Archive for the Oscars Category

Queering the #Oscars2015 show

Posted in Oscars, POC Pinoy LGBT channel, queer cinema, queer issues in film on March 16, 2015 by leaflens

I don’t know about you but I wasn’t so happy with the Academy Awards this year. Aside from Neil Patrick Harris having some lame-o jokes na kailangan pang i-explain, the whole show did away with some of the add-ons that make the Oscars the Oscars in previous years. Like for instance, each award should have some good introductory number kyeme aside from the humorless humor intro spiels of presentors. Previous years had special numbers or features inserted in the categories to explain their nature. But yeah, alas, alam ko kokonti lang kaming mga adik sa Academy Awards ang makaka-getlak nitey.

Heniweys hemingway, that’s not the reason for this post. This is: my article post-Oscars on why we queers should kinda care about these things.

Here’s an excerpt:

Queering the Oscars: Why we should kinda care

And this is why we look at seemingly “shallow” avenues like cinema or the Oscars: because when these Hollywood dream factory-makers make films about LGBTs, we have to know how they craft such stories. Because those of us who will be consuming such products will digest these stories about us, infusing our own dreams with images that might scare us or strengthen us. Do we want to be frightened or do we want to be enlightened? What is the price of entertainment? The yearly Oscars race might be but one of the many races we could see the likes of us represented or neglected. But film’s popularity as a mass medium is very potent for spreading truths and lies about us, and cementing those truths or lies with awards will always be our concern – in any given field.”

To read the whole article, click here. I wrote the article as part of my monthly contributions for the Philippine Online Chronicles’ Pinoy LGBT section.

Needless to say, I was also underwhelmed by the wins and the nominated films. Wanted to do a lot of reviews but I didn’t feel like it na after watching the show. Oh well papel, maybe someday let’s see…

In the meantime, just relax and watch a movie na lang ulit tayo k. K.


Queering the historic universe

Posted in bioflick, book to film, drama film, Oscars, queer cinema, queer issues in film, women's issues in film on February 23, 2015 by leaflens

Oscars 2015 rush started with this film for me. So here are a few thoughts. Queers, listen up!

imitation gameTHE IMITATION GAME

d. Morten Tyldum

s. Graham Moore from the book by Andrew Hodges

c. Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley

Pitch: A glimpse into the life of Alan Turing whom we might be neglecting as the dude who is credited for the creation of the basis of our modern-day computers. And yes, he is gay. 

Catch: You see the strengths and the weaknesses as you watch the film unfold. But you tend to overlook this unevenness because it has an engaging story.

As I wait for the actual Oscars 2015 live telecast as I write this, thought I’d jot down a few notes here about the films that I was actually catch and somehow moved me, in a way. This is one of them.

I know of Alan Turing from a few years back when I was searching for queer-identified people in history. Glad to learn that the modern day computer is somehow directly due to his work. But he is more known for being the genius code-breaker during the war against the Nazis, and he was a great asset of the UK during that time because of decoding how the Nazi communication machine worked. Until, of course, they slapped him with an indecency case, all because he was gay.

Yes, folks, in a first-world country such as the UK, abominations such as this happened. Gays were persecuted, and in Alan’s case, he was made to choose between serving time in prison, and taking hormonal therapy drugs to “alleviate his homosexual disease.” This was, of course, the 1950s, and no civil rights movements connected to sexuality was happening yet. Too bad Alan didn’t live to see this happen during the next decade, as he took his own life before the 1960s happened.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, sorry.  On to the film muna. Yes, this was indeed a moving film, queerness aside. The film chronicles Alan’s life during the time his neighbor reported a robbery in his home. Turns out to be a “booking gone wrong pala.” Yes, my dears, dahil kloseta nga ang lola mo, may-I-booking siya ng boys sa balur niya, or else tegi nga siya. But this one booking stole from his house kaya doon nagsimula ang gulo for him. When he didn’t want to press charges, a police dude got suspicious and decided to dig deeper, even searching for Alan’s wartime records na classified or absent for public consumption. So of course they picked him up and it was during the interrogation scene where the police learned of Alan’s great contribution to humanity. So the film used this sandwich-type of narrative wherein you split the present and they flashback to the past to tell the meaty palaman of the film, and then go back to the present to wrap up the sandwich.

