Monday, April 27, 2009

The Discreet Gay Pinoy in the 70's

Last night, I had the rare opportunity of watching the Lino Brocka revolutionary gay film "Tubog sa Ginto".

The film is revolutionary in the sense that it featured a masculine homosexual as lead character during the early 70's. Back then, gay men in Philippine cinema were cross dressing and objects of humor and slapstick devices.

In this film, Eddie Garcia plays a "discreet" homosexual family man who can no longer make love with his wife and who has uncontrollable desires whenever he sees crotches of men.

Yes, this film is definitely revolutionary, with a parade of crotches from several men, frontal nudity from nude dancers in a dream sequence and butt exposure from the hunky Eddie Garcia and former actor and now, a maverick filmmaker Mario O' Hara.

The film is a domestic melodrama on how the homosexuality of Benito (played by Eddie Garcia) destroys his family eventually leading to the (SPOILER ALERT!)...

death of his lover (Mario O' Hara) and his suicide.

As a melodrama, (it is from the story of Mars Ravelo, the king of comics, illustrated novels in the Philippines and the screenplay of Brocka) it adheres to formulaic tragedy that was common in that era's narratives -- coincidences, dramatic confrontations and clear, linear narrative following the lead character's psychological dilemma.

A breakthrough in this film is that the "wisdom" of society was assigned to the "doctor friend" and not to a priest which was very common in that time. Here, the doctor explains that the son (played by Jay Ilagan) should learn to accept his father being gay just as he would accept a person with disability. (in that era, homosexuality was listed a psychiatric disease in medical manuals)

This film is a must see if you are a Filipino gay film afficionado.

I heard that many of Brocka's rare films will be screened in the upcoming Cinemalaya this year. I hope "Tubog sa Ginto" will be one of them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

(conclusion of an earlier comment)


a few years after Lino's tragic car accident, his friend David O. succumbed to an AIDS related illness. David once again, and for the last time, travelled back to his beloved, adopted country - the Philippines. but this time not on business class but in an ornate steel urn...last month i visited the famous beach resort where David`s ashes was disseminated. dozing in its sugary-sand beach, i heard silent voices. talking, laughing, giggling. i opened my eyes and tried to find its origin. nothing. no one. and then i thought of LINO and DAVID. Ahhh! the friends are together, again and forever.