Petersen Vargas has no qualms about being tagged as a queer filmmaker, he told us when we sat down with him recently to discuss the new BL series “Hello Stranger
”, which he directed. “I’m more than proud to bear that title.”
It is often through movies in which LGBTQIA+ folks can express, explore, and examine their queerhood, especially for people who may not be lucky enough to reside in places with accepting communities.
LGBTQIA+ movies offer a safe space for, say, teenagers anxious about his burgeoning sexuality, or a queer person who feels underrepresented in mainstream films. We asked Petersen his personal favorites, which you can check out below! Beautiful Thing
“[It’s] about two boys falling in love and how this little neighborhood journeys with them on that love.” Petersen notes its “sweet” ending: “I’m sure sobrang daming makaka-relate. Andami sa’tin na ayaw na sa mga queer coming-of-age films that end on such a sour note.”
“‘Beautiful Thing’ really ends on such a sweet note,” he said. “Sobra siyang illuminating, especially for younger audiences.” Tomboy
“It’s by the director who made ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’”, he said. “This one has a very interesting premise and it’s also this apartment complex neighborhood kind of film, and it’s about this girl who looks like a boy and transferee siya doon sa apartment complex na ‘yun.”
“When she gets introduced to the other kids, they all think she’s a boy. And she doesn’t correct them. And she ends up having this close relationship with one of the girls.”
Petersen notes the “mind-blowing experience of how much gender is built on appearances when you’re young and how that can be a source of discrimination.”
“Ang tender and genuine [ng film].” Tangerine
Petersen considers Sean Baker one of his favorite American independent directors, and his film, “Tangerine”, shot on an iPhone through a sunset-soaked Los Angeles, is a highlight.
“Lagi niyang [nilalagay sa] forefront ‘yung mga outsiders ng society,” he said. “‘Tangerine’ is about trans prostitutes and their very raw and dynamic and energetic lives.”
“How they find home in each other, in the places that reject them, how they find friendships and love, despite this dangerous and cruel setting, ang ganda-ganda lang niya—raunchy and funny, but like the iPhone quality really gives it this distinct touch, na parang you’re there.”
You can catch new episodes of direk Petersen’s “Hello Stranger” every Wednesday night at 8:30 on Sinehub’s Facebook page. It stars Tony Labrusca, JC Alcantara, Vivoree, Patrick Quiroz, Gillian Vicencio, and Miguel Almendras. Don’t forget to read our recaps of episode one
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