The palaman is, of course, the meatier side of the story. This is where we learn of Alan’s journey from being a Cambridge professor up until his wartime recruitment nga. He belonged to an elite handful of cryptologists with just one job: to decode the Nazi Enigma machine so the allied forces could read the encrypted messages/communication of the Nazis. What a job eh?

As is the case with uber-brilliant people, they are, of course, anti-social. This didn’t bode well for our no-nonsense hero, who had to be tutored to have social graces by another genius woman — Joan Clarke, played brilliantly by Keira Knightley. It was surprisingly refreshing, finally, to have a woman acknowledged for her brains and not merely her beauty or her reproductive system. I like the character of this Ms. Clarke girl who became an unofficial but crucial part of Alan’s team later on. Of course we see the gender bias at the beginning, when Alan wanted to recruit more people and tested them via a timed crossword puzzle. That was really intellectually cute. And the men in charge couldn’t believe that a woman could have done such a feat. Kainis lang of course. Pero mas kainis yung muntik na niyang talikuran ang job just because as a woman, she is expected to stay home with her parents, find a husband, and have a baby. Hay, reproductive system function, oo. But it’s also so cute how Alan was able to “persuade” her to join the team. Ewan ko ba, basta ang daming intellectually cute moments ng film na ito hehe watch it to understand what I mean.

imitation keira

I am woman, hear me code! Sabi ni lola Keira hehe. Talagang behind a great queer man is a het girl. Historical fag hag lang ang peg lolz. I kid, I kid! Love you Keira!


The strength of the film is its pulse: the way it ticked and took us rhythmically from scene to scene, which is the good work of an alert director and a good editor making a tight script come to life. I just wished the cinematography was at par with these other aspects, but you can’t win ’em all, I guess. But this is a good enough combo for me: script-directing-editing. This film pulsed these so well, kaya feel mo yung edge-of-the-seat excitement as to how they’re scrambling for time and going against odds to have Alan’s decoding machine — nicknamed Christopher — work in time before snooty authorities pulled the plug. Of course the excellent acting of the cast worked well with these aspects of filmmaking kaya more edge sa seat ang peg teh! Lalo na when Christopher finally worked. And then another dilemma begins. Kaya tiri-tirintas na ang development ng drama na talagang hihilahin ang interes mo until it ended.

And then, within the flashback, we have another set of flashbacks concerning Alan’s childhood, especially his boarding school days where he was bullied in an all-boys school. And we see his only friend there named Christopher, who introduced him to a book of cryptology of sorts. Siyempre doon na-formulate ang queerness ni koya and we see that, but we also see his heart being broken there, because of what happened to Christopher. Kaya ang love of his life ay ginawa na lang niyang prototype ng modern-day computer natin. Kalerks, this.

This film will really break your heart several times, especially if you’re queer and you see all this happening just because he’s queer. But I didn’t like the way his queerness was inserted here in the beginning. Like we didn’t really see any hint of it except when he confessed later on that he is homosexual — first to his co-worker who turned out to be a double-agent/spy (so of course his homosexuality was used against him by this dude as blackmail material) and second to Ms. Clarke whom he was trying to “save” (i.e. pinapauwi ng parentals dahil single pa siya at malayo ang work daw) by offering her marriage. Nagtapatan naman sila na bekiloublanco si koya at tanggap ni ati yun, at hanggang fiance mode lang naman sila para lang manatili sa work si ati. Kaya lang, yun nga, this was all in talk. Walang masyadong scenes to show this, na sana they humanized Alan more in a way. But I guess they didn’t want to show that, or they didn’t find enough historical evidence to portray him as such. But this is also where you’ll see why Keira was nominated for a best supporting actress award: that turning point of confrontation nila ni Alan, when he was saying na he didn’t care for her at all, basta kasama lang siya sa work and all. That sampal and that pagpipigil ng another sampal and that look and that body language ni Keira at that moment, galing! It reminded me actually of another turning point scene ng isang Academy Award winner: si lola Kate Winslet during her courtroom scene sa THE READER when she was being questioned for her role during the Nazi occupation. Yung moment na hinampas niya yung mesa sa frustration in defending herself, galing!!! parang similar in effect sa aking yung two scenes na ito ng mga aleng ito na kras ko hehe. Winner kayo mga darling, ever.

