Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World (2003)

Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World (2003)

Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World is the first documentary to deeply explore the lives of gay and lesbian people in non-western cultures. Traveling to five different continents, we hear the heartbreaking and triumphant stories of gays and lesbians from Egypt, Honduras, Kenya, Thailand and elsewhere, where most occurrences of oppression receive no media coverage at all. By sharing the personal stories coming out of developing nations, Dangerous Living sheds light on an emerging global movement striving to end discrimination and violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

Format: DVD5
Runtime: 62 minutes
Country: USA
Disc: 1
Price: PhP 60.00

IMDB Review

After two viewings, I've concluded that DANGEROUS LIVING is one of the finest documentaries focusing upon the global LGBT human rights struggle that I've seen; it's lone major flaw is that it left me wanting more.

The film is structured around the well-publicized and much-protested persecutions and torture of a number of gay men arrested in what was presumed to be a comparatively safe environment in Cairo, and the incident is used as a touchstone to explore what gay, lesbian and trans-gender activists in a number of other countries have had to endure. Activists from Brazil, Honduras, Namibia, Uganda, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Fiji and The Philippines are interviewed, and in every instance I wanted less voice-over, and more 'in their own words' discussion. I also would have liked to hear more about where conditions have improved, and how those improvements were obtained. DANGEROUS LIVING does also manage to hint at the link between the LGBT rights struggle, and the broader fight for human rights around the globe, and likewise suggests (an opinion I share) that state-sponsored homophobia has been heavily shaped by Western influences. Both of these issues still await further cinematic exploration.

I'm of the opinion that the fight for LGBT rights is global, and that we are overdue a documentary that would make that plainly clear to Western LGBT communities who may take certain freedoms for granted, and - in relying so heavily upon voice overs, I'm not certain that this film does that effectively in its' comparatively brief running time. Still, this is both a moving and an infuriating film, and it does work as an inspiration to further research; to paraphrase the late writer and activist Paul Monette, a difficult life can take you to the core of your being; teaching you what has to be fought for and how - DANGEROUS LIVING does this often, with moving reality.

At the risk of cheer leading, I would strongly encourage others to seek this film out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Torrent Link: Maynila Sa Kuko Ng Liwanag (1975)

Maynila Sa Kuko Ng Liwanag (1975)

Released 1975
Director Lino Brocka
Starring Bembol Roco, Hilda Koronel, Lou Salvador Jr., Princess Reymundo, Tommy Abuel

Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag is structured into episodes. After the episode with the construction site, homeless Julian is wooed into becoming a street hustler for a chance for quick cash. He sells his body, his dignity, his manhood for the original promises of a bright future by the neon lights that tempt everyone to enter the city. Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag is basically a film that threads together snippets of melodramatized chunks of reality. It's a huge cake to chew on and one might actually consider the film a bit too painful to watch, much too depressing and too tragic. The tale of Orpheus is subjected to the test of modern reality where hell is not another world, but a city where sweat, blood, and tears are commodified, and those who are ignorant enough to get enchanted by its grandiose promises are oppressed and forever trapped in its clutches.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Torrent Link: Galawgaw (1982)

Galawgaw (1982)

Download Torrent HERE:

DVDRip, Recoded to 685MB, English Softsub
Video: DivX, 624x464, Watermarked
Audio: MP3

Director: Ishmael Bernal
Cast: Maricel Soriano, William Martinez

Love always comes as a surprise.

Maricel Soriano plays the role of Olga, a sharp-witted and feisty tricycle driver who seems to have finally met her match – a match in love. When the rich and charming Truman (William Martinez) accidentally bumps into Olga’s tricycle, love sparks instantly flew upon his first sight of her. What follows next is a series of hilarious and romantically charged events as Truman moonlights as a taho vendor in order to win Olga’s heart.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bishonen (1998)

Bishonen (1998)

Jet (Stephen Fung) is a handsome gay hustler whose sex appeal seems to know no bounds. Everyone wants to make love to him, but he is in love with no one but himself.

Things change drastically when he notices what seems like a young couple in a shop, Sam (Daniel Wu) and Kana (Shu Qi). At first sight, he falls in love with Sam and begins following the two around.

Jet's friend Ching, who is also a hustler, runs a personal in a gay magazine for Jet, imploring Sam to contact Jet.

