Sunday, June 15, 2008
True-to-Life Confessions: Ang Pagtatapat ng Masahista; Ang Pagtatapat ng Macho Dancer; Ang Pagtatapat ng mga Sex Performer
The formula for these mid-length documentaries is as bad as it is simple: Take one sensational subject, a profession in the sex trade (strippers, sex masseurs, live sex performers), and give it the cheap tabloid treatment. While the real-life subjects' faces are hidden in shadows during their narrations, the most melodramatic cliches are emphasized through written texts, maybe to wake us up from the boring visuals, then interspersed with extreme close-ups of their bodies in re-enactments of their work. It's exploitation without revelation, in all senses of the word.
In both Ang Pagtatapat Ng Masahista and Ang Pagtatapat Ng Macho Dancer, the regurgitated stories of poor people forced to use their bodies for survival far outnumber anything remotely novel, unique, or even sincere, although there are a few interesting tidbits here and there -- that is, if you can stand the disintegrating visuals and listen to it like a bad radio interview. The naked body shots are only titillating in concept, though Macho Dancer is more watchable than the static Masahista. They're essentially longer, more human, only slightly better versions of network television's already awful, bullying, and uninsightful ratings-grabber "exposes" on the subject.
Ang Pagtatapat Ng Mga Sex Performer has less of the tabloid overemphasis, and also overall an improved video, mainly because the men -- who in real life, perform heterosexual sex in front of a live audience, or as toros in a torohan -- don't feel the need to be defensive about their masculinity, unlike many of the guys in the first two videos. They even sound sexy when they express pride in their macho work. (About half of the video features women subjects.) A performer's penis is almost visible through wet whities during a shower scene, and it's as close to a money shot as anything in the series.
Another video called Ang Pagtatapat Ng Mangkukulam focuses on similarly sensational tabloid fodder (the occult) but promises none of the sex, so I won't even bother.
ANG PAGTATAPAT NG MASAHISTA: D
ANG PAGTATAPAT NG MACHO DANCER: D
ANG PAGTATAPAT NG MGA SEX PERFORMER: C