June is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, and streaming service iWant is busting out its rainbow flag for everyone in the community.
To mark the celebration, iWant has compiled a list of free and premium titles that revolve around queer characters, shatter stereotypes, and illustrate their struggles and triumphs with warmth and compassion.
Here are some of iWant’s colorful recommendations this month:
1. Coming-of-age stories: “2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten,” “Metamorphosis”
Adolescence is a challenging time when young people come to terms with who they are, and as a result, often feel confused and sometimes misunderstood. But as a young queer person in a heteronormative society, do you follow the rules, conform, adapt? Who do you turn to when everything just gets so confusing?
Capturing the turmoil and excitement of youth are films “2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten,” which follows a 90s kid confronting his sexuality, and “Metamorphosis,” about an intersex student who identifies as male, until he gets her period.
2. Falling for a friend: “Baka Bukas,” “Shift”
Catching feelings for a friend has its complications. What’s worse? Falling for your best friend who doesn’t know you’re even rooting for the same team. But when the opportunity presents itself, will you take a leap of faith or will you stay in the “comforts” of the friendzone?
In “Baka Bukas,” best friends Alex (Jasmine Curtis-Smith) and Jess’ (Louise delos Reyes) dynamic changes when the latter finds out about the former’s sexual orientation. In “Shift,” tomboyish Estela (Yeng Constantino) hides her pain from her openly gay co-worker Trevor (Felix Roco) whom she is in love with, when she finds out about his new boyfriend.
3. Friendship and solidarity: “Deadma Walking,” “Seoul Mates”
Prepare a box of tissues for “Deadma Walking,” where the friendship of gay best friends Mark (EA de Guzman) and John (Joross Gamboa) is tested when the other is diagnosed with a terminal illness. The movie packs a hilarious punch when they decide to fake John’s death so that he could hear people’s opinions of him, eventually realizing death’s inevitable pain and toll.
Meanwhile, in the Filipino-Korean feature film “Seoul Mates,” an unlikely friendship develops between a Filipino transwoman and a straight, lovesick Korean as they try to scheme their way into supporting each other’s relationships despite having affection for one another.
4. The intricacies of relationships: “Changing Partners,” “Sila-Sila”
Love is love, and whether it’s gay or straight, we basically contend with the same question when we’re in a relationship: How do we make it work? However, queer relationships are even made more complicated with issues of sexuality, external scrutiny, and even ridicule.
“Changing Partners” and “Sila-Sila” offer us realistic portrayals of modern queer relationships and break-ups – we all fall in love, get hurt, and hurt someone else.
5. Unexpected connections: “Rome and Juliet,” “T-Bird at Ako,” “Fluid”
Being attracted to the same sex may feel like being trapped in a star-crossed love story, especially if you thought you were straight all your life. Such is the case for the two women in “Rome and Juliet,” played by Mylene Dizon and Andrea del Rosario, who unexpectedly find comfort in each other while planning Juliet’s wedding to her boyfriend.
No less than Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos starred in a radical 1982 film “T-Bird at Ako,” where the Superstar plays a lawyer who helps a dancer with her homicide case, and eventually struggles with keeping things professional amidst her growing attraction to her. The iWant original series “Fluid” also tells the story of a recently single woman (Roxanne Barcelo), who comes face to face with her own sexuality when she is forced to choose between her ex-boyfriend and a confident lesbian woman.
6. Staying true to one’s self: “In My Life,” “Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes”
While authentic self-expression is a universally admired quality, we need to acknowledge that being out and proud may not be easy for some queer people. After all, not everyone has equally understanding loved ones. What we all need to do, instead, is foster an environment where everyone feels empowered to fully live their life.
As such, we can turn to films that can inspire queer people, as well as their families and friends, to be more understanding of one another. In “Dalawang Mrs. Reyes,” two women (Judy Ann Santos and Angelica Panganiban) get the shock of a lifetime when they discover their husbands are lovers. In “In My Life,” an uptight mother (Vilma Santos) realizes she can’t control the life of her gay son and his boyfriend.
7. Coming out later in life: “Si Chedeng at si Apple,” “Rainbow’s Sunset”
It’s never too late to come out and live your authentic self, as portrayed in these two films featuring Philippine showbiz legends.
In “Si Chedeng at si Apple,” Chedeng (Gloria Diaz) comes out as a lesbian after her husband dies, and then goes on a search for her one true love in Cebu, finally breaking free from the shackles of societal expectations. “Rainbow’s Sunset” also finds the late Eddie Garcia coming out to his family in his twilight years, unbothered by his family’s criticisms, to take care of his dying lover and best friend.
8. Navigating queerness in a conservative, homo- and transphobic environment: “Miss Bulalacao,” “Die Beautiful,” “Mga Batang Poz”
“Miss Bulalacao” and “Die Beautiful” reveal the experiences and struggles of queer people trying to find their place in a world that seemingly only views them as queer and nothing else. Interestingly, both movies have similarities in their milieu: the protagonists are crowned beauty queens who are fighting to gain acceptance from their bigoted fathers.
In the iWant original “Mga Batang Poz,” four HIV-positive teenagers find solace and friendship with each other amidst the stigma around their diagnosis and rejection from their families.
Catch all films for free on the iWant app (iOs and Android) or iwant.ph. For updates, like www.facebook.com/iWant, and follow @iwant on Twitter and @iwantofficial on Instagram, and subscribe to www.youtube.com/iWantPH.