At first, Jet is angry with Ching for not asking him, but his wrath subsides quickly when indeed he meets Sam again in what seems like a chance encounter, but actually is an outcome of the personal.

Sam turns out to be a police officer and Jet starts to befriend Sam, hoping this will turn into a relationship. But Sam does not seem to notice Jet's intentions towards him.

Unbeknownst to Jet, Sam had a homosexual affair with pop star K.S.(Terence Yin) five years earlier. At the same time, Ching had been in unrequited love with Sam (then calling himself Fai) when the two were still office workers.

Format: Dual Layer/DVD9
Year: 1998
Runtime: 101 minutes
Country: Hong Kong
Disc: 1
Price: PhP 80.00

IMDB Review Inspired by a scandal in the Happy Valley area of Hong Kong, in which a wealthy playboy was found to have taken thousands of photographs of police officers posed in various states of undress, BISHONEN is nothing less than a romantic homage to male beauty: Stephen Fung plays a handsome prostitute whose vanity is breached after he falls in love with an equally attractive young cop (Daniel Wu) who is closeted from his old-fashioned parents (Kenneth Tsang and Chiao Chiao) and wary of forming new relationships due to events in his recent past, events which finally catch up with him in the worst possible way.

Directed by photographer-turned-filmmaker Yonfan (BUGIS STREET, PEONY PAVILION), this unusual film was actually promoted as a spectacle for *female* viewers, though the narrative is defiantly Queer in tone and construction, and unfolds with all the melodramatic excess of a 'Harlequin' romance. While Yonfan's script and direction may seem hopelessly naive to some Western viewers, his painterly eye uncovers the beauty in HK's urban sprawl, as well as the physical attributes of the actors themselves, and some of the images of languid young men are genuinely intoxicating. Terence Yin (HOT WAR) plays an aspiring pop singer who leads Wu astray from an old boyfriend (Jason Tsang) during a long flashback sequence explaining Wu's melancholy demeanor, prompting a number of oblique references to actor-singer Leslie Cheung, whose suicide in 2003 ended the long career of one of HK's most beloved gay icons. In fact, Yonfan uses the milieu of HK's sexual 'underworld' to comment on the former colony's clandestine gay scene, and the ways in which it has been downplayed (or hideously stereotyped) by an overtly conservative media. Gay fans of HK cinema have always relished the voluptuous splendor of Asian film stars (Bruce Lee, Alexander Fu Sheng, Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, countless others) and the homoerotic undercurrents which fuel hundreds of tough guy action movies and sensitive dramas (despite what some blinkered western critics would have you believe); BISHONEN drags the implication out of its closet and exposes it to the clear light of day.

Many scenes are unscripted and/or shot guerrilla-style on the streets of HK, and while some of these vignettes are rendered inconsequential by unskilled actors, the script's emphasis on the redeeming power of love is both heartfelt and charming. However, the closing scenes - in which a leading character makes a tragic error of judgment - will strike some viewers as regressive and unnecessary, though the situation is entirely believable in the context of Eastern sensibilities. Shu Qi (SKYLINE CRUISERS, THE EYE 2) plays the only significant female role in the movie, a lesbian who acts as a go-between for Fung and Wu, and the movie is narrated by Brigitte Lin (famous for the sexually fluid roles she has played in countless movies); HK film critic Paul Fonoroff also appears, in a brief cameo role. Along with Wong Kar-wai's HAPPY TOGETHER (1997), this was one of the first HK films to depict gay sex in an explicit manner, though some of the supporting players are clearly uncomfortable during moments of supposed intimacy. However, Wu has no such inhibitions: He's stripped to his underwear on numerous occasions (revealing a beautiful, gym-toned body) and shares a couple of detailed sexual encounters - a memorable shower scene with Yin, followed by a climactic make-out with Fung - which represent milestones in HK Queer Cinema.