Tapos nung bumalik na nga ang film sa present ulit, to wrap it up, we see Alan being slapped nga with the indecency case, turning into a recluse while on therapy drugs, and being visited  by Ms. Clarke. Good to see they remained friends naman pala, and that’s where they concluded the film, with notes saying na Alan took his own life chenes nga, but never forget that your computers today are the result of Turing Machines before. So there.

Yes, homophobes, a gay man's invention led to your modern day computer. Kung wala siya, wala 'yan.

Yes, homophobes, a gay man’s invention led to your modern day computer. Kung wala siya, wala ‘yan.

Hay, lungkot.  Nakakatuwa na finally, lumabas din ang buhay niya sa film nang ganito. Maganda naman ang portrayal and all. It’s another good notch to add to queer history, cinematic or not, basta history natin. We need to see more of our lives out there, see how we were treated, and see what we contributed to the world anyway even if we were being (mis)judged. Maybe this is indeed a reminder nga for us to not take our “queer freedoms” for granted today, but it’s also a reminder to celebrate them because somehow, we have (some of) them freedoms nga, in a way, which Alan never did.

Anyway watch watch watch. Happy siya, in a sad sorta way. Basta! Sana manalo ito ng award later. Fingers crossed.


[All photos swiped from the internet. Thanks to those who uploaded them.]

Roll cam, roll life

Posted in cinema studies conference, Cinemalaya, digital film, Oscars, Philippine Cinema, POC Pinoy LGBT channel, takilya life on November 2, 2012 by leaflens

Did you miss me? I know you did. Aminin!

Life was just sweepingly hectic in more ways than one. But since this hibernation break, I thought of blogging more in order to get back on track.


Teaching teachers how to tackle theatrical trailers. Teh totoo ‘to! [October 2012 Pagadian City]

But before I do that, I’ll ease into it a bit. I actually wrote some stuff which are film-related and are now out — but in other venues.


My editor at Philippine Online Chronicles’ (POC) Pinoy LGBT Channel asked me to review the Philippine Oscars rep this coming year, the recent Cinemalaya entry BWAKAW written and directed by Jun Lana.

My review appeared there in POC since the film is about this aging old gay man.

Here is that review. Seriously, I think this time, we have a contender.

Read up why.



And then, a paper that I have written early this year, presented in a cinema studies conference in Hong Kong last March, is now officially published in the Kritika Kultura ejournal. The journal has a special issue of Ishmael Bernal’s MANILA BY NIGHT and I was invited to submit a paper. I wrote about the lesbian character of Cherie Gil and intersected that with the genderqueer identity. It’s entitled “To conform or not to conform, that is the genderqueer question: Re-examining the lesbian identity in Manila By Night.” That paper is available here. The rest of the journal’s issue is here and could be downloaded as a pdf file like my paper. Enjoy cinema geeks!

Genderqueering academia. Story of my persecuted queer scholarly life. Hahaha don’t ask! Offer me beer and I will do tell. Charaught! [March 2012 Hong Kong University]

Yes, I have been busy. No, film-watching and critiquing were not forgotten, just overtaken by other avenues. But I promise that now, it will be back here again, ready for more.

Okay roll cam!

and the Oscar goes to…

Posted in Hollywood dream factory, Oscars, takilya life on February 28, 2011 by leaflens

It’s Oscar day today as I type this, here in Manila, that is. But back in the US, it’s Oscar night. Same same.

I remember where I was a year ago today. I was here, inside Stonewall bar, the birthplace of queer pride in New York City, watching the pre-Oscar red carpet show with a couple of cool queer friends up to the first couple of awards of the main Oscar show.

