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Picture from here.

This short film was written and directed by a friend of mine, my classmate from college, Clanch Dayve Belleza.  At the 2015 International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM) in New York City, USA, Clanch's opus garnered an Honorable Mention and a Best Actor Award for Albert Chan Paran, who plays the titular character, Julie. Being a short film, it clocks in at barely thirty minutes and it's available for free streaming at VIDDSEE.

Click on the link. Watch it. Share it to your friends. Then come back here to talk about it.


THE STORY

Julian Capoy -- Julie to most people -- didn't mean to be a construction worker. In fact, it was the last thing he wanted to do. But having found his forte in this ultimate man's world, Julie tries to navigate his way through this sea of masculinity while hiding his true self from all but those closest to him. But can a person live like this for the rest of his life? Should he? In this short glimpse at a turning point in Julie's life, we see what beauty there is in being true.


THE REVIEW

In the wake of the SCOTUS decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges, which declared that state-level bans on same-sex marraige are unconstitutional (in effect, legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S.), it's easy to imagine a life where LGBTQ isn't LGBTQ but just, you know, people. But reality is much harsher.

In the Philippines, members of the LGBTQ community are tolerated for the most part -- for as long as they keep their same-sex relationships in the wraps. If they flaunt it, the snickers and the bigoted comments follow.

In the media, gay people are mostly portrayed as comic relief but with a slightly nasty overtone: the humor is always anchored on the fact that gays are apparently sexual predators, pursuing innocent straight people who rebuff their advances. It's a primitive concept, considering the era we live in, but we see it in our shows and we tolerate it.

But change is coming. GMA TV has made at least two shows with a same-sex couple in the lead. You might say, so what? TV shows from around the world has had LGBTQ characters in their roster for some time. While that is true, for Philippine TV, this is revolutionary. And the main couple being a same-sex couple? That is truly unique.

I don't know what's fueled this kind of bold move in Philippine TV. Is it a trend? A fad? Or are we finally taking that first step towards acceptance? We'll have to wait and see. What does make me believe the latter is how these shows portray same-sex relationships as special, not because the individuals belong to the same sex, but because all relationships are. And that is how it should be.

They're just people, people.

Thus, Belleza's Julie isn't so much a story about a gay man who works as a construction worker but a working man who is trying to make ends meet. His problems are ordinary. His job hunting in the beginning of the film is highly relatable. His family even more so. This is life. Sometimes, it's infuriating. Sometimes, it's funny. Sometimes, it makes you ask, "Why God?" And sometimes, it's heart-breaking. But always, it's beautiful and true.

I like this film, not only because it was made by my classmate, but because it's a nicely made film. I mean, sure the transition between scenes could be smoother and the comedic timing of the actors could be better but the humor is there, and I laughed. I genuinely laughed. It's a feel-good film with a wonderful, touching moment from Paran, which must be why he won best actor.

But my favorite is definitely Auntie Patty. She's very cool.


THE SCORE
Story - 6
Sound - 7
Cinematography - 5
Production Design - 6
Special Effects/Editing - 5
Acting - 7
Overall - 6/10



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