Image Credit: ‘About Us But Not About Us,’ The IdeaFirst Company

In About Us But Not About Us, a Filipino literature professor meets the student he mentors out for a meal. At first, it seems innocent enough, but the longer they talk, the more their secrets reveal themselves.

Taking place in real time, more or less, we watch as the connection between these two gay men becomes more and more tangled. And it all comes to the surface in one single location: A restaurant table.

In other words, it’s My Dinner With Andre—but make it Flipino, gay, and deeply surprising!

(Is that a movie people still reference? You know, the one where, the entire time, we just watch André Gregory and Wallace Shawn have a pretentious conversation?)

Anyway, despite its simple, single-location execution, About Us But Not About Us is a surprisingly deep exploration of identity, queerness, and imbalances of power, all served up on the dinner table. And, as early reviews make clear, it comes with a final twist that’ll knock you on your feet.

The film comes from prolific director Jun Lana, who has described the project as a deeply personal one that is “part fiction and part confessional,” drawing upon experiences from his own childhood.

Romnick Sarmienta stars as the professor, Ericson, with Elijah Canlas as the student, Lancelot, who is not nearly as innocent as he lets on. For instance, early in their conversation, he shows his mentor the account he set up online where he sells his amateur nude videos—that’s definitely crossing all sorts of lines.

Despite some of its controversial subject matter, Canlas—who became known internationally thanks to the success of his popular “boy love” series Gameboyssays he’s eager for the film to be seen by a wider audience and thinks its time Filipino audiences, in particular, becomes more receptive to LGBTQ+ stories.

About Us But Not About Us has been met with praise as it makes the rounds at international film festivals. It premiered last year in Estonia at the Tallinn Black Nights film fest, and more recently debuted in its home country at the Summer Metro Manila Festival, where it won a whopping 10 awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Now playing in cinemas across the Philippines, About Us But Not About Us has yet to receive a U.S. release date, but stay tuned for more details to come. Check out the film’s trailer below:

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