Stop complaining and look around
It’s no secret that there are negative connotations associated with Philippine cinema. A lot of us look at the entertainment sector at large and shout accusations for intense money-making tactics, cheap plays and copycat tendencies. That’s why there’s so much anger whenever the Metro Manila Film Fest rolls around.
Everyone has an opinion—as they should—and they aren’t afraid to vocalize it. I see comments that reek of tiredness of seeing the same actors playing the same roles, reciting the same punchlines. I hear stories of disappointment at movies that promise better but fail to deliver. Unfortunately, no matter how many people complain, the box office numbers come as expected.
And it’s our fault.
Take a film like Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus, which was released in 2018. Not a lot of people know about it, but it’s the perfect example of genuine experiences told through a unique lens that is indistinguishably Filipino. That’s what we’re all looking for right?
Here’s what it’s about: In a corner of Manila, four men are linked not by family or friendships, but a mutual admiration for a woman named Aileen. There’s ukay-ukay salesman Caloy, widow and shopkeeper Lando, college student Alex and ex-convict Obeng vie for Aileen’s attention, showing their unique perspectives and personalities.
If you have enough science know-how, you’d understand from the title that director Dwein Baltazar’s sophomore feature actually plays on the idea that we fall in love with our brains, not our hearts—that’s what the hypothalamus is, a part of the brain.
Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus is a romcom that isn’t your typical romcom. It tells a story of falling in love without being over-the-top or being grotesquely cheesy. And if this is what everyone’s rallying about, well it was released in 2018.
Did we take the time to appreciate it?
And this is exactly why we all need to take a conscious look at Philippine cinema. We inhale the movies they shove down our throats because that’s what we see and that’s what we know is available—but there are others out there, too. We just need to pay attention, we just need to look beyond the constant commercials, big billboards and IG posts.
We consume what we allow ourselves to consume. If we only look at the likes of the big mall establishments in the country, of course they’re going to show what has historically made money. If you want something different, you have to look at something different. Which is why film festivals are so important; they give film makers the avenue to showcase their vision and audiences to find and view them.
So look around and take the time to be out of the ordinary so you can see what’s out of the ordinary. Otherwise, shut your mouth as you consume the usual.
Art Alexandra Lara