor of a vintage hotel, it is a tale of guilt and redemption, as only the Filipinos are able to tell. Great performances by two of the best Filipino actors, notably Eddie Garcia, still brilliantly surprising at his age. A Filipino version of Marcello Mastroianni?...

Lisang (Gina Pareño) has been dead for two years, yet she still hasn’t been called up to heaven because of her naughty behavior. But finally, she got her break and is now part of those who can ascend. On the other hand, Manolo (Eddie Garcia) just arrived in purgatory. But since his room is still under maintenance and purgatory has been congested with all the souls coming in, he needs to share a room with Lisang – his ex-girlfriend.
Like everyone else who just died, Manolo was given three keys he could use to experience for the last time the vices and pleasures he had while he was still alive. However, he is not yet ready to leave his life on earth. He still wants to be with the daughter he left behind. So Lisang had an agreement with Manolo that if she helps him to adjust to his new life in purgatory, then he needs to escort her to all the different places in purgatory that only he could access with his keys…

During their short stay in purgatory, they eventually dig up their past as lovers. We will find out why they fell in and out of love and if they’re still in love. Given that, Lisang also has a secret…

Talking about his film, director Dan Villegas stated;
“The question one might ask is, ‘Why make this play into movie?’ The showbiz answer would be, ‘Why not?’ but the selfish and true answer would be ‘I don’t want anyone else to this but me.’ Why? Because I loved the play when I first saw this staged during the Virgin Labfest in 2015. To translate this from stage to play is challenging. The whole concept of the play being set in purgatory is hard enough to pull off, but a chance to do a period piece while doing fantasy? I think any director would jump at the opportunity to tell a beautiful story set in this world.
“Lastly, this is also a love story, a genre that’s special to me not only because it’s my job (to tell love stories for a living) but because it’s the kind of stories I want to tell (aside from hardcore horror but maybe in another time).

So this is a very selfish director’s statement. Simply put, I loved the material and I didn’t want anyone else to do this”.
Max Tessier
Film director: Dan VILLEGAS
Year: 2018
Running time: 90'
Country: Philippines


  • Juan Miguel SEVERO, screenwriter
  • Antoinette JADAONE, producer
29/04 - 5.00 PM
29-04-2019 17.00 29-04-2019 19.20Europe/Rome Heaven's Waiting Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine cec@cecudine.org