Boy (2009)




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Boy is a 2009 Philippine film by renowned and critically-acclaimed Filipino director Auraeus Solito. The 83-minute film produced by recounts a young poet''s infatuation with a young macho dancer.

Boy (also as BoY) has been shown in many international film festivals. The Board of Film Censors in Singapore banned the showing of the movie because it "normalizes homosexuality and romanticizes sex between men." Boy was screened in the Philippines in June 2009.

“BoY” is a coming-of-age story about a boy who falls in love with a Macho Dancer. A young budding poet (Adam Asin), who is unnamed, observes lip-synching drag-queens and dancing rent-boys in a gay bar one evening and finds himself attracted to Aries (Aries Pena), who comes from a poorer part of town. Selling his action heroes and comic books so as to be able to afford Aries for one night, he buys Aries at the bar and brings him home for the new year. Sparks fly while celebratory fireworks go off outside the house and the boys forge a fragile connection that neither of them is certain will last. This is an idealistic, coming-of-age tale of a sensitive boy who arrives at his first lesson about love and who learns to grow confidently into his own sexuality.

Possessing neither the kick (a truly bizarre situation), length (100 minutes) nor scope (an interesting swath of Philippines society) of his surprising debut feature, The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros, Manila-born director Auraeus Solito''s latest is a small wisp of a movie that, if given half a chance, may yet charm you despite its very quiet pacing and lack of "events."  In "Blossoming," a cross-dressing, pre-adolescent boy from a family of gangsters falls for the local rookie cop.  Here, the 17-year-old BOY of the title sets his sights on a slightly older dancer/hustler whom he sees in the local bar/brothel, and a sweet ''n sexy relationship begins.

Boy is actually Solito''s fourth feature, but we haven''t yet been able to see his middle two -- Tuli (2005) and Philippine Science (2007) -- per-
haps because they are not as out-and-out gay-themed as are his two "B" movies (Blossoming and Boy) and thus do not so immediately fit into the thriving-if-small, gay niche market here in the U.S. In any case, Solito (shown at left) seems in Boy to be after an odd combination of wish-fulfillment fantasy, family life, economic reality and political discussion. Just as oddly, he makes it work -- if barely, and at least for this viewer, whose know-
ledge and understanding of the
Philippines is tenuous, at best.

The title character, played by a pretty, somewhat feminine-looking actor named Aeious Asin , seems at first a fellow of few words. He is talked "at" by the owner of the brothel bar where we first meet him, and then by his mother. He only comes into his own, verbally, at a poetry workshop where he recites his poem about "getting harder than hard" while watching another boy with a hard-on dance. This might not win the PEN award, but at least it''s direct. The other boy, barely much older than his counterpart, is played by a more macho but still quite sweetly appealing fellow named
Aries Pena .

The camera-work (from Louie Quirino) captures the movement of the dancing bodies within the darkly colorful club beautifully, and later, when the two boys are at Aeious'' home for a holiday dinner, it offers us an even more beautiful scene of lovemaking that includes passionate kissing and exploring, glimpses of Aries'' erect member, and visuals that weave in, around and through the many fish tanks placed about Boy''s bedroom. (Earlier, we''ve been treated to an explanation of the various tanks and the fish that inhabit them.) This sex scene seems quite real, with the two boys demonstrating genuine fondness, as well as passion -- all of which combines for an especially pleasurable experience.

Previously, over dinner, Mom and Boy have argued politely the merits of life under the
Marcos regime against that of Cory Aquino. And in the morning, Boy travels with his new friend to the latter''s home -- nowhere as nice a place as his own, so we get a little class distinction, as well. Mom seems to take all this sexuality in stride, and for a New Year''s resolution, both she and Boy agree not keep contradicting each other. Close family ties, according to Solito in both his "B" films, seem to trump homophobia every time.