Does your LGBT film list need some beefing up?
2020 might not have been the best year, but it still had some shining moments. For the Philippine entertainment industry, which—let’s be honest—was hit hard by the pandemic, it was the rise of local BL content. The likes of Gaya Sa Pelikula and BenxJim sprung up and experienced successes that not all of us might have expected. And while the attention and support is well deserved, there are other titles that merit the same.
So for Pride Month and beyond, here a few LGBT films for your consideration:
Rainbow’s Sunset (2018)
Starring Eddie Garcia, Gloria Romero and Tony Mabesa as Ramon Estrella, Sylvia Estrella and Fredo Veneracion respectively, this entry to the MMFF 2018 lineup was the refreshing player we needed that year.
After decades of living a double life, Ramon decides he is finished with it at the age of 84, right when he hears that his best friend, Fredo, is gravely ill. Determined that the rest of their years will no longer be cloaked by society’s expectations of them, Ramon comes out to his family about the real love of his life. But is there such a thing as too late?
After serving a month-long stint in jail, transgender sex worker Sin-Dee finds out that her boyfriend-slash-pimp cheated on her while she was behind bars. After her best friend and co-sex worker, Alexandra, breaks the news, Sin-Dee is rabid with rage.
What follows is a journey throughout Hollywood that follows Sin-Dee’s search for her boyfriend and his lover. But while on that road, we meet a few other colorful characters with equally colorful stories along the way.
Laurence Anyways (2012)
Laurence Anyways is the story of Laurence and the woman he is with, Frédérique (AKA Fred). In one of the scenes, he tells her: “When I first saw you, Fred, I thought it’d go away. I love you, but I have to love you the way I am”—and therein starts their real journey. Fred, at the onset, is confused and frustrated, but he ends at “I need him. I need to wake up beside him.”
We see Laurence and Fred go through the journey together, the wigs, the dresses, the heels, the stares, the fights. And in the end…well, it’s a poignant moment to see what influence you have on someone, when you realize just how your support and sheer existence helped them.
On a Friday night, Russell attends a party before saying his goodbyes and making his way to a gay club. It’s there that he meets Glen, an art student, before they head to Russell’s apartment to hook up. The next morning, Glen requests that Russell speak to a voice recorder about their encounter—for an art project, of course.
The two meet up again and spend the last weekend that Glen has before leaving the city together. It’s then that they discover truly discover each other. They tell each other about their pasts, the reasons behind they are who they are and why they do what they do. Weekend is a lot of things, but it is, above all of that, honest.
I Killed My Mother (2009)
Far less literal than its title might have you think, I Killed My Mother paints the picture of a complicated relationship between a homosexual son, his mother and his less-than-present father. But as the film’s opening scenes play out, we see that it isn’t Hubert’s homosexuality that bothers his mother Chantale; it’s that she had to find out through someone else.
This film is a push and a pull from all directions, depending on which scene you’re currently watching—and finishes in a comforting embrace that proves that the people who really love you, know you.
Party Monster (2003)
Michael Alig is a small-town outcast who lived with his mom before moving to New York. There, he learns the tricks and trades of the NY part scene from James St. James. With Alig as its main attraction, The Limelight becomes the hottest club in the city and the small town kid is dubbed the King of the Club Kids.
Together, Alig and James go on a search for more club kids—and Alig’s drug addiction spirals.
Markova: Comfort Gay (2001)
During World War II, the Philippines suffered—not just economically, but emotionally. So many of our countrymen were forced into prostitution, including those that were not-so-endearingly dubbed “comfort gays.”
In this film, Dolphy plays the role of Markova, with his sons Eric Quizon and Epi Quizon portraying younger versions of the based-on-real-life character. We see his journey, from a tormented childhood under the hands of older relatives to the suffering he endured in the hands of Japanese soldiers. That Quizon charm is palpable in the film—but so are the struggles Markova and his friends had to endure.
Show Me Love (1998)
In this depiction of young love in all its confusion, embarrassment and bravery, we meet Agnes and Elin—the former silent and outcast, the latter popular and beloved in the little town of Åmål.
Agnes’ mother throws her a sweet 16 party, which Elin attends in order to avoid another party (and a boy). There, Elin is dared by her older sister to kiss Agnes and the two run away after the deed is done. Later that evening, Elin comes back to apologize for humiliating Agnes and the two set out on a short-lived adventure, a real first kiss and having to come out.
Fun fact: Hollywood had the name changed from its original Fucking Åmål to Show Me Love. Was that fucking necessary?
Ang Tatay Kong Nanay (1978)
(Honestly, it’s a crime that I can’t even find the trailer of this movie.)
A film beyond its years, Ang Tatay Kong Nanay is another that stars the late Dolphy Quizon. Here, he plays Coring, a gay beautician, who is in love with a younger man named Dennis (Phillip Salvador). After some time, Dennis gets his girlfriend pregnant and entrusts his son to Coring, so he can work abroad. While hesitant, Coring raises the child as his own.
Ang Tatay Kong Nanay isn’t so much about romance as it is about the judgement surrounding homosexuality and parenting.
RELATED: Vintage Photos of LGBT Couples
Here’s to hoping some of these titles are new to you, and that their stories move you.
PS. Please don’t ask me where to watch them. Don’t make me say it.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver