Gaya sa Pelikula (Like in the Movies)
How do you even write about something you’re experiencing for the first time? Where and how can I even begin to be able to grasp the words in trying to express how I feel not about BL or queer media; but specifically for a Filipino BL series done correctly?
Perhaps we can start with the overarching concept of the title of the series: Gaya sa Pelikula (Like in the Movies) that draws inspiration from beloved Filipino movie scenes that are considered iconic, memorable or those that are filled with the “kilig” (doesn’t really translate to anything but closest definition is exhilaration or excitement over something romantic) factor.
The homages are very subtle, well thought out, and executed properly without trying too hard. When it works, it works seamlessly to introduce something familiar poured over a world usually neglected to be included in romantic, sad, comedic, and sometimes cheesy movie scenes reserved for the favorite hetero couples.
Then, something you don’t notice often, the soundtrack; specifically handpicked for each episode thus far, is meticulously chosen to amplify the scene ever so perfectly that you can’t help remember the emotions pouring out of the scene every time you listen to the song (streaming on Spotify) each and every one. Every scene is cut specifically and blatantly to the song lyrics being sung as if to add “dialogue” without utilizing voice overs.
I don’t even know how to describe how elegantly executed the script was in setting things up for the grand reveal at the very end of each episode. How it allows you to further understand something that’s meant to catch you off guard. So many intricate parallelisms in their experiences as to how one feels in an empty space, for example, or how one feels towards the other.
How do you even place into words how someone can just keep watching the same episodes over and over again and find something new, interesting, and profound laced within the fabric of the storytelling done right. How a detail mentioned earlier in the episode is meant to give you pause as to what it meant and then later on is revealed and would add a different meaning to how it was said prior.
I’m no expert in cinematography by any means and I appreciate the effort of specifically, particularly choosing to focus on something as a means of how to show and not tell; much like how other directors choose to do so. Nothing is ever too dragging or lingers on to make for a longer episode. The choices of shots, scenes, and sequences are deliberate to show you exactly what you need to see at the time you’re supposed to see it.
Don’t get me started on that match-cut for episode five greeted with the cello that crossfades back to the soundtrack or the experience of episode six with barely any dialogue but laced with so much within 20 seconds of it.
How every episode foreshadows so many aspects of what to expect and how the direction is to show parallelisms between Karl and Vlad and how either of them are experiencing something differently considering similar circumstances.
To top it all off, the little snippets at the end credits, showcasing the relationship between the two main characters; cherry on whipped cream!
The other toppings comes in the form of the deliberate and conscious effort of unpacking stereotypes, microaggressions, LGBTQAI+ labels, single moms, and “just ally things” as a means to voice out the feelings of every person involved in the community and those supporting it.
To think that all of what you just read all happens within 30 minutes per episode.
If you haven’t seen Gaya sa Pelikula, you’re missing out.
It’s an ode to those that have been dreaming of being represented – properly, and with dignity and respect.