Inside Stonewall, March 2010 NYC.

Read my full Stonewall visit story here and

look at my Stonewall photo essay here.


Has it been a year now? Wow. How time flies.

But with movies, it doesn’t feel that way most times. Pictures freeze memories. What more moving pictures? That is what movies are all about — endless strings of moving pictures. And thus, movies make you flashback to times once forgotten and make you excited to look at scenes up ahead in time — regardless of the kind of movie you watch. Suspension of disbelief? Of course, movies have to be escapist fare sometimes; that’s why we follow stories in different art forms, actually.

Imaginative escape through artful storytelling.

I guess that’s just how movies work for me. Perhaps that is why I chose to study it in college, and why I — despite the negativity interwoven with the art form when it comes to the business side of things — continue to be involved in it right now, albeit indirectly, through teaching in a film institute (dubbed as “one of the best film schools daw outside Hollywood) and working around its allied technology called television.

Yes, I guess it’s about telling stories, with pictures and sound. That’s how I want to look at movies. That’s also why I love watching them alone or with people I care for and care about. And no, we don’t have to like the same kinds of films because that’s also the beauty of a film — you can agree to disagree with people about how you view such films. My film school buddies and I used to stay up all night until the wee hours of the morning just talking about films. This habit of movie marathon watching and talking endlessly about films never died, and I don’t think it ever will, for me, even if the people I watch movies with and talk to afterward change from time to time.

I guess like change, the only constant thing in this world is movies.

This is why sometimes, I feel a bit sad when some people immediately dismiss the (inherent) commercial aspects of films while some vehemently reject mainstream Hollywood(ized) films without looking at their merits first, or when some (former) friends and colleagues stubbornly deny the benefits they reap from working in the mainstream and hide in that easy disclaimer of  “Here I am, a sellout!” to avoid their perceived disdain from colleagues who chose not to engage in the mainstream full-on like they did.

This is also why I feel sad when people outright dismiss watching the Academy Awards as well. I know that as a structure and as an institution, it has its flaws, like the films it honors every year. But still, sometimes we just have to step back and enjoy the show, for this show is also a constant reminder of what movies are to people who watch them — movies as memories, movies as fun, movies as cultural products, what have you.

I have my own reasons for liking films, and most of them are rooted in deeply personal reasons. Yes, sometimes watching films became a lifeline for me when I needed it during certain parts of my life. And no, even if I dissect it for a living these past years, I still am able to enjoy watching them.

I guess for me, I can re-appropriate that feminist slogan of “what is personal is political” to one that says “what is cinematic is personal” as well, for that is how movies make such marks on me. Yeah, call it romanticizing but that’s what this art form manufactures most times — dreams. Why do you think they called it “Hollywood dream factory” in the 1940s? And yes, to this day, we still buy these dreams. And that’s not a crime.

So it’s time to relax once again, just chill with the images and sound, and just let the magic of dreams begin. No harm in enjoying the good stuff of life, right?

Roll credits.

if the kids are all right, then houston we have a problem

Posted in Hollywood dream factory, Oscars, queer cinema, Uncategorized on February 15, 2011 by leaflens

Or in short, here’s my elaboration on my disbelief about why why why whyyyyyyyy this film is thought to be great! AND AND AND if you haven’t seen this, don’t read this because I’m giving spoilers. Boo hoo you.


d. Lisa Cholodenko

s. Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg

c. Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and the two kids with cool character names (Joni and Laser – and dykes name their kids in a cool way huh hmmm)

Pitch: Longtime lesbian partners (alpha female-ish — yes, there’s one in any lesbian partnership) Nic and (artsy kinda insecure-ish — yes, there’s one in any lesbian partnership) Jules experiences a rocky ride in their relationships when their birthed kids find and connect with their sperm donor of a dude who then ends up disturbing the “alternative” family’s equilibrium shitz.

Catch: A lesbian is unsatisfied with her relationship and begins to have sex with a heterosexual man, just because. I.Rest.My.Fucking.Case.


