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Gay film is Philippines hope for next year’s Oscars

Philippines choose Bwakaw, story of 75-year-old gay man, as their nomination for best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards
Bwakaw, a Tagalog gay film has been chosen by the Philippines to represent them in the Oscars.

The Philippines have chosen gay movie Bwakaw as their nomination for best foreign language film at next year’s Academy Awards.

It’s the story of a lonely 75-year-old gay man who came out at the age of 60 and is in Tagalog, spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the south-east Asian country and as a second language by most of the rest.

Bwakaw, stars Eddie Garcia, a popular Filipino actor, as Rene, an crusty, ill-tempered, elderly gay man with a sensitive side.

He fills his lonely existence talking to his dog, Bwakaw, visiting a former female flame at a nursing home hanging out with a gay couple who run a hair salon.

Filmmaker Jun Robles Lana, 40, told the Wall Street Journal: ‘Gay stories don’t sell in the Philippines. And it’s a movie about growing old.’

But despite that the movie has attracted international attention, screening on the festival circuit in New York, Hawaii and Toronto.

It uses humor to ‘break the silences’ says Lana as he ‘didn’t want the film to be bleak’.

Rene was inspired by Rene Villanueva, a playwright who came out late in life and died in 2007. He was Lana’s real-life mentor and teacher.

Watch the trailer below:

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