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Jason Tan Liwag

Jason Tan Liwag is an openly gay scientist, actor, and writer finishing his Master's in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at UP Diliman. When he's not in the lab or onstage, he's writing film essays and scripts for future films. As a film essayist, he has previously been published in Underdog, CNN Life, Rappler, and Film Daze. For hiring or bullying: @jaseybel.

Lemongrass Girl

Lemongrass Girl (2021) and Ritualistic Restrictions

Dagupan City, Philippines — “Has anyone seen Piano?” Lemongrass Girl follows the story of a young production assistant named Piano who is assigned to plant lemongrass daily to prevent rain from disrupting their filming process. This ritual, reserved for virgins, is a common practice in Thailand, especially on film sets. While she takes on this …

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little-women-2019

Little Women (2019): Owning Your Story

Note: There are spoilers in this essay about Little Women (2019). In Greta Gerwig’s sophomore feature Little Women (2019), four sisters forge their own way during the American Civil War in the hopes of reasserting their agency and womanhood in a perilous time. It is an overwhelmingly warm love letter to sisterhood and family, but also a …

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019): Love, Art, and Continued Emancipation

NOTE: This article has spoilers. As soon as the Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons stopped playing, I sank into my chair, with tears in my eyes, and knew I had seen it – the kind of film that you will be lucky enough to witness and allow into your life. It reminded me of the time I …

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sila-sila-2019

Sila-Sila (2019): Tackling the Gray in Queer Relationships

Note: This essay has spoilers. We open on Balete Drive. If you’ve ever watched Okatokat or Magandang Gabi, Bayan in your childhood, or read at least one entry of Pinoy Ghost Stories, you’ll know this place is the setting of many hauntings. Then, a car parks. In it, two characters sit, waiting, until it’s quiet enough to have sex (‘car fun’). In …

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carlo manatag filmography

Carlo Manatad’s Filmography: What a Girl Wants, What a Girl Needs

“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History Have you ever wondered what would happen if men weren’t in the picture? In the absurdity of this absence, what are we left with? In this freedom, what can women discover about themselves and the world around them? Carlo Francisco Manatad‘s three short …

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‘Plano (2004) and Salingpusa (2006): A Little Girl’s Plight

Is it lifting off or landing? The short film ‘Plano (2004) opens with the familiar sight and sound of an airplane overhead – untouchable in a cloudless sky towards a clear yet unknown destination. Then we cut to: a paper plane, now touching the dirt and gravel, is dragged aimlessly by a little girl. She is dressed …

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