**A late post (dahil ngayon lang ako nagkaroon ng oras)**
Written last: August 03, 2012
Film Review on “BWAKAW,” Cinemalaya 8 Entry (Director’s Showcase)
The independent film festival – Cinemalaya, has already been a part of the annual schedule of a Scholastican Mass Communication Student. Ever since it was introduced to us during our Film Appreciation class, I actually got the leisure and enjoyment of watching independent film entries during the Cinemalaya week. Every year, it has been one of the events that I am looking forward to for the school year. I also think that it has also been a privilege for a MassComm student to have a free week from her major subjects who would be willing to allow them to watch films during their period.
This year, Cinemalaya 8 has showcased a lot of brilliant and exceptional films. I was even fortunate enough to watch almost all of the film entries where I was able to see each of the films’ excellent and poor points – from their casting to the very core of its film elements.
One of the best films that I saw was Bwakaw. I was happy enough to see it during its gala night where the production team and the whole cast were introduced and were present during the premiere. I actually watched it alone since it was scheduled late in the evening and was expected to end even later that night. It was also showed during a night where rain was quite heavy and so, I got no one to watch it with. Nevertheless, I still went and watched the film.
Bwakaw has a dramatic-comedic feel as its vibe in its overall theme and storytelling. I find this very commendable since the issue being shown, which happens to be a serious matter, was presented in a lighter ground. The story was basically about how an old man faces and plans ahead his future for his death. He has been preparing a lot of things for the day that he will soon leave the earth. As I can recall, Bwakaw’s tagline was how “families come in all shapes and sizes,” – since in this film, the only family member he considers that’s left with Rene (Eddie Garcia) was his dog named, Bwakaw. The film’s trailer actually seems interesting enough.
As a mass communication student, I think that this film has been constructed beautifully, from its concept, casting, treatment, script writing, music and cinematography. As an audience, I was able to appreciate everything about the film and at the same time, I was even able to realize and learn new things. This film portrayed gays in such a different angle that I would have not often even realize about. It simply showed a man’s battle as he tries to fight and win over the attraction of his true being; his true self – a gay. It was presented in a very critical yet intelligent way that I was able to think of how a person from the third sex tries to battle with himself/herself as he/she tries to accept who he/she really is. Kung baga sa culture ng independent film making, mainstream na mainstream na yung issue na discriminated ang gays; but in this film, it showed the angle that even gays themselves try to discriminate their own selves and deny to themselves the things that will make them happy. In the film, the lead character, which was played by Eddie Garcia, happened to have accepted that he was gay by the time he was already 60 years old. He even had a long term relationship before from a woman named Alicia who eventually grew old as a matandang dalaga. They were together for 15 long years, but then he never really loved Alicia because he was never true to himself; he never accepted and admitted to himself that he is gay. Just now that he was already really old, that he has already accepted himself as a gay, and now he feels regretful for he never really knew how it feels like if he could have been able to accept who he really is sooner.
One of the best lines that struck me the most was when Rene talked to the priest about the changes in his last will, where their conversation suddenly became about hearing mass and something about “investing” for one’s life after death – going back to the Lord and receiving Him again (just a little bit of context: Rene was a person who seemed to backslide from the Lord ever since he knew that he was gay). It was at that point where Rene uttered very striking lines about faith and the third gender. The line went something like, “Bakit ako ginawa ng Diyos na ganito kung alam nyang magiging magiging makasalanan ako? “– The lines even became more extreme where Rene expressed how he feels towards God – He knew that the church teaches us that all of us are children of God. That he is included as one of the children of God, but then he feels as if he is not accepted in God’s family because of what he really is – that he is rejected in God’s family because he is gay; and being gay is an act of sin. It was through that interpretation that I realized why he decided to backslide from his faith: bakit nga ba sya mag-iinvest sa langit kung alam nyang hindi naman sya papapasukin dun dahil kasalanan na naging bakla sya? I also realized and understood clearly what Rene’s argument was with the priest – bakit nga ba sya ginawang bakla ng Diyos kung hindi rin naman sya matatanggap Nito? – Well, those were just some of my favourite scenes that I think delivered such strong messages to its viewers and allowed them to think and realize something.
Over all, I really and completely liked the film! I think it was very empowering (especially for those genders that are usually discriminated by people). The context of the issue and concept of the story were outstandingly packaged through a brilliant execution of the film language and its elements. Moreover, I really think that Bwakaw is an excellent film because it served as the voice of the muted issues that people should listen to, know more about and address an action for.