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Cinemalaya Series: Lando at Bugoy

Lando at Bugoy ang makukuha mo kapag hindi ka makapag-desisyon kung gusto mo maging inspirasyon sa mga matatanda o maging pangaral sa mga kabataan.

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Lando at Bugoy ang makukuha mo kapag hindi ka makapag-desisyon kung gusto mo maging inspirasyon sa mga matatanda o maging pangaral sa mga kabataan.

Sa ilalim ng direksyon ni Vic Acedillo, jr., ang “Lando at Bugoy” ay isa sa bumubuo sa siyam na pelikulang kasama sa hanay ng Cinemalaya ngayong taon.

Tungkol ito sa kwento ni Lando (Allen Dizon), isang biyudong hindi nakapag-tapos ng hayskul na mag isang binubuhay ang kanyang ama at anak sa pamamagitan ng paggawa ng mga lapida, at si Bugoy (Gold Azeron), ang bulakbol at pariwarang estudyante na may matinding galit kay Lando sa hindi maipaliwanag na rason.

Isang araw ay pinatawag si Lando ng principal upang kausapin tungkol sa ugali ni Bugoy. Sinabihan siya na hindi siya makakatapos sa pag-aaral kung hindi pa rin siya magtitino at papasok sa eskwelahan. Nagtalo ang dalawa kaya’t napagisipan ni Lando na bumalik at tapusin ang pag-aaral para mabantayan ang kanyang anak at para na rin patunayan na hindi siya mangmang.

Nugnit, imbis na ganahan si Bugoy ay lalo pa itong nagalit sa ama dahil pakiramdam niya ay isa itong kahihiyan sa klase dahil sobrang tanda na nito para mag aral. Nagpatuloy ang relasyon nilang ganito hanggang sa dumating ang isang pangyayaring nagbuklod sa kanilang mag ama.

Ang “Lando at Bugoy” ay hango sa tunay na buhay ni Silvina Bajao, isang guro. Pinakita sa pelikula na matapos ng pagbabati nila ng anak niya ay nakapagtapos sila ng high school at nagtuloy-tuloy hanggang kolehiyo. Magandang tema kung tutuusin dahil gustong ipakita ng pelikula ang hirap na pinagdadaanan niya araw-araw dahil pinagsasabay niya ang pagiging estudyante at ama subalit hindi niya ito magawa ng maayos.

Marami akong napansing problema sa pelikula ngunit lahat ito ay nasa istorya at hindi sa teknikal na aspeto. Napakagaling ng pagganap nina Dizon at Azeron sa kanilang mga karakter. Malinaw at dama talaga ang mga emosyong pinapakita ni Dizon. Hindi mo rin mapipigilang hindi maki simpatya sa karakter ni Lando.

Sa kabilang banda naman ay galit ang mararamdaman mo sa karakter ni Azeron dahil sa lantaran nitong pambabastos sa tatay. Siguro may ilang punto na sasang ayon ka sa kanya ngunit sa pangkalahatan ay siyang binating may matinding problema.

Subalit sa kabila ng natatanging pagganap na ito ay natabunan ito ng iba’t ibang problema. May mga diyalogo, lalo na sa pagitan nina Lando at Bugoy, ang nagmumukhang pilit at hindi makatotohanan. Para bang sinasadya nila itong palalain sa hindi makatotohanang lebel. May mga punto rin na hindi na nabanggit na makapagbibigay linaw sana kung bakit ganoon ang relasyon nina Lando at Bugoy tulad ng kung ano ba nangyari matapos mamatay ng nanay ni Bugoy kaya ganun na lamang ang galit niya sa tatay niya. Isa pang napansin ay nagpakilala sila ng isang importanteng karakter sa kalagitnaan ng pelikula: ang tatay ni Lando (Roger Gonzales). Nagmukhang wala sa lugar ang karakter at parang naisipan lang na ilagay diyan sa para maging isang bahagyang “comic relief” pero kahit kung susumahin ay wala pang sampung minuto ang “screen time” ni Gonzales ay nagawa niya pa rin makapag bigay ng magandang pagganap.

