Directed and Written by: Charliebebs Gohetia
Actors: Gie Salonga as Allyson
Pidot Villocino as Mommy Paola
July Jimenez … Bernadette
E.J. Pantujan as Chris
Kit Poliquit as Vanette
Kim Vergara as Macario
Ari Bancale as Carlos
Joan Mae Soco as Adora
Andrew Caisido as the Narrator
I got interested in watching this film primarily because I support films that show LGBTs in the local setting. The film was released in 2008 but it was only last Saturday when I was able to watch this movie. I never realized that the film already was being recognized abroad. It was nominated in the 2008 Vancouver International Film Festival under the category of Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema. This was the only Filipino film that was showcased among the 74 other Asian films.
Is it worth it to watch?
My answer is YES. It is worth your penny to watch. Anybody can relate to this one, even though you’re not gay. Even though the language is in Visayan, the jokes are still very contemporary. Luckily, I have little understanding of Visayan words so I didn’t really had the hard time deciphering it. They have the English subtitles anyway.
In addition, the actors didn’t need to be overly dramatic. The reality of it all lies in the conversations between the characters. I think that this film was able to convey to the audience the difficulties and trials of being gay in this day and age.
As I was watching he film, I remembered a film of Patrick Swaze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo entitled “To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar”. It is almost the same as one of their main goals is to see Julie Newmar in person ( a gay icon ) and as for this film, they are aspiring to see Adora Garcia in person ( especially Allyson because she’s his ex-girlfriend when he was still a heterosexual). Because the movie was mostly shot while they were travelling around Mindanao, I remembered the movie “Sex Drive” with Maui Taylor and Katya Santos as lead stars.
I will recommend you to listen to the soundtrack because it’s really good. Original songs were written for this movie, performed by independent Filipino bands however, I felt that the songs didn’t fit the tone of the movie. It’s not because I am stereotyping here but the songs should’ve sounded a bit like disco music. As we know, disco music (especially in the 70’s) are associated with “drag queens” that is why there are entertainment gay icons such as Gloria Gaynor (singer of ‘I Will Survive”) , Donna Summer, Cher, Madonna and many more. But, that was just as suggestion. Let me repeat, I personally liked the songs as they are but the music genre used is not that effective in the film. The “Churvaloo” song of the band Haphazard is the most appropriate track. Listen to some tracks at the end of this blogpost. 🙂
Would I learn anything in this movie?
” That was a very socially relevant question…”
Definitely YES. If you think that this is a shallow movie, you are definitely wrong. The irony of it is that the comedy is just the surface but the film actually shows the other side of these gays who are desperate to win gay beauty contests. Most people probably wonder on why transgenders/transvestites seriously join these beauty contests even though they don’t really look good, answer the questions properly or it’s just a small-scale beauty contest. ( I bet most of you anticipate the question and answer portion, well for me it’s really my favorite part.) This film actually shows the why. Most of them would aspire on the monetary value of it but I think the subliminal reason is that these beauty contests are their way to be “in the circle” of the heterosexual crowd. Yes, they may be laughing stocks for most people but whatever reaction that is given to them is still ATTENTION. Acknowledgment of their presence is enough for them to be happy. I know it’s a cliche and probably not everyone will admit it.
By watching this film, you will definitely learn to at least understand their culture. I bet most of you reading this blogpost didn’t really watch the film and are looking for reviews in the internet so that you can have some content for your reaction papers. It is all because you’re too ashamed to watch a “gay movie” inside the theater. Well, I cannot blame you because you are brought that way but you are missing a lot of new knowledge because of your narrow-mindedness. For the others who are reading this blog because you want to watch the film, thank you. Thank you for your liberal minds.