Things you already knew: The director, Q. Allan Brocka, is an American -- born in Guam and raised in Washington -- of Filipino descent, nephew of legendary director Lino Brocka. The movie, Boy Culture, was independently produced in the U.S., toured the festival circuit in 2006, had a limited theatrical run in France, Spain, and Japan, before it was released on video in 2007. Two years after its debut, it's here in Philippine theatres, and it feels like a strange landmark moment.
What the arrival of an offshore niche film means -- you know, a queer film -- is that, after a string of local gay-themed movies drawing people like you and me into the cinemas, the niche market was heard. Somebody figured out there's an audience here for the sort of film usually passed over to pirates. If you watch it, and a dated American novelty cashes in, who knows what movies the future brings? It can only benefit everyone.
The movie itself is a confection. Based on the novel of the same title, it has practically every trope of the gay-urban-romantic-comedy genre: club music, bitchy one-liners, sexual situations, gorgeous guys (but no explicit nudity), ruminations on love, lust, and life. Even the characters are stock: the handsome hustler, his two roommates (a queen and a closet case), and an older gentleman client who pays him for his visits but won't sleep with him unless he desires him back. Thankfully, the nearly flawless storytelling has verve, style and pathos, and even if you get the feeling you're not getting anything new, down to the inspiring message of embracing love, I dare you to say this isn't the kind of worthwhile comfort food the candymakers should exactly be making.