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A GAY and Lasting Love

Joel Lamangan’s Rainbow’s Sunset sweeps the 2018 MMFF Awards

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By Rica Arevalo

We celebrate the octogenarians’participation in the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival, particularly the cast of Joel Lamangan’s Rainbow’s Sunset headed by Eddie Garcia (89), Gloria Romero (85), and Tony Mabesa (83). The family drama written by Eric Ramos tells the story of Sen. Ramon Estrella (Garcia) who left the family home and wife Sylvia (Romero) to be with his ailing childhood friend Fredo (Mabesa).

The first time we see Ramon and Fredo onscreen, we are convinced that there is something much more than friendship, just by looking at their sparkling eyes. Ramon’s children Emman (Tirso Cruz III), Georgina (Aiko Melendez), and Fe (Sunshine Dizon) are all aghast about the imminent scandal facing their well-respected family. They all ganged up on their father to stop his unacceptable act.

What would their neighbors and constituents say?

Tony-Mabesa-and-Eddie-Garcia-rekindle-their-love-and-friendship.

But Ramon is determined to be true to his own feelings. At 84, he comes out to his children that he loves both Sylvia
and Fredo. Their ninong Fredo played an important role in his life way before his successful political career. He is gay.

And he doesn’t give a damn about what people would say because he has retired from politics 15 years ago. But Georgina, who is the current mayor of the town, thinks otherwise. It would destroy their careers and damage their family name.

The suffering wife Sylvia accepts her husband’s decision and leave him be and it shocks the children. Each of them undergoes a dreadful crisis.

Emman is in a denial that his daughter is dating a lesbian volleyball player. The “weak” son is an assistant accessor who further sealed his downfall when he recorded his sexcapade with an intern.

Fe is separated from her husband but plays a reluctant cougar to Jonel (Albie Casiño). Georgina is the righteous daughter who is firm about not helping his brother with his sex scandal. Her son gets involved in a fist fight when he defended his lolo from being labeled gay by his classmates.

It is Sylvia who holds the family together, not lending money to Emman as an act of tough love and begging her children and husband to forgive one another.

Fredo is gracious and knows his place. He made a pact with Sylvia during the couple’s 10th wedding anniversary that he would respect Sylvia’s wishes and knows that he is at fault.

When Sylvia cannot take the emotional turmoil any longer, she visits her cancer-stricken “rival” and confided in him all the family squabbles.

The gallant Fredo even suggested that Ramon should go home to be with his family.

While Georgina is celebrating her 50th birthday, Ramon, Sylvia, and Fredo walk hand in hand, making a grand entrance signifying the men’s romantic relationship. When Fredo is whisked away from Ramon, the patriarch walks out of the party, never bothering to read his birthday speech for his stubborn daughter. In that letter, he confesses everything.

A funeral takes place and the family comes to terms with what real love is. Rainbow’s Sunset swept the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival awards, getting the Special Jury Prize for an Actress (Max Collins), Special Jury Prize for an Actor (Eddie Garcia), Best Supporting Actress (Aiko Melendez), Best Supporting Actor (Tony Mabesa), Best Screenplay (Eric Ramos), Best Production Design (Jay Custodio), Best Original Theme Song (“Sa ‘Yo Na”), the Gat Puno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award, Best Picture, Best Actress (Gloria Romero), and Best Director  (Joel Lamangan).

Better performing films at the box office are shown in more cinemas than high quality, award-winning ones due to low ticket sales. Audiences should demand theater owners to take a chance on LGBTQ-themed films like Rainbow’s Sunset.

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