Ngunit walang tatalo sa pang wakas. Dito ko sobrang naguluhan. Malabo ang mga nangyari. Isang iglap ay bigla na lamang nagkaayos sina Lando at Bugoy na parang walang nangyari. Maayos na sana na matapos ng lahat ng pinagdaanan nilang mag ama, sa dulo ay magkakaayos din sila kaso nasira ito dahil sa magulong pagkukwento.

Maraming mapupulot na aral sa Lando at Bugoy. May kaugnayan din ang istorya nito sa kasalukuyang panahon kung saan maraming matatanda ang gustong mag aral ulit ngunit nahihiya dahil sa edad nila. Kaya nga lang, hindi nito kinayang suportahan ang bigat ng istoryang gusto nila sabihin.

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Which UST street are you?

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

Another year, another Buzzfeed-esque quiz that is based on purely subjective notions. This quiz can somehow garner questionable results as they can be entirely different from how one sees oneself, but still feel free to take a (good) three-minute break and validate which UST street completely molds your Thomasian existence. Enjoy! 

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‘Awit’ and the normalization of transphobia

With music as a tool for liberation, we must not let the likes of “Awit” to limit our minds, let alone poison our culture with prejudice.

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Screenshot from the album cover of the now deleted song "Awit" on Spotify.

Erich Gabriel Bongon, also known as Young Vito posted a video of himself on Twitter singing a preview of “Awit” last Dec. 5, 2019, a song he that composed with sexist undertones and transphobic lyrics. Netizens were quick to call out the rapper when the preview is posted, prompting him to delete the video and issue an “apology.”

What happened afterwards? Was he cancelled? Was he given career opportunities after the incident? Did he change his ways and most importantly, did he educate himself on gender rights?

Young Vito is known to have signed a recording contract with Viva Records. With the record label having full knowledge of the incident, Young Vito and Viva Records have enabled themselves to go further: to release the same song with the same infamous lyrics, capitalizing off its notoriety on social media.

Awitis just one of the many Filipino songs propagating harmful ideas that does not only target the transgender community, but also encourages the normalization of transphobia and a culture of hate in the country.

Young Vito’s “Awitis a trans woman, with the singer implying that the woman deceives men, that there is something wrong with them. 

The song’s album art depicts a trans women using a urinal, as if implying that they should use the male’s comfort room; a controversial choice due to the ongoing debate on trans peoples’ comfort room access.

After receiving flak, the rapper posted an apology on Twitter, at the same time refusing to delete his video and liking tweets saying that people are “too sensitive.” He deleted the video afterwards.

A few days later, the rapper signed a five-year contract with Viva Records. After that, the song is released on multiple streaming platforms last Jan. 17, 2020 under Viva Records, with Emmanuel “NEXXFRIDAY” Salen producing and providing the beat for the track.

Photo grabbed from Young Vito’s Instagram account @youngvitoph

“Despite the controversy surrounding the song, Awithas been turned into a full-blown bop…,” the caption of the now-deleted lyric video in Viva Records’ Youtube channel reads. 

The song is then deleted on Spotify one day after its release.

Awitis just one of the many Filipino songs with transphobic lyrics. Songs like Abra’s “Gayuma” and Kamikazee’s “Chiksilog” portray trans women as someone who deceive men with their looks, while also spreading the notion that trans women are still men even if they have already identify themselves as women. 

One may think that the lyrics of these songs are harmless but for the transgender community, it makes their lives more difficult than it is.

In a country where the trans community are ostracized, where even some members of the LGBTQ+ community preach transphobia, where the likes of Hermie Monterde are still discriminated in the workplace, where personalities such as BB Gandanghari and Jake Zyrus are mocked online, where women like Gretchen Diez are shunned and arrested for entering the comfort room, where people like Jennifer Laude and Jessa Remiendo are murdered for being transgender – these songs spread dangerous ideas to the public. 

These songs normalizes harmful prejudices embedded in our culture. It hinders the LGBTQ+ community, especially the trans community’s fight for equal rights. It makes the idea of targeted discrimination and hate crime acceptable, painting a harmful image on people’s minds that it is normal to mock transgenders with the help of a song.

Music has been used to break the status quo, teach important lessons, and in some cases, aid in bringing down tyrants. With music as a tool for liberation, we must not let the likes of “Awit” to limit our minds, let alone poison our culture with prejudice. 

