Rundown: Films that helped shape local queer cinema, according to Pinoys

June 12, 2024 - 1:32 PM
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Film posters of "Markova: Comfort Gay" and "Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” (ABS-CBN Restoration/TMDB)

In celebration of Pride month, some Filipinos online remembered iconic movies that paved the way for diverse LGBT representation in the entertainment industry.

From telling untold struggles to shaping public opinion, some local movies are credited for laying groundwork for where Pinoy queer cinema is right now—and where it is headed in the future.

Trailblazing gay man portrayals

Online personality AC Soriano took to X (formerly Twitter) to acknowledge the contribution of late comedian Dolphy Quizon in queer-centric storytelling.

During his time, the actor, dubbed “Comedy King”, portrayed gay men characters in movies like “Facifica Falayfay” (1969), “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” (1978), “Darna, Kuno?” (1979), and “Markova: Comfort Gay” (2000).

Many other X users agreed to the sentiment.

“Pidol crawled and helped clear the trail so ‘Petrang Kabayo’ (Dick and Vice) and all others could strut and slay,” an X user wrote.

“OMG 🌈 That’s why ginawan talaga namin ng vid sa channel yung Markova 😭,” wrote pop culture content creator @hoyramona.

In her analysis on the Sisne POP channel, she discussed what sets “Markova: Comfort Gay” apart from others.

“This movie stands out as a significant piece in Filipino cinema not only for its compelling storytelling and stellar performances, but also for its critical recognition and the vital conversations it sparked about historical injustices and gay rights,” she said.

“Markova” is a drama-comedy that tells the true story of Walter Dempster Jr., also known as Walterina Markova, who was a real-life “comfort gay” during World War II.

Dolphy’s other portrayals of homosexual men include “Jack n’ Jill of the Third Kind” (1978), “Susanang Daldal” (1962) and “Pepe en Pilar” (1982).

Not only was Dolphy the “King of Comedy”, he was also dubbed as a trailblazer in gay portrayals.

In an interview in 2010, he told broadcast journalist Arnold Clavio that queer characters are his most memorable roles.

“Ako ang nagpasimuno ng mga pabakla-bakla na yan,” Dolphy said.

To more sapphic movies

In a lesbian movies appreciation post, one X user shared snapshots from movies “Becky & Badette (2023), “Ang Huling Cha-cha ni Anita” (2013), “Billie and Emma” (2018), and “Si Chedeng at si Apple” (2017).

“Sana magkaroon pa ng mas maraming mga pelikulang Pilipino na tungkol at para sa mga queer women,” the post read.

Other Pinoy X users shared the same opinion.

“REAL! Desperately need more queer Filipino films, and not just ones where they use queerness as a form of comedy,” the online user wrote.

In the movie “Becky & Badette”, comediennes Pokwang and Eugene Domingo play friends and “lovers” who navigate the pressures of life together.

It was celebrated for putting a lesbian storyline in a mainstream holiday movie.

In one of its scenes, they also paid homage to “T-Bird at Ako” (1984), the classic movie where Vilma Santos and Nora Aunor played as love interests.

The Metro Manila Film Festival 2023 entry “Becky & Badette” is available for streaming on Netflix.

READ: Where to stream these MMFF 2023 entries legally