Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Bakla Review Answers Your Burning Questions #3

Question: I wanna see a gay film na walang hubaran. - From Erpz

Technically not a question. But it provokes one: Is there a gay film without nudity?

There's at least one among recent Filipino films. When Timawa Meets Delgado stars Kristoffer Grabato as a gay nursing student who pines to be reunited with his former boyfriend in the U.S. There is no nudity in the film. Not even an attractive guy taking off his shirt for that sexual effect. Granted, his story is only half of the entire narrative, which is really about the nursing diaspora.

But then, if a film is not about gay sex and it doesn't have nudity, is it even a gay movie? It may be hard to imagine, if our definition of gay is gender identity that's linked to sexuality. It makes sense that so many gay films have a sexual context. Don't most people equate gayness with attraction to the same sex in the first place? Seen in this light, nudity is not a cliche. The sight of male bodies in whichever state of undress and its instant primal effect on a person does seem like an organic part of the gay experience, and therefore gay cinema. But let's dig the libraries, and we can probably name documentaries, abstract films, animations, even commercial genre movies, also stories about transsexuals, that may contain no nudity, but still be "gay". However, I don't think I'll ever get tired of the flashing of male flesh in movies. I think it's a treat. Keep 'em coming.


Anonymous said...

Why stop a good thing? Sometimes it is a necessary element to drive the story further, though I must admit that most often than not movies show flesh just for the reason to show flesh, but let's think for a moment....is that really a bad thing? Remember what they say, be careful what you wish for.

There are actually several gay films that did not show male nudity. Pusong Mamon, Manay Po, even Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros teased but did not actually show male nudity if I remember it correctly.

ethan h said...

If we use a strict definition of male nudity, Pusong Mamon had a bed scene between Albert Martinez and Eric Quizon. Manay Po had a rabid kissing and disrobing between Luis Alandy and Polo Ravales. Maximo Oliveros had JR Valentin fresh from a shower and putting his pants on. All scenes were, in my opinion, had a sexual content and not necessarily gratuitous nudity.

What is the definition of a gay movie? Any movie with a gay character is already classified by some as a gay movie. To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar and Birdcage come to mind as gay films without flesh. There must be others.

Anonymous said...

sherwin salvalosa has aids!

thebaklareview said...

hi tony and ethan,

yes i tackled the question literally. "hubaran" -- that's any scene in which someone sheds clothes for our gaze. erpz was astute in asking. even many non-erotic gay films has some form of hubaran. like victor basa peeling off his shirt for a few seconds of sexiness in the tame "maling akala". even the recent "jay" where a masseur shows his butt at the ending. you're right, ethan, we can name quite a number of hollywood gay films without nudity. it's more rare for pinoy films. well, gay films are more rare here. heck, films are more rare here. i could sense the frustration in erpz's question, maybe he's posting a challenge, but you're right, tony, avoiding nudity for the sake of avoiding it sounds like a step backward. in the same vein, dressing up nudity for "tastefulness" or "artfulness" seems to say nudity is bad if it's not pretty enough.

also, ethan, i agree with your working definiton of a gay film. it's the generally accepted one. but qualified further, the gay role must be significant. it doesn't make sense to call it a gay film just because a fag extra makes an appearance. there are days when i feel like calling any movie with gay interest a gay film. like a madonna movie or mamma mia! or 300 or top gun.

cate said...

There's a recent Filipino film about gays in the province who join beauty pageants, The Thank You Girls. It premiered in UP sometime in August. I discovered the film's site over google: http://thethankyougirls.com

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