In a country where careers are often made and unmade overnight, Fung and Wu have since become major players on the HK movie scene. Both were educated in America (Wu had only a rudimentary grasp of Cantonese when cast in BISHONEN, his first movie), and while both were selected by Yonfan primarily for their looks, they give strong performances in complex, difficult roles (Fung's character remains sympathetic despite his narcissism, while Wu is a haunted, tragic figure). Fung - the son of former Shaw Brothers actress Sek Yin - is quite simply *gorgeous beyond belief*, and his subsequent films (including blockbusters GEN-X COPS, THE AVENGING FIST and MY SCHOOLMATE, THE BARBARIAN) have assured him a place in the pantheon of HK teen idols, though his cool, insouciant beauty was never captured with more grace or allure than here. He turned director in 2001, co-helming the multi-episode HEROES IN LOVE before going solo on the well-received comedy-drama ENTER THE PHOENIX (2004), in which he cast Wu as the gay son of a dying Triad who resists his father's criminal legacy. Of the two, however, Wu is the more accomplished actor, another teen sensation whose career has encompassed everything from commercial juggernauts (PURPLE STORM, NEW POLICE STORY) to intimate 'Art-house' entries (BEIJING ROCKS, NIGHT CORRIDOR), and he's gained a reputation for playing sexual outsiders in unconventional films, earning him a sizeable gay following throughout SE Asia.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Paupahan (2008)

Paupahan 2008

Download Torrent File HERE:

DVDRip, Recoded to 740MB, Softsub
Video: DivX, 640x352, Watermarked
Audio: MP3

Three unrelated but interwining stories of characters-all seemingly ‘living dead’-unfold in this anthology of lives of have-nots who have become commodities that are either for sale or for hire,in a most unlikely milieu:a public cemetery just a stone’s throw from a squatter’s area( Kalye Sangandaan) in the city near the lake.

Gloria ( GLORIA ROMERO),a 73 year-old caretaker of a rich family’s mausoleum,has a simple wish:to be buried beside the tomb of her husband Donato who has long been dead.But the same mistress,ETANG ( LUI MANANZALA),with whom Gloria shared her infidel husband,continues making life miserable for Gloria.
DADENG ( GERMAN MORENO),Gloria’s 65 year-old gay neighbor who sells flowers for the dead in funeral parlor,is burdened by the child ( of a dead love-of-his-life) now a teen gay Byuti ( KIRBY DE JESUS ),an incurable romantic who is head-over-heels in love with Topher ( JOSEPH BITANGCOL) ,a 19-year old “user-friendly” bum,later revealed to be a closet “gay”.

Estrella Kerubin or Star ( KRISTA RANILLO ),21,is a trying-hard bit-player who has not stopped dreaming,believing and surviving in a dying showbiz. She’d do anything for her ambition,even use her body to please the powers-that-be,including a caterer/caretaker( MON CONFIADO) who claims connections with the production staff. Star has a ‘silent war’ with mother Lucinda ( SNOOKY SERNA),48,whom Star blames for the death of her father/stuntman).One common thing,though in this feuding mother-daughter tandem is their compulsion to work and earn.Lucinda brokers for neighbors who sell their kidneys and other vital parts for a fee.Ironically,she’s a chain-smoker who tries to survive despite her cancer-stricken lungs. While ,Tonio Torres ( ALLEN DIZON ),29,is a male starlet-member of an all-male group called “Wild Boys”.He has seen better days as a bold starlet-now-a pimp to new aspirants. Star calls him a showbiz “kuya”.Despite his misgivings, TONIO’S a resourceful breadwinner who uses his income for expanding his humble abode by building adjoining rooms he rents out for added income. He is also fighting for the custody of his daughter.

Roberto San Pedro ( JAY MANALO ),32,an ex-convict,gets paroled by a powerful armed group who uses him as an assassin.A man of few words whose eyes reveal personal tragedies and utter bitterness,he’s a reluctant hitman married to a nervous wreck,Angela San Pedro ( ANGELU DE LEON),29,a good former public school teacher who has lost job after cracking due to extreme pressure.

Almost all of the above stories are resolved.Others are open-ended ‘coz that’s reality.Being treated as a commodity is a hurting truth we have to live by.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
El EspĂ­ritu de la Colmena

In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Ana, a sensitive seven-year-old girl in a rural Spanish hamlet is traumatized after a traveling projectionist screens a print of James Whale's 1931 "Frankenstein" for the village. The youngster is profoundly disturbed by the scenes in which the monster murders the little girl and is later killed himself by the villagers. She questions her sister about the profundities of life and death and believes her older sibling when she tells her that the monster is not dead, but exists as a spirit inhabiting a nearby barn. When a Loyalist soldier, a fugitive from Franco's victorious army, hides out in the barn, Ana crosses from reality into a fantasy world of her own.

Format: DVD5
Year: 1973
Runtime: 97 minutes
Country: Spain
Disc: 1
Price: PhP 60.00