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Thinking sex negativity via ‘Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi’

“Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi” – by Shiri de Leon – tells the story of a menopausal woman (known in her community as a virgin and devout Christian) who hires a sex worker (cum escort) for the first time. Seems interesting, but for someone exposed to the sex industry, is this film worth a watch?

“Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi” – by Shiri de Leon – tells the story of a menopausal woman (known in her community as a virgin and devout Christian) who hires a sex worker (cum escort) for the first time. What transpired when they finally met (in a cheap motel) is supposed to make for a good (short) film, but… for someone exposed to the sex industry, is this film worth a watch?

PROS

  • The topic’s real, e.g. older women are some the clients taping male (and female) sex workers (or escorts, too, since the two may be interchangeable, but continue to be different). So this one is… at least believable.
  • Some of the acting’s okay, e.g. Mayumi’s desire is there at least, as well as her anger for her father.

CONS

  • You have to suspend your belief – e.g. the clerk in the inn was speaking to a client she knows, but didn’t recognize her until after the scarf slipped (c’mon!); etc.
  • Lines weren’t… realistic, arguably particularly due to the delivery, e.g. “kepay“.
  • Lines weren’t realistic because… some people just won’t say those lines, e.g. a sex worker saying “you’re too old for a thing like this” to a client; etc.
  • Some acting’s “forced” – e.g. the male sex worker’s “shyness” is too forced.
  • False safer sex message – e.g. you don’t need to use condoms when you can’t get anyone pregnant (neglecting STIs).
  • For a film tackling sex, this is… too timid, e.g. De Leon won’t even properly show the sex worker’s affections, or there’s no nudity (even partial), etc.
  • There are false narratives that need to be stopped – e.g. “left by time” to have enjoyable sex (when anyone should be told they can enjoy consensual sex at any – legal – age), a sex worker/escort that doesn’t listen to the clients, etc.
  • Falling back to clichés – e.g. a sex worker “with a heart”, etc.
  • This seeming sex negativity of the filmmaker, particularly by the “others” (in this case, someone older/senior woman) – e.g. this seeming unwillingness to explore her sexuality.

IN THE END

The search for sex of the “others” has been tackled by many in the past – e.g. Richard Wong’s “Come as You Are”, Glenn Jordan’s “Mary & Tim”, Luis Mandoki’s “White Palace”, and even the Nora Aunor starrer Maryo J. de los Reyes’ “Naglalayag”. That this is not entirely new sorts of… serves as a baggage to “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi”. Too bad it felt too sex-negative for me to truly enjoy it 🙁

“Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi” is part of the 17th edition of Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, running until September 5 ktx.ph (https://www.ktx.ph/).

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