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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 22, 2016

Ned's Project Movie Review: Sorry To Say But Angeli Bayani Failed To Convince Us That She's A Lesbian In This Film

WE’VE SEEN SOME entries in the currently ongoing Cine Filipino Filmfest. We watched them on Gateway which is their only theatre outlet in Quezon City. We were annoyed when we bitten by bugs while watching. Here’s hoping Gateway will fumigate their theatres for the convenience of their moviegoers.

Angeli Bayani won best actress for “Norte: End of History” and also got acclaim for her acting in films like “Iloilo” and “Bwaya”. She now plays a role that can be very challenging to any actress: that of Ned, a lesbian tattoo artist who desperately wants to have her own baby in the CineFilipino Filmfest entry, “Ned’s Project”. She even joins a reality dance contest so she can use the prize money to undergo artificial insemination.

The film won best picture and Angeli won as best actress in the CineFilipino Awards Night. We’ve not seen all the entries so we don’t know if the movie were truly deserving. But with Angeli, she may be a good actress but sorry to say that she failed to convince us that she’s really a lesbian in this movie. She does lesbianic things in the movie, like having kissing scenes and love scenes with other women, but she still comes across as an actress who is JUST ACTING like she’s a lesbian.

This becomes even more glaring and obvious when she is in the company of real lesbians in the cast who really look so authentic and effortless in their being butch and are not acting at all. Even in the dance contest she joined, all the real lesbians are dancing fast modern numbers, but Angeli is shown dancing in an interpretative faux ballet number where she looks so pathetically short and fat in her red dress and definitely shows no trace of being a lesbian at all. That scene where she is forcing an openly gay friend to have sex with her is meant to be amusing but is actually off-putting.

Max Eigenmann fares better and comes out more natural and believable as Ned’s love interest, a free spirited girl who seems confused as what she wants to do in life and later chooses to defy her family to be with Ned. What the movie directed by Lem Lorca actually succeeds in doing is to be a wish fulfilment for lesbians, as Ned not only gets her wish to be pregnant (she was impregnated by her male barkadas while in a drunken stupor) but she also gets the girl of her dreams. How many lesbians can claim that kind of a happy ending in their respective lives?

Giving great support in this movie are Lui Manansala as an older lesbian, theatre actress Ana Abad Santos as Ned’s caring sister (this is Ana’s second movie after ‘Apocalypse Child’ where she’s also good) and Biboy Ramirez as Ned’s friend.