After the what organizer Vanessa Ho implied as an ‘orgy’ during the opening night, House of Incest continued with private film screenings and talks, all around the theme of sex.
Uncomfortable topic to be discussed by the general society, the theme was interestingly explored and hopefully, to start out RAP’s online discussion, House of Incest day 2 presented Macho Dancer.
Macho Dancer is a 1988 Philippine film, directed Lino Brocka, which explores the harsh realities of a young, poor, rural gay man, who attempted to make a living for himself in Manila’s seamy red-light district.
Macho Dancer tells the story of Paul, a young man from the suburb moving into the city of Manila, where red light district highlights the illegal tourism activities. Paul befriends Noel, a macho dancer like him who then together looks for the missing sister of Noel. Paul’s sexuality is later revealed that he is heterosexual but the hints of homosexual romance between the two men seems to be obvious throughout the movie.
More about the film here.
Check out its trailer below
Well, this post is not about featuring the film but aims to look into the imagery and subjects that are brought into the moving images itself. After the screening, Vanessa invited the audience (which was left half the number by the end of the film) to discuss about the film, as she led the discussion.
One of the most interesting question is why dance? Why do the men have to dance in order to attract their customers? Dancing scenes and bathing scenes were made extremely long (as extensive as 30 minutes) and it delivers a very strong sense of discomfort, as if we were watching an actual performance.
Vanessa then made the connection of the dancing (which one of the audiences compared it to belly dancing) to feminine quality. It is as if masculinity is not sexy, and it has to be delivered as feminine as possible (through the dancing actions). This leads to the discussion of where the boundary between masculinity and feminine characteristic is drawn.
The ‘macho dancer’ scene is no foreign to Bangkok’s Go Go Boys where similar, or in fact almost the same routine goes on on nightly basis, for a couple of rounds. Men, young men with huge endowments parading themselves, numbered and put up their flesh for nightly sale (sometimes longer). Many are straight and money is behind all of it. Pretty much like the character Paul, and even Noel and maybe the whole group of macho dancers in the film.
It makes me thinking that the suburb’s perception towards sex (due to their limited access to education; which i believe to be western influence) seems to be more open and tolerable compared to the people in the city. Paul’s mother acknowledges his son’s ‘job’ as it brings the family income and that specific scene in the film surprises me a lot. Whether or not this is a real scenario (well, maybe comparable to the number of families involved in this situation) or not, I would definitely like to find out more about the theory. Does western influence restrict our perception towards sex?
Do have your say about it! Let’s start the discussion 😀
Oh, do check out The Bakla Review here, as it ranks top 10 macho dancers films!
Macho Dancer was screened privately on 29 June 2011, Tuesday, 8pm at Post Museum. Thank you to the Obscene (Vanessa Ho) for organizing this.