If we want true progress, we must lose the chains of backwardness binding us, and we can start by taking small steps—starting with picking good songs to listen to.

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Kadenang Ginto is more complex than ever

The show may seem ordinary in the spectrum of teleseryes, but with the bouts of recognition and attention it harbors, shows like Kadenang Ginto may have the tendency to succumb to society’s patriarchal roots—a premise that has been the show’s subdued message from the very beginning.

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Photo from ABS-CBN News

Media and entertainment industries, especially in the Philippines, have undoubtedly created a number of teleseryes that got viewers hooked. Iconic lines from television shows made their way through social media, thus birthing an irreversible decade of video parodies, i.e. “Cassie, hindi ka muna papasok sa iskul” which came from the ABS-CBN afternoon prime show, Kadenang Ginto (directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng and Avel Sunpongco). This particular boomerang created by the show serves as a primary example of the proliferation of teleseryes into the in-betweens of people’s mundane realities. 

Usually, Filipino TV formulas have just been restricted to cookie-cutter stories such as rich girl-poor girl rivalries, wife versus mistress conflicts, and other types of predictable stories with a recurring plotline—dramatically mirroring the struggles of which people could sympathize and in some cases, empathize with. 

Now, with the recent narratives of most materials, it is fitting to raise the question: do teleseryes, such as the case in point, subconsciously imply a patriarchal and capitalist society which can water down women’s roles as simply pawns of the men-splayed environment?

Dissecting the Initial Premise of the Show

The whole idea of the show displays a tangled story between Daniela Mondragon (played by Dimples Romana) and Romina Andrada (played by Beauty Gonzales). Romina, a glorified Secretary, marries the business tycoon and father of Daniela, Robert Mondragon (played by Albert Martinez).

Caused by jealousy, Daniela strived to emerge relevant by physically and emotionally belittling Romina to death, hoping that she could at least gain more relevance in the old Mondragon’s life. It gets more complicated when Daniela marries Romina’s past lover, Carlos (played by Adrian Alandy), who still has unresolved feelings for the latter.

While Daniela’s past actions remain important both in their family business and in the lives of the men involved, it seems questionable that all her intentions were for the sake of these men.

While it is also applauding that Daniela and Romina are their own persons who are fully responsible to stir changes necessary to keep the show going, one may question the end of not just the character’s intentions, but as well as the writers’ inclination to probe and provide a substantial arc for these characters.

It raises the question, especially during a period when a new character was introduced in the persona of Richard Yap, a rich businessman, who somehow became a catalyst on how the character of Romina can get back on track. 

Are the women in Philippine teleserye doomed to always be swept off their feet by some men to garner the easiest way out?

The show may seem ordinary in the spectrum of teleseryes presented by the network, but with the bouts of recognition and attention it harbors, shows like Kadenang Ginto may have the tendency to succumb to society’s patriarchal roots—a premise that has been the show’s subdued message from the very beginning.

Now (with the plot lines tangled and recurring), the characters and their progressions can be attested to hopeful major changes (thankfully), as lead female characters are taking matters on their hands especially with Romina Andrada-Mondragon gaining more control over her circumstances, a (seemingly progressive) march of silent revolution, veering away from the initial premises of the show – yet still bound to its original plot line.  

Trudging the Conventional

While the network’s teleseryes’ cookie-cutter and cardboard characterizations of women are proven formulas, fresh perspectives are always a welcome venture with the exploration of complex female characters. 

Writers and show producers must become more socially-reverberant that they not only choose to showcase shows that pay the rent. In the Philippines, it is slowly building its pace with independent films being at the forefront.

Unfortunately, most mainstream media consumers are still inclined with choosing the proven formulas so mass media practitioners also stick to what generates more audiences. What the consumers can do now is to try to become more adamant to good and progressive changes – utilize the everlasting “get out of your comfort zone” notion. 

Media, as compared to what it tries to cater to before, has certainly come a long way with the sprouts of powerful women characters here and there. Unfortunately, Philippine mainstream media and its consumers sat way comfortably in the reassurance of these boxed and usual beliefs.

It may possibly take a while for these teleseryes to do the same with their high intentions to generate money, even if the essential purpose of art to heighten and challenge the empathic tendencies of the people can definitely suffer.

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