Huwebes, Mayo 3, 2012

Women and Gays in a Zombie-infested Paradise.

What I love about Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington is, of course, how it views Philippine homosexuality. But even though it's much more sugar-coated than, say, Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros or Ang Lihim ni Antonio and its political undertones are taken rather silently, it is among those rare movies today that acknowledges feminism as an essential part of LGBT. It's the year's perfect counterattack to the dreadfully anti-feminist barfbag No Other Woman (which curiously became the second top-grossing film in the country last year).

I smiled throughout this movie for its escapist nature. Set in a fictional Lucban, it is an unconventional fairy tale. The police officers make up of mostly trustworthy women. The gays are still the community fairies who design these ladies into Cinderellas. And the straight men are prominently lazy gents who populate the household, unless paid. Remington comes from the last group but a childhood curse turns him into a twink. And the resolution was a father-son sacrifice that would make a closet queen smile.

The film is escapist for members of the LGBT. It presents something far from the mainstream where mothers must stay home and the gays hide. But here, it's a happy place for gays and women. It may not draw closer to realism but the intentions of its filmmakers is noteworthy. They made Zombadings an allegorical film, turning the gay revolution into a mob of the undead ready to eat heterosexual flesh. Despite this, it seems only the young Remington and the gaydar-touting Daniel Fernando enjoy gay-bashing. The entire community of the fictional Lucban doesn't even see the gays as a threat. They acknowledge the abilities of the fairies from hair styling to housekeeping. In fact, if the women play the cops, the gays take over their responsibilities at home as housemaids. And then from normal, the gay community is even glorified. When Remington decides that he wants to remain gay, Lauren Young tells him he can't because the gays she know fight everyday for love and acceptance - something she believes he can't do. It might be too substantial but it's enough for a gay rights banter. If you think the film's gayness is fake then maybe that line alone will be the most honest. And I would eternally quote it. Don't leave the film during the credits for an even more elaborate message from Angelina Canapi.

Zombadings presents a fictional world where equality reigns and people are happy. Boy would I stay in such a world. But then again I realized - in time (perhaps not too distant from now) that Lucban will be real. - Gio Potes, May 2012.

Directed by Jade Castro. Written by Jade Castro, Raymond Lee & Michiko Yamamoto. Starring Martin Escudero, Lauren Young, Kerbie Zamora, Janice de Belen, John Regala, Angelina Canapi, Daniel Fernando, Roderick Paulate.

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