Philippines Chooses Film About An Elderly Gay Man To Represent It At Academy Awards

Bwakaw (rhymes with “Macau” and translates to “voracious” or “greedy”) tells the story of a lonely 75-year-old man who came out at the tender age of 60. Last week, the Philippines chose the film as its best foreign-language submission for the Academy Awards.

“Gay stories don’t sell in the Philippines,” filmmaker Jun Robles Lana told the Wall Street Journal.“And it’s a movie about growing old.” While the film explores the silence and sadness of aging, Robles Lana “didn’t want the film to be bleak” and therefore” used humor to break the silences.”

This humor is being played up in marketing the film in the Philippines, where local comedies and horror movies are more likely box office hits.

Bwakaw stars the popular Filipono actor Eddie Garcia as Rene, an elderly gay man who fills his lonely existence talking to his dog, Bwakaw, hanging out with a gay couple who run a hair salon and visiting a former female flame at a nursing home.

Rene was inspired by Robles Lana’s  real-life teacher and mentor Rene Villanueva, a playwright who came out late in life and died in 2007. “He was a colorful character, harsh and generous at the same time,” the filmmaker told WSJ. “My greatest fear was forgetting him, and I wanted to do a project to honor him.”

Bwakaw has already hit the fesitval circuit, touching down in Toronto and screening in New York and Hawaii next month. You can check out the trailer below:

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