Once upon a time in a magical writerly place called Dumaguete located in the south of the Philippines, a poet once told me while conversing, “Uh-oh, here comes Libay…” in reference to what others in our literary community have seen me as “the angry feminist so don’t dis lesbianism in front of her or you’ll never hear the end of it”  when he uttered something not-so-nice-to-hear about something we were talking about which irked my lezfem writerly self blah that time.

You know what? I only get tense about lesbianism when there seems to be something derogatory attached to it. So yes, with the state of the patriarchal world then, and now, I am still angry.

Especially about this film. And it doesn’t matter that the filmmaker made a positive dent in the queer cinema movement before. (Insert dramatic irony here — duh, yes it matters! She’s one of us haller!!!) Well, people reinvent themselves all the time, so fine, sige. Yes, Cholodenko directed that dykey film HIGH ART. Just google or imdb it.

But we’re not talking about that dark, depressing but still a good dyke depiction-film. We’re talking about this one where the story focused on a very homonormative family in a very cool and seemingly contented homonormative set-up (meaning that population of the queer community which also strives to parallel the heteronormativity we see in society — oh you know, the whole get-married-with-one-life-partner-and-live-in-a-house-with-a-picket-fence-and-raise-kids-while-having-fabulous-careers thingies). Nothing wrong with our fellow queers who want to achieve this homonormative set-up, hey. To each their own. If this works for you, this works for you. And for me, too, meaning I could be happy for you but don’t pull me in to live that way because I’m through with all kinds of hetero/homo-normativity or any kind of that kind of normativity in general for that matter. But that’s another blog post.

What doesn’t work for me is when people outside the queer community are given tools to dissect us queers with tools we ourselves created. And this is what irks me the most with this film. Sure, Cholodenko said some parts are loosely based on her life, but which parts? The part where she also got a sperm donor and got pregnant and had a child? Yey that’s great, good for her. But why throw in a heterosexual-based tool that has been used over and over and over and over and time and time and time again to bash us queers in the fucking head????? And what am I talking about? The disgruntled artsy insecure-ish one of the lezzies — Jules or Julianne Moore’s character which is by the way the femme-ier looking of the two so is perceived as “more girly” by the outside world (meaning yay she can still be “saved” and get turned back to the more enlightened way of heterosexuality because she doesn’t look totally like a dyke naman e) — releases her frustrations with her relationship with the alpha female-ish kinda butchy-looking partner of hers by “accidentally” smooching with a heterosexual man. And not just any garden-variety heterosexual man (but okay, she was literally working on his garden actually as his landscape architect so hmmm film semiotics symbolical pun intended there? Peut-etre.) but the sperm donor whose genes run inside their kids. And the smooching began when she said “You look like my kids in that angle” or something shitty like that. Um, so if I see someone resembling the genes of Angelina Jolie in someone inside a jeep, can I freely smooch her then? I’m just sayinnnnnnnnnnn’…

See how ridiculous that start of a premise was?  Sorry but I just reread Audre Lorde’s essay about how we can never dismantle the master’s house by using the master’s tools. The thing is, the heterosexual masters here just bashed us again in the head because the filmmakers gave them heteros the tool to bash us with. I thought we were all about emancipation, folks? What gives???

So okay, given that Jules had a momentary thingie with a hetero man, maybe we have to overlook it because it was momentarily, plus in the film, she repeatedly says that she’s gay, she’s gay, it can’t happen (the dude fell in love with her and wants her to go with him — yay another tool! Bash! Bash!) so clearly she’s not bisexual (and there’s no actual reference whether she has been with guys before though, so weird characterization too — dramaturgical tools fail! Which the women at afterellen had fun dissecting hehe.), and she sincerely wants to fix up her booboo with her family. But then again, the momentary thingie actually escalated because they had sex several times and they both obviously loved it (and it started weird because she obviously was depicted as sooo hungry for dick that when she finally zipped the dude’s fly open, she had that strange and ridiculous “welcome gasp and utterance” blah — frak! Sucks!). So was it a sex thing? Meaning if a lesbian is dissatisfied with her partner in bed, she will then run to or turn to… a man!!! Like a “real man” with a dick! (Fucking a woman with a strap-on is not an option here! Woooo! Where are the other lesbians in their community then???? None were shown! They are alone! Wooo!) Nothing wrong with choosing a sex partner or queerily blurring the gender/sexual orientation/hetero-homo desire divides–by choice!–as long as you set it up properly in the story but the parameters of choosing (read: jumping?) a sex partner here was so off here that I was just enraged. Why? Hay, need I elaborate? In a world where lesbianism is still regarded as a phase which girls would outgrow once they have had a real man (read: sucked a dick or was fucked by a dick or worse — they just need to get raped to snap out of it, hey, nothing to it), then story set-ups like this one proves to be very problematic as it reinforces several problematic discourses that we have been trying to counter over the freaking decades. Hay naku… Emancipation, where art thou???


