PINKISH DENIS: The Rise of Mainstream Queer Cinema in the Philippines

  • Queer Cinema has taken its toll in the Philippine mainstream market
  • Quality gay films started to grow in the local film industry

I always get amused every time I see a good queer film, who would not be? As someone who has experienced extreme deprivation of freedom to express his own true feelings, these films keep me sane and alive.

Growing up, I’m not used to seeing local films with such theme. Foreign movies are enough to make me feel the empowerment I needed.

Who can blame our movie industry? Even though many of us say motion pictures are a form of art, and art should not be bounded by anything—we have to live up to our treasured culture and tradition – our Christian values.

Growth

It’s always a good feeling when we look back and realize that the only roles best fitting for a gay character are those who stand beside the lead—a best friend. They are a comic relief, the breath of fresh air. They make us laugh, yes. Their roles bring more color and life to the film’s heterosexual subject.

But we have come to the point where staying on the sidelines is not enough. Productions start to risk in gay storylines. With the influence of powerful movies like ‘The Normal Heart’ and ‘Milk’, I can say that we have grown as a nation.

One way or another, people have realized that movies can be a more effective platform to voice out the issues that plague the LGBT+ Community. These films inspire many, and the efforts they put up, the criticisms they have to suffer are all worth it. Somehow, they were able to influence a young child to figure out who she or he really is.

That, if it happened in a movie, it might be the norm. That’s what we lack back then.

There are old-school films that belittled the worth of a gay character, often bullied without any comeback. It has planted an idea to a growing child that if he or she becomes gay, he will turn into someone that people would always laugh at.

As we become more tolerating of the existing gay culture, we develop our own artistic perception of it. Gone are the days that manuscripts with gay plot guarantee you a one-way ticket to the producer’s trash bin. Filipino teleseryes and movies have transformed enormously, in a good way.

We still have a long, long way to go but what’s happening has helped lives. It has opened the eyes, not only of those who belong to the LGBT+ Community but also of those who once underestimated the capabilities of a gay person.

After all, isn’t the Philippine movie industry ruled by powerful and fabulous gays?

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