Straight to the Heart: The lighter shade of Gay
The film straddles the flippant and the melodramatic; as well as transgression and normativity to effectively address concerns of a world generally threatened and challenged by evolving norms and sexual mores that precisely veer away from the long privileged heterosexual paradigm.
For all that is seemingly implausible at the core of its narrative, Dave Fabros’ debut feature, Straight to the Heart, is decidedly an enjoyable situational comedy for the big screen with much debt to its fine acting ensemble ably enhanced by a peppering of a coup of smart cameo appearances from the industry ranks of accomplished actors, otherwise not associated with laugh-out-loud comic stints.
Fabros’ film is among the newbie efforts that may offer a study in stark contrast to the output of the more seasoned among the emergent directors with entries at this year’s Cine Filipino Film Festival now playing in some participating eight cineplexes across the metropolis. Needless to say with a theme of mistaken sexuality, it plays with fire and invites heavy scrutiny for the politics of gender its discourse cannot afford to elide.
Critics may be divided whether its view of sexuality and its stand on what society considers as aberrant expressions of gender roles can be regarded as progressive. However, the film must be credited for exploring a widened social vista by which contemporary questions of sexuality and gender can be now seen and appraised.
As if the sexual revolution has finally caught up with the times, stigma is cast not only on people grappling with crises of sexual identity but also on those who discriminate and cannot have tolerance exactly for the former and their behavioral predicament.
What the film has made all too apparent is the unique human nature that sets it apart from all others in the animal kingdom. While there may be for all the living in the universe only two genders, boy and girl, an individual’s expression of sexuality and preferences cannot be limited to the social constructs and dictates that define one’s gender. This must be why unlike all other animals, people are said to have free will and a person’s sexuality may be more fluid than one may readily deem. Something to this effect is somewhat voiced out by the film as it prods audiences to read between the laughs and hence arrive at a deeper understanding of what the film may categorically state.
Beneath the veneer of a light and heartwarming drama-cum-comedy is an investigation of the complexities that underlie issues of gender and sexuality in today’s world. And this could only be the case since never at any point in history and civilization till now that sexuality in humans could rapidly mutate and unravel so many strands, forms and variations.