More bashing tools? Okay, how about that bit when the kids suddenly resented their parents — the butchy one in particular — because, as the kid said “The lesbian family set-up was destroyed/not working for you!” or something to that effect. Oh.My.Fucking.God. If a child is raised and reared in a very loving and caring lesbian family like theirs, how come she will all of a sudden treat herself as an outsider of that happy family set-up just because she was happily-rebelliously bonding with the sperm donor dude. Was she looking for a “father figure” then? Or was she looking for a “mother-father” family set-up then? In this fucking film, yes, the kids were somewhat depicted as such although it wasn’t verbally articulated. But film is a visual medium, and that tool was set up very well — the kids’ homophobias against their own lesbian parents were clearly felt and seen, two things that cinema does well than spoken words. *bash!* *bash!* Even if one argues that that reaction was just “typical” of any teenage kids against any parent, no way, Jose. This set-up is different AND WE ALL KNOW IT. Now why didn’t Cholodenko?

So this is why I think this film is so problematic in terms of setting up its scenes. Sure, these things might happen in real life — and some of it actually do happen/did happen to lesbians/queer women out there — but legitimizing homophobia and promoting it in this way, in this day and age, just purely sucks.

And then the film ends with the dude saying sorry sorry sorry so boohoo we should feel for him because he wants redemption after fucking the dyke, encouraging “his kids” to be a bit rebellious and going to their house to say sorry? Boo! And then when things are slowly settling down, one of the kids say to the lez parents “I don’t think you should split up. Because you’re both too old.” Parents look at each other, hold hands, and drive off. Roll credits. Yehey. So lesbians should stick together because they’re too old to score a new partner out there? Again, maybe it’s because there are no other dykes in this community where this family lives!!! Anubeh!!!!!!!!!!

Kill me now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Winner ang premises ng film na ito! *laslas*


O siya ayoko na. High blood na ako. The thing to do is hope that this film doesn’t win any Academy Award come Oscar night. Because frankly speaking, Hollywood would then be legitimizing homophobia again when they do that. I hope that doesn’t happen.


Oscar movies as substitute for burnout

Posted in bioflick, British film, Oscars on February 7, 2011 by leaflens

Or in short, here’s what 30 pesos can buy you when you’re on the brink of near beyond frustration: a multiple Oscar-nominated film copy.

With isaw.


d. Tom Hooper

c. Colin Firth, Helena Bonham   Carter, Goeffrey Rush, Guy Pearce

Pitch: True story of King George VI when he was still known as the Duke of York pre-Hitler era when he was still struggling with a stammering speech problem.

Catch: Are you sure this is a British film???? There’s humor but it’s not dry! Winner! So no catch!

One thing I really don’t like watching is films about the Royal Family of England. Not that I’m disinterested in their lives but seriously, I don’t get moved immediately by stories about people who have it (somewhat) easy in life. In a manner of speaking.

But snippets of their lives presented in a cleverly creative and quiet but poignant matter differ. I love them. Take the film The Queen. I skipped seeing that even if it was also nominated for the Oscars before. But catching it on cable one lazy day last year, I appreciated how the story was able to focus on such a very interesting time in the royal people’s lives, and how they reacted to it — in this case, the death of Princess Diana and how the Queen Mother and PM Tony Blair handled the situation. Grabe galing! Simple yet straight to the point storytelling, good pacing, well-acted of course, and good overall helming by the director.

