ANG TATAY KONG NANOY
Philippines, 1978, 116 minutes, Colour.
Dolphy, Nino Muhlach, Phillip Salvador, Marisa Delgado.
Directed by Lino Brocka.
Lino Brocka was one of the most significant directors from the Philippines in the 20th century. While he had experience overseas, especially in belonging to a fundamentalist religious group, but also in contact with his Catholic roots, he made a big impression at the Cannes film Festival in 1976 with his story of Manila slums, Insiang. This film followed soon after.
Brocka was a gay man and gay themes pervade so many of his films, especially his portrait of the Macho Dancers, prostitution and the male clients.
At the centre of this film is a transvestite man, played by heterosexual comedian Dolphy, who runs a beauty parlour, goes out on the town in dresses with his friends. His ward comes to visit him, telling him that he has a young child and asking him to act as a parent figure. He does and becomes very attached to the child. He also changes some of his more campy behaviour.
Eventually, the mother of the boy who had abandoned him and taken up as a nightclub hostess, then marrying a rich man and becoming widow, comes to claim him. The boy is reluctant to go, his father/mother urging him to be with his mother. The boy runs away and returns back home to the beauty salon.
There is a great deal of humanity in this film, taking us into the slum areas of the city as well as into part of the gay community.
1. The title, the focus on Nanoy? Themes?
2. The work of Lino Brocka, his status in the Philippines film industry? In the 1970s? His vision of Manila, of poverty in the city, of families? Sexuality, relationships, transvestites, status and public opinion in the 1970s?
3. Manila, Coring’s world, out, transvestite, the group, in society, social activities, clashes, homes, the beauty salon? The musical score?
4. Coring and performance, coming home, removing the wig and make up, his lonely life, his camp manner, work in the beauty salon, the friends, there effeminate behaviour, the clients, a world in itself?
5. Dennis, Coring’s ward, arriving with his son, the relationship with Coring, having the meal, joining the Navy, his request, the effect on the baby, on Coring?
6. Coring, responsibility, details of home life, of care, the meals, the male world, the boy adapting, love interaction, going to school, with the mothers, his standing up as being the boy’s mother and father?
7. The different reactions of his friends, life and carry on?
8. Years passing, the boy, age, playing in the streets, discipline?
9. Dennis’s return, his life in the Navy, the bond with his son, gratitude to Coring, the news about the boy’s mother?
10. The mother, her work in the night club, hostess, abandoning the boy, marrying the rich man, widow, being wealthy, her wanting her son, the approach to Coring, the visit to the salon, making a deal with Coring?
11. Coring, his reaction, disappointment, thinking the change would be better for the boy, his being abrupt with him, the mystery of his stand-off attitude? Packing?
12. Nanoy, aware about his mother, his father, the bond with Coring, going to the new home, the wealthy style, the issue of discipline? Upsetting his mother? Running away, returning to Coring, the bond between them?
13. The mother, accepting of the situation?
14. Lino Brocka and early films, family, the nuclear family, the different single-parent family, the gay family, love and hope?