This feature contains sexual content, direct quotations from the its "documentary" subjects (pageant contestants). DO NOT PROCEED TO READ IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY SEXUAL MATERIAL. This, like most of the local films featured in this blog, is a "review" of a film we saw at a commercial cinema. The details have been painstakingly included to provide an objective description of the movie's contents.
It's a bit unnerving finding myself in a cinema showing well sculpted, albeit half naked men constantly threatening to pull down their skimpy bikini briefs - moreover, they seem to have mastered sliding down their hands underneath their briefs to check out if the family jewels were still there. Are they detachable? And every time they do, I felt like slouching down my seat - then wear a Venetian mask as I'd eventually make my way out of the theater hall. Is paying for an admission fee a form of condoning the obvious exploitation? This is what I get for this obstinate desire to watch all local commercial releases.
BIKINI PAGEANT DOCUMENTARY
Styled like a pageant and documentary, director Rad Francisco's "Bikini Boys" features 10 physically fit men who join a bikini contest. The criteria for winning is never mentioned, but I was sure it included the propensity to caress oneself in front of a camera. Each contestant is presented in an interview. After which, he is highlighted in an erotic solo scene where he ends up languidly breaking the 4th wall as he slides his hands down his crotch. This is obviously the art of masturbating with briefs on. LOL. To cap a scene, the contestant is then shown by the poolside, taking some laps before getting out of the water on his wet bikini.
LITTLE STORIES AND SEEDY CONFESSIONS
It is interesting how these men are lured into such an endeavor, as they superficially get to unravel in their individual interview portions (yes, they're still in bikinis while getting interviewed).
Eugene Tejada, the 21 year old runaway winner, did it for the "exposure". This, he hoped, would open opportunities and maybe allow him the chance to follow Dingdong Dantes' footsteps (his "idol"). One of three siblings in a middle class family, Eugene took Food Technology at the Bulacan State University. He admits to having had several girl friends in the past. It's his second time to join a male pageant and he "liked the experience". "Feeling ko, artista ako," he enthuses on the attention showered on him. Even his first sexual experience is asked: "First time ko, 16." Prodded about sexual encounters with gay men, he says he had one when he was 18. "70% naman ng mga artistang lalaki, meron eh," he rationalizes. Wherever did he get his figure? Favorite food: "Cake... because it's sweet." Tejada, blessed with boyish charm, is a natural interviewee; he is candid and speaks with confidence despite the relative sensitivity of some intrusive questions. I guess he knew what he was getting into. Did he deserve to win? This 5'10" looker obviously has the best chance to crossover to mainstream cinema, in my opinion.
Some interviews get too abrasively intrusive, short and disinterested. DJ, for example, gets asked about his sexual stamina. "I've done 7x in a day," he replies, and considers "doggy style" his favorite position. The only other thing we learn from him: he grew up with a single mom, and he is currently single.
Jethro Sanchez is a male pageant fixture. He's been in contests held in San Juan, Novaliches and Fairview. His best finish: 1st runner up. How does he prepare for a contest: diet and gym. He admits to not having any gay experience yet. How often does he pleasure himself? "Dati nung nasa apartment pa ako, araw araw," he declares matter of factly. Which does make me blush. Favorite position: missionary and dog style.
Jerome, 21, is in his 2nd contest. He previously won "Darling of the Crowd" (you'd wonder what he actually did to please the crowd) and "Mr. Placenta". Life hasn't been easy for Jerome. He grew up not having the constant presence of his dad. "Second family kami, at dalawa ang kapatid ko," he says. He's had two girl friends in the past. He hails from Floridablanca, Pampanga.
It is Carlo Serrano's second time to join a contest. This 5'11" Ilocano, currently residing in Quezon City, is taking Tourism in Trinity College. His dad works at the Customs while mom stays home. Though he's currently unattached, this 20 year old chinito has had 3 girl friends in the past, and works in a bar. His first sexual awareness was at age 7 when he inadvertently watched an X-rated film. Says he has no sexual experience with gay men. Favorite sport: Volleyball. When he pulls down his undergear's lining, we see a couple of tattoos of huge stars peeping from under. Who knows there could be a whole gamut of constellations if he pulled his bikini further. A moon maybe? LOL
Jay Viernes, with his sexy chinky eyes and 5'11" frame, asserts a magnetic presence in front of the camera. He should be Tejada's main competition. This 19 year old looker took HRM in Lyceum and is currently working as a waiter. He lost his virginity in 3rd year high school to his second girl friend.