In this film, it’s the same. Imagine a would-be king facing the latest in technology which is radio, and having a stammering speech problem. Until he became king pa. Great ready formula for major conflict right there.  Add to that that he had to make wartime speeches during his reign as king. Can you say “goal obstacles?” Hanep. Plus, the layers of discussion this film provides! Which could segue into meaningful discourses on how politicians and similar public figures of great importance manage different forms of media and all. Very interesting indeed.

But such is the heart of this movie: you can relate to the “ordinariness” or the “everyday problem” of this grand character. Or even “better” is you feel you are above him at least in that one aspect. And you can’t help but feel for the guy and root for him to succeed, even if he is the king of England.

I grew up as a super-quiet introverted person well until I turned legal in college, so it’s actually a surprise for most people to learn that fact about me when they see and hear me speak with ease now. But I had a similar problem before. Not that I stammer but I am super-shy that I don’t know how to modulate my voice, and I am always such a loser in class recitations. And imagine the horrors during my third year in college when we were required to take Comm 3, a speech class. I took a Filipino version of that class, Komm 3, thinking that I will be able to negotiate giving a speech in front of a class of 20 quite manageable because it’s in Filipino.  But no, turns out my stage fright is as worse a plague to me as my childhood asthma. So I dropped the course. Eventually of course, I had to retake it and took the English version, and the teacher was better in coaching us how to speak out of our shells. Yes,  survived and passed that class eventually, but with great near-death agony.

So imagine the tension of the build-up this movie had in me when it was unfolding, up to the very first time the king had to deliver his first wartime speech. It was such a very simple situation but its preparation was so cleverly built up during the first act and the whole of second act so by the time we reach the climax, we were so ready for it. A success of great scriptwriting and great acting-directing helped enormously by a good pulse in editing. Now that’s how film techniques work together to build a great story and elicit meaning. Simple genius.

So see the list of nominations it garnered this year and we’ll see what happens next at the end of this month. Ayus! I think this has a big chance. So many good films competing this year. Have to watch some of them pa.

Okay roll credits then!


Posted in British film, Oscars, queer cinema, queer issues in film on September 6, 2008 by leaflens


originally posted at


s. from the novel by zoe heller

c. dame judy dench, cate blanchett

pitch: a veteran closeted lesbian high school teacher uses a younger new teacher’s scandalous affair with a student to curry favors in her favor

catch: putangina ang homophobic!



bwisit! bwisit ito! nakakairita! arrgghh! sayang ang talents. pero iyon ang ipinagtataka ko: bakit pumayag ang talents na lumabas dito?????????

the film is about hidden scandals, usually frowned upon by society. cate’s character is an art teacher in a high school and currently undergoing a seven-year itch sa marriage niya with an older man. si dame judy naman is a closeted lesbian pero alam naman ng lahat ba, yung ganun. she had a previous run-in with another teacher na, it turns out in the end, naging stalkerish ang moda niya at the girl had to issue a restraining order pa sa kanya. tapos heto na naman siya, na-focus-an niya ng affection yung new art teacher na halos i-blackmail niya emotionally pero pa-underground ang dating when the art teacher had a sexual love affair with an underage student. haggard! i’m sure hetero ang sumulat ng novel na ito, and not once binanggit nila ang posibilidad ng sexuality chever ng closeted older teacher. nakakainis kasi napaka-homophobic lang ng buong set-up, not to say na walang lesbyanang closeta man o hindi na mangba-blackmail ng ganun sa isang babae para maging emotionally indebted sa kanya yung gelay. maraming ganyan diyan sus i can name names hahahaha. pero that’s not the point. the point is, sobrang condemned na agad ang character ni judy in the beginning, kahit na cate’s character was “punished” for punishing the closeted lesbian, pero iffy pa rin ang whole situation, kasi the older teacher ends up beginning something na maaaring ganun ulit sa isang complete stranger in the end. aaaaah basta! ayoko ito. buset. kakainis. argh. sayang talent! asar.

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