This movie tells the story of Leo, a young guy living in a small town in the Philippines. He fills his days with nothing except enjoying the sea and a very little bit of work. When a talent scout comes to town he convinces him to come to Manila to become an actor, because he has the body, the equipment and the skin. After arriving there things become clear and Leo ends in the “entertainment” industry, serving young and older men. This film is a condemnation of the Filipino sex industry.
The title “Binyag” translates to ‘loss of innocence,’ and this little-known film from the Philippines shows the process in which one young person loses his own innocence. A boy living a quiet, picturesque life in the Filipino province, spending his days swimming in the sea, is offered a job as a “film star” when a shady “talent scout” visits his small village. He promises the naive Leo that he can “make him a star.” Leo, excited at the idea of escaping his seemingly mundane life, accepts the offer, thus beginning his journey to the city of Manila, where he will learn some hard facts about the world he lives in.
The film allows the viewer to see everything through the boy’s eyes, in the way he sees things. We hear his thoughts, everything he feels, and what it all means to him. Leo’s soul begins to deteriorate, along with his sense of self-worth, and he shares all this through narration.
We hear the thoughts of the immoral and jaded men who pick up Leo, use him for sex, make empty promises to the boy and abandon him. They joke in front of the camera, and laugh at how naive he was, and how easy it was to get him into bed. In the end Leo’s soul is so damaged, and his sense of self worth has been completely robbed from him.
You may watch a clip from the movie here:
Original Title: Binyag
Language: Filipino, Tagalog
Director: Miko Jacinto
Stars: Ran Domingo, Ynez Veneracion, Paolo Rivero
Run time: 64 min