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Pinay beauty according to direk Jay Abello
That seemed to be the game plan of Jay and his team (writers Allan Habon and Rod Marmol). “From the beginning, we wanted it to be light,” he said. “(The presentation could) be likened to the way friends would talk. Pag pinag-usapan natin (ito) ng seryoso, mamamatay yan. Sabi ko kapag magaan (ito), mas magiging open (ang manonood).”

Pinay beauty according to direk Jay Abello

Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - July 27, 2018 - 12:00am

Jay presents varied views on ganda and gandang Filipina in the comedy titled Pinay Beauty (She’s No White)

MANILA, Philippines — Auteurs usually tap drama to handle and tell serious subjects and aspects of life. Logic says the genre provides the pensive mood audiences must take in watching or reading it. For Pinay Beauty (She’s No White) — which seems to make a reference (or a pun on) to that Disney character — an official entry to this year’s Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), Jay Abello uses the power of comedy to discuss beauty and adds another layer to the ongoing discourse on race (skin color).

“The topic is serious. I really believe that it should be discussed,” said the director of Jericho Rosales’ Red, and Ligaw Liham in an interview with The STAR. “A lot are afraid to talk about it and that’s why I didn’t go to drama (or I didn’t tell it through the said genre). Gawin nating magaan kasi masyado (itong) mabigat na topic.”

That seemed to be the game plan of Jay and his team (writers Allan Habon and Rod Marmol). “From the beginning, we wanted it to be light,” he said. “(The presentation could) be likened to the way friends would talk. Pag pinag-usapan natin (ito) ng seryoso, mamamatay yan. Sabi ko kapag magaan (ito), mas magiging open (ang manonood).”

This speaks of how the director understands his audiences or perhaps the nature of most Pinoys, who tend to be participative when situations are presented in a humorous manner, eliciting laughter or guffaws. “I also made sure that it wouldn’t sound preachy,” added Jay on his approach to his latest film. “There were times that it became preachy (didactic). We would edit really (some parts), bawasan natin.” He also clarified that he was willing to present the issue in a serious manner, but something held him back, saying, “feeling ko hindi magiging effective.” His gut feeling told him that some might get turn off and the topic wouldn’t be open to the public. “In fact, gawin lang nating nanduon lang (ito),” said Jay, who wanted the talks on beauty and race to just be part of the film narrative and to let audiences take notice of them.

Starring Edgar Allan Guzman, Chai Fonacier, Nico Antonio, Janus del Prado, Maxine Medina, Mariko and Hanna Ledesma, the film title suggests the politics of beauty (values given to certain skin colors) and the white’s privilege position. Along this line, it will try to reflect on Pinay beauty. The characters of Maxine, Chai and Hanna represent the diverse looks of Filipina. “Sabi ko kapag mestiza ka ba, Pinay ka ba? Kung (Filipino) ang parents mo, Pinay ka din. (Does being mestiza make one Pinay? And what about those whose parents are both Filipino?) And then we reached a point where we asked ourselves (to define or contemplate on) being Pinay? Ano ba ang ibig sabihin ng Pinay? What is Filipina beauty,” shared Jay, adding, “matulungin, mapagdasal, martir, maalaga (she is helpful