Up for a vote in the Academy Awards nomination process this year will be an independent Filipino film, which takes a heartfelt, and at times playful, approach to the subject of a 70 year old gay man, nearing the end of his life. The film, titled Bwakaw (or, Voracious) is a tribute on the part of Director Jun Robles Lana to his late mentor Rene Villanueva, and depicts the experience of a grumpy, older man, whose friendship with a dog (Bwakaw) allows him to open his life, and reflect upon missed opportunities. Bwakawis one of the near 40 films entered into the Foreign Language category this year, and if chosen will be the first ever nominated film from the Philippines.
The choice to include a great amount of humor in the film, provide the means for Lana to sneak in serious messages about loneliness, for while Filipinos are generally open to homosexuality, he believes that a serious film on the topic might be hard to swallow for the mainstream local audience, as the country is so predominantly Roman Catholic.
Find out more, and view the trailer after the jump…
While the popular Filipino star, Vice Ganda, is an openly gay comedian, Lana recognizes that the decision to take a comedic approach to homosexuality is generally more readily accepted by his society. Bwakaw has received positive reviews thus far, and though Lana recognizes the possibility of it being branded as a “gay film simply because the character is gay” Gainesville.com, he sees the themes of reflecting on life, considering missed opportunities, and considering the importance of desire as universal experiences, regardless of sexual orientation.
Bwakaw is currently doing rounds of international film festivals in Toronto, Hawaii, New York, and Tokyo. Watch the trailer (with English subs) here!