Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Comfort Gays: The Life of Walterina Markova

markova"As humans, we won’t live long. Revealing my own story is my way of inspiring other gays who continue to be oppressed today. By my act, I may have probably given freedom to many other gay people." - Walterina Markova

Markova -- Markova is a Filipino movie about one of its most controversial issues during the WWII era. It is the story of Walter Dempster, Jr., a Filipino-Jamaican who struggled with his gender issues in a society where homosexuality was taboo. Yep, Walter Dempster, Jr. is gay and he goes by the name of Walterina Markova.

The story in the movie starts with Markova's teenage years where the viewers can see the abuse homosexuals get during that time. He was often bullied and beaten up by his gay-hating older brother, Robert. Markova only found freedom and relief after his brother died and Markova found six friends who were like him. They then had fun cross-dressing and dancing in clubs, while hiding their sexual orientation to people.

Markova's freedom is short-lived when the Japanese troops came to the Philippines during the 1940s in the advent of WWII in Asia. He and his friends were dancing in a hotel for Japanese officials who later brought Markova and the others to different rooms for sex. The Japanese found out that they were men underneath the female clothes and were sent to a Japanese camp to be imprisoned for 'deception'. There they experienced being used for the Japanese soldiers' pleasure all the time and were also forced to do labor. The only time Markova truly became free was when the American troops finally saved the Philippines from the Japanese.

Anyway, Markova really is a historical movie because his story encompasses three periods - his past (from the 1930s to 1940s), his present (when he worked for the movie industry as a make-up artist during the 80s and 90s), and finally, the future - whether homosexuals will truly be accepted in the Philippines without any discrimination.

The movie itself, even though it was a biography plus that of a gay person, garnered positive reviews because the actor who played old Markova was the Philippines' comedy king, Dolphy, while his sons Epi Quizon and Eric Quizon portrayed the parts of young Markova and middle-aged Markova respectively. It really is a great movie, not only because of the actors, but the story of a comfort gay during the Japanese regime makes it worthwhile to watch. Markova is funny and sad, plus you get to know how hard it is to live as a homosexual during the past.

Do watch Markova. Highly recommended for people of different sorts.