While the restoration of conflicted love to its harmonious ideal is de rigueur in the genre of romance in popular cinema, all is not lost in terms of the potential of an alternative mode of restoring it, that romance is not necessarily the fulcrum on which the freight of affection strives for poise, the romantic possibility in the face of lovelessness, indeed the initiation into love amid the despair nurtured by social inequity might be the proper axis. We appreciate Ang Boyfriend Kong Kano (Golden Dragon Film Productions) to the degree that resists the temptation merely to repeat the script of restoration, so that it could work through the romantic process. It is in the latter that we begin to grasp the necessity of the love that is almost reduced to a commodity or fetish in the alienating habits of the media. It is the production of this love, with the impediments of both station and sensibility, that renders everything heartfelt and moves us to sigh because it relieves. The plot is from a distance barren but in as much as the screenplay is attentive to the details of emergence, the landscape flourishes in the course of the viewing experience. The problem revolves around an age old feud between Asyang (Charito Solis) and Zeny (Celia Rodriguez) eventually affecting the blossoming romance between Maria (Maricel Soriano) and Kenneth (Dani Diovanni). The predicament is not the feud in its abstract sense, but the material conditions bred by this dispossession. Kenneth cannot afford to culture what is made to appear a natural disposition because the said conditions militate against it, or at least restrain its indulgence. This pursuit is consequently deferred, it is in fact, such deferral that frustrates certain expectations for the romantic resolution to return to normalcy and thus transforms facile enamoration into an exasperation of sorts. The film shifts its gears unhurriedly, no rush to completion here, as if love is painfully protracted, defended against the delusion of unconventional devotion. It is a deferral that fulfills the promise of cinema as both annunciation and anticipation.
Implicated in this suspension are the people around Kenneth, Maria, the beloved, a barrio lass whose mother is strongly engaged in an ongoing political feud with the protagonists' family. Grandparents who served as parents to Kenneth whom they met for the first time after growing up in the United States with his mother Elena (Liza Lorena). Integral to the narrative's humanist inclination is the young man's ethic who is pictured as persevering, compassionate and generous who achieved romance through sheer determination. In spite and because of the routines of the genre, the screenplay of Ang Boyfriend Kong Kano merits discussion. It carves out a different space for class and culture contradictions to reveal much vaunted strife and at the same time to glimpse at the prospects of internal critique. For it is not outside life that the antagonisms fester, but within its sanctum. There is a scene in the film that captures this intricate perturbation and thus captivates. Kenneth is confronted by the origin of his adoration, who preens before the window obvious to his presence. He is embarrassed of being noticed by his grandfather Jose (Robert Arevalo), who is actually at the end of his gaze. This is an uncanny moment in which misrecognition finds its screen. The agents of romance become at once object and subject that are inhibited from consummating their encounter. Maria tries to conceal the young man from her mother who surveys and espies her beholding herself while staring at him. Kenneth, on the other hand gains bliss by coming face to face with his intractable fantasy but is concomitantly agitated by his disingenuous technique of supervision and the fear of being found out. This only reminds us that love is a plane that can never be transparent, mediated as it is by the asymmetries of life and the compromises that a film like Ang Boyfriend Kong Kano can conjure only in dilatory disguise.
Directed By: Maryo J. de los Reyes
Screenplay: Toto Belano And Jake Tordesillas
Director Of Photography: Joe Batac, Jr.
Musical Director: Jun Latonio
Editor: Edgardo"Boy" Vinarao
Production Designer: Fiel Zabat
Produced By: Golden Dragon Film Productions
Release Date: March 11, 1983