Bwakaw: A Journey of Self-Discovery
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Homosexuality is a topic that is lightly taken in mainstream Philippine media. Homosexual characters are often used as side characters intended for comedic relief. However, Indie film, Bwakaw, brings a whole new conversation into the topic, and to life as well. The late veteran actor, Eddie Garcia, brilliantly plays Rene who is a bitter, old, gay man living a life of solitude with his dog, Bwakaw. Rene has been a closeted gay man all throughout his life, it is only until his twilight years that he finally embraces who he is. The film is about Rene’s journey to self-acceptance which ripples into him fixing his relationship with his friends and colleagues. At the start of the film, Rene’s relationship with the other characters is strained, his sarcastic remarks and overall sour attitude repels anyone. He is introduced as a cold, cynical but a dutiful man. He is hard on his beliefs and rarely shows any affection or empathy for the people who care for him. Save for his first girlfriend, Amelia, whom he visits every now and then, out of guilt. Rene looks forward to dying, he pushes away anyone who gives him a bit of concern. The effects of his stubbornness, and indifference to others is subtly shown in the way he revises his will. Director Jun Lana makes it a point to show Rene’s isolation through mundane scenes of Rene’s everyday life. It is only when his loyal companion, Bwakaw, falls ill that Rene learns to open himself to others. His transformation has been slow but steady. Starting with his coming out to Sol, who rejects his advancement. To Alicia, who tells him to forgive himself and never to visit her again. Until his own physical transformation as he dyes his hair, a scene that is symbolic of him embracing his gay side. At the end, Rene is a completely different person from the one that was first introduced. He may not have his ideal ending, but he had more than that, a sense of self-fulfillment and self-acceptance.

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