Title: Baka Bukas
Director: Samantha Lee
Actors: Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Louise Delos Reyes
Rating: 5 Stars
“Alex (portrayed by Jasmine Curtis-Smith) is a 23-year old gay girl based in Manila. She is out in the closet to most people close to her, except her best friend – Jess (portrayed by Louise Delos Reyes) who she has been secretly in love with since they were kids. When Jess discovers the truth about Alex, they are forced to confront the feelings they have for each other.”
This film, directed by Samantha Lee, was a finalist in the narrative category of 2016 Cinema One Originals. It gained the attention of the people through the social media, because the story revolves around the most common and cliché thing, falling in love with your best friend. But there’s a catch, the lead roles are portrayed by both girls.
I thought this film wouldn’t be given a nationwide screening, but it did, and being a part of the LGBT community myself, I decided to watch the film along with someone special to me, and see what the hype is all about.
“We were never in love, we were just each other’s in-between.”
This is one of the lines that would really strike you throughout the movie. It sends a message that sometimes the people we meet are really meant to leave in the end, because we were just each other’s lesson, a way of preparation for the real thing, love.
Both girls have been going through their own break-up phase when the film begins. The movie then takes us to the scene where Jess’ tags along with Alex, as she and with her other gay friends have a night out at a bar. This then leads to Alex’ accidental coming out to her best friend, and explaining her sexuality in her very own logic, and it involves using tapa and bagnet.
“One of the scariest things about coming out is finding out if the ones you love will stay after,”
Alex tells her friend Julo, after she came out to her best friend Jess.
This really struck me, because after being true to yourself and self-acceptance to your own sexuality, this comes second to the scariest thing. Coming out is easy, it’s the anticipation of the reactions and answers you’ll get that’s scary, it’s what kills you after spilling out the truth about yourself. Finding out if the ones you love will stay after is part of this anticipation, because in all honesty, we are all afraid of being left by the people we love, because we just can’t lose them.
Alex then faced a complicated relationship with her, as her feelings for Jess started resurfacing. This is now where Jess and Alex’s romantic feelings for each other started blossoming. But like in reality, a relationship like theirs faces a lot of hardships. One of this is to be told to hide who you are to save your career, and to be discriminated by the same members of the LGBTQ+ community who you thought will understand what you’re going through. This caused the two of them to separate. Alex chooses herself, and Jess chooses her career.
Just like what the title of the film says, “Baka Bukas”, the movie finished with an open ending, where the relationship of the two lead actresses can either be continued or not, and a thought that,
“Baka Bukas Pwede Na.”
The film really deserves a 5 star rating, because the plot tackles issues that I, myself faced and continues to face in this current generation and society. The movie features the struggle of coming out to your family, friends, and even in workplace, but mostly of being true to yourself. On the other side, Jasmine Curtis outdid herself and the expectations from herself. She was a great choice for the role, which sets her apart from her sister Anne.
She portrayed the role with such audacity that made her even more ideal for the movie. Her acting skills where very much highlighted not through the words she speaks but through the non-verbal actions. In most of the scenes in the film, not words were much needed but the proper body expression, and in those moments, Jasmine sparkles through, because her eyes and body movements expressed every emotion conveyed by the film.
And even though the film is LGBT themed, everyone will be and can relate to the story of the film.
Jess’ cowardice showed us the realistic representation of how we, people love. It shows us that even though someone out there who is way better, who is more worth it that is already in front of us, we always tend to go back to the ones who wear stupid sparkly dresses, to the ones who make our heartache in the most painful way possible, to the ones who always want so much more. Whether you’re a girl or a boy, a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, we have our very own Jess. The one we can’t say no to, the one we can’t unlike or unlove. Because the sad truth is, liking or loving them is not like a simple game of tug of war that if it’s hurting to hold on we can just let go. And I think that’s it, that’s who Jess really represents to us. Jess is our own person who gives us a lot of reasons to fucking leave and walk away, but we just can’t because no matter how much we stumble and fall, she or he will always be Jess.