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By Heinrich Domingo

The independent film scene in the country is proud to have provided a space in gender discourse. The likes of Ang Lihim ni Antonio and I Love You. Thank You flooded film festivals in the recent years. In the progress of LGBT fight, Philippine films are once again embracing the change with open arms. Gay men are not just the focus of our films today. Transgenderism is also entering in our cinema houses.

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Finish Line brilliantly interweaves the pressing issues of suicide and transwomen discrimination. It relates the event of Jennifer Laude’s horrific murder committed by an American soldier Joseph Scott Pemberton into the life of its main character.

From the beginning, the film is clear of the message it wishes to deliver. It uses a singular actress living a life alone in her small dingy house. The visual elements put in this short film were not only for aesthetics but they also play as metaphors on the emotional burden of many transgenders. In the end, the audience was gifted with both visual and storyline treats.

For the crowd with an eye for symbolism, certain scenes made the movie beautiful. Tight shots inside the bathroom resemble the suffocating life of people placed in a wrong body. The unnecessarily forceful brushing of her teeth connotes the pain that transpeople have to endure for being turned away. And her pacing the floor of a small room portrays the feeling of hitting a dead end.

This short film succeeds from its simple but confident narrative. It ends with a commentary on our harsh homophobic society that “not everyone who finishes the line wins.”

Directed by Martin Mayuga
College of Saint Benilde
Manila

4 stars

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