Jed Rivera's only entry during the interview was losing his virginity at 14 to his then girl friend during the JS Prom. Rommel Rabida is better seen than heard, but he is also one of the more provocative and less inhibited in the bunch. He admits to having lost virginity at 15 to his girl friend, but soon thereafter, he got his first time with a gay man. He joins these contests to help support the studies of his siblings. In one scene, he is shown changing his briefs in front of the cam (while cupping his endowments). But of course, something has to peep through.
Dandy Yap is a curiosity. He is a Korean model who wants to experience joining a male pageant. His skin is luminescent and his accent is noticeable. He would say "I rearned my Tagarog" (learned my Tagalog) - and "You nevel know who wir win", which sounded sexy. LOL. He then pleads to the audience to "Vote for me. If i win, I can stay longer (in the Philippines)". Then adds, "If you see me in a club, tell me you voted for me. I will buy you a drink." It is rather unusual to find foreigners join such contests because this isn't exactly Body Shots which has spawned several big names!
Clyde Cruz works at a call center, but I find his enunciation a bit troubling. His rolls his words together, they sound incomprehensible at times. He has won a couple of male pageants in Alabang before, thus he carries himself with confidence. He is a bathroom denizen, taking at least 45 minutes to shower, then 1 hour and 30 minutes to "fix" himself up. Asked about his bedroom jaunts, he boasts, "Ang pinaka-wild ko, 8 to 10 rounds in 12 hours." Are we talking about food? Or online games? Or musical chairs? Then he adds, "Karamihan sa kuwarto." LOL
There was absolutely nothing about DJ Lopez so he must have lost a few points without an interview - or the makers weren't interested in one. But of course, he still has to do the requisite "caressing of the crotch" then jumping into the pool. That's the main objective of the contest: to get them wearing a bikini then parade them wet!
To be honest about it, I was surprised to find such flagrant display of masculinity (constant mashing of crotch) sans the customary pretense of a story because this, after all, is a documentary and reality TV-styled bikini contest. Rommel Rabida is even seen thumbing his genitals as he prepares to face the camera for his swimming pool shots. (That way, it doesn't "shrink" when he jumps into the pool, perhaps?) Another guy is highlighted showering for the requisite peekaboos. There is no doubt about it, "Bikini Boys" is made to titillate and display the masculine form.
DVD FIRST, COMMERCIAL EXHIBITION LATER
I am, of course, of the idea that such cinematic project seems misplaced in a public cinema. I feel this should only be made available in the privacy of someone's bedroom. There is something quite seedy having it shown in a commercial cinema. My friend Kyle told me that a DVD of this film was actually released last year, which commenced an online contest through the all-male site www.rddantes.com. This means that the DVD version doesn't have Eugene Tejada as the winner yet, right? But what intrigues me is the "amount" of frontal nudity possibly available in the DVD version. The commercial film offers a couple of fleeting frontals. Does the DVD offer more?
CENSORSHIP, OPPRESSION & THE ARCHAIC SYSTEM
The question above is a valid one because we are curious of the new MTRCB's permissiveness and liberal sensibilities. Ms. Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, the new Chairman, seems like a smart executive who hails from a more liberal new generation. Though I am not too pleased that a movie like "Bikini Boys" gets shown commercially, I am also more concerned with the continued presence of "censorship" in this country (Check out Nicholas Cage's latest actioner, "Drive Angry" and tell me you aren't jarred by its numerous cuts.). We should adopt a more acceptable Ratings System where the artistic freedom of expression in films is upheld - no cuts, no censorship. Censorship, after all, is oppressive! Haven't we learned anything from the despotic Marcos Regime? Let the public choose what they want to watch, according to a well appointed ratings system (i.e. G, PG, R, NC-17 and X). Cutting provocative or sexual scenes is archaic and belongs to small minds and socially repressed societies.
Are we a backward society? "Censorship" still exists in the Philippines. Maybe we are.
Please read our post about Cinema Bravo (featured post) and why we sometimes feel nginig about Web Criticism: