Binyag (Miko Jacinto, 2008) February 14, 2009Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Noypi, Queer, UP Screening.
Directed by Miko Jacinto
Cast: Ran Domingo, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra
Catacombs. We need catacombs for these films. The only possible consolation a terrible viewing experience can give is that it has engaged you in serious critical thinking; you know what’s wrong and you want to tell it to other people, maybe write about it or share it over a boring dinner, and hopefully they will believe you. But I am not concerned whether people will believe me or not. See for yourself; suit yourself. I’ll still have my say.
I am not as immersed as The Bakla Review in the recent upsurge of gay films in Philippine cinema, but by watching these films, I am actually looking forward to see a trend, or at least a manifestation of a trend, that could somehow be significant in (re)defining a modern queer theory appropriate to our culture. Perhaps I haven’t seen that much – – or the most I have seen aren’t all that meaningful – – but I have only deduced one idea: sex is the most important thing. Sex is a validation of their life; their life is sex itself. Not that there is anything particularly and alarmingly wrong it – – no, I’m not being self-righteous – – but are we all created to be just after an orgasm? A spurt of carnal pleasure? Not to devalue sex but I am sure there’s more to life than lubricating an orifice.
Binyag is poorly made. I have no intention of seeing it except that the film scheduled was canceled and replaced by it. See, there’s that conscious prejudice already, which I can’t help saying because I am not after graphic sex – – cyberporn is just a click away – – but mature vision, something to be proud of sharing that I have seen.
Okay, so we have this man narrating his life, telling us how he grew up in this province, his experiences, his childhood friend who keeps courting him, the awakening he had after seeing a barrio lunatic given head by someone. He reads monotonously from his diary like a student asked to read his composition in front of the class. He has futile attempts at poetry, mentioning horrible aphorisms here and there. As he grows up, he becomes a confused sex object, servicing the townspeople with his proud phallus, until he meets someone who promises to bring him to Manila. He is fascinated by the allure of the city, and he goes there only to do the things he used to do in the province – – whoring for living. There is nothing much to speak of about the plot, except for Ynez Veneracion’s character who is dead crazy after him, and in one ridiculous scene when she is talking to him while he takes a nap, she peels a camote and tells, “Ang sarap ng kamote. E ang saging kaya masarap din?” then the camera moves to reveal in the foreground the man’s bulge. Talk about subtle ways.
When a film is this bad it can also be effortlessly hilarious. Ran Domingo is the master of “sabaw” acting; he looks unconscious while a customer is fellating him. A bald man uses his forehead while kissing his chest. Jump cuts are overtly abused. The voiceover conspires with the music to define awful. It is more than a relief when it ends.
Filmmakers who wish to see their fantasies on screen, their dirty little secrets in pseudo-twenty-four frames per second, must control themselves from too much honesty. Binyag has raised points, but these points are all misleading and insufficient that I would not bother to tell you what they are. If one has a lot of money to spend for himself, I wonder, is he also willing to spend it on turd alone?