by Reign Loleng
Last week, I was able to see a movie called “Booking” and boy was I disappointed. I meant to write a review the film, but during my research I was more interested with its lead star – Marco Morales. I googled him and boy was I overwhelmed with the throng of blog articles (and pictures) about him.
Who is he?
A friend told me that he was once a part of GMA-7’s Sunday afternoon show SOP and was a singer and a member of a boy group SOP Showboyz.
So is he a singer?
Not quite. I checked his filmography – not much there – and I noticed that he has appeared prominently in three films - “Booking”, “Butas”, and “Walang Kawala.” All three films are independently produced and let’s be frank about this, they all sell sex. Of the three, “Booking” and “Walang Kawala” are gay-themed and I happened to have seen both of them.
So he is actor, then?
In “Walang Kawala” he only appeared in few scenes but he is very memorable for showing his goods. He played a macho dancer so a sexy dance scene was almost obligatory, but the full frontal nudity came in as a shock for me. I seriously did not expect that. The gay man in me appreciated the peek-a-boo moment but the artist in me was asking “is that even necessary?” Conflicted as I may be, but I sure as hell remembered him. That scene and Joseph Bitangcol’s kunot-noo-galit-ako intense acting are the two things I best remember from that movie. For good reasons or not, I remembered who Marco Morales is.
Now “Butas” I haven’t seen, but I am currently downloading a copy. A friend of mine saw it and I asked him what he thought of the movie. What he said didn’t exactly surprise me. Marco Morales, apparently, showed his goods again for the world to see. And I asked my friend, “was he good in it?” to which he replied “I really don’t know, I was busy checking out his dick.”
Guess who made a quick cameo on Morales’ “Booking?” If you say his thing, then you guessed right. If your eyes are quick enough, you could spot it making a very quick appearance. I swear his penis should be on the marquee on his next movie. They should credit it a la “WITH A SPECIAL PARTICIPATION OF… Marco Morales’ Penis.” I heard that the movie did not do well in the box-office (granted it is indie so this is no surprise) and I think the reason for that is overexposure. And I am not even kidding. After seeing the same thing over and over again, people are bound to get tired of it.
Again, who the hell is Marco Morales?
Marco Morales is an actor who is not afraid to take off his clothes for “art.” And more than that, he is the personification of everything that is wrong with independent films in the Philippines. Nowadays, producers and directors are getting away with showing titillating movies that sells sex as long as they call it “indie.” They are duping the public into thinking that what they’re movies are of the high art just because it is labeled as such. They are duping actors like Marco Morales to strip on camera because it is “indie.” Gone are the days were the word “indie” is synonymous to a cinematic experience of higher art form. Now, when you say “indie” it just means a film that could have been produced by Seiko in the ‘90’s.
I’m not condemning Marco Morales. In fact, I feel for him. He is being victimized by some people who wants to make some money off of his penis. I even think that in his mind he is doing something, uhm, important and artistic.
I’m not even condemning independent film producers because I have seen a lot of them and some of them are just brilliant and a true cinematic gems like “100”, “Padyak”, “Tulad ng Dati.” In fact, “Padyak” has one gay sex scene and it was handled tastefully.
What I am trying to do is challenge the producers to make good films and not bank on nudity and hide behind a convenient label that may help them avoid the flak of the censors. Hey, they marketed “Booking” as the gay version of Lino Brocka’s “Bona”. Talk about misleading. I am also asking them to make better gay-themed movies that do not use sex as a major selling point. Can’t we make a gay-themed movie that does not involve sex?
I am also asking the gay movie audience – US - to be hungry for good quality gay films. The likes that does not portray us as sex-starved maniacs who would use art as a way to show some skin. Let’s be vigilant, and if possible be involved.
After all, we are not just about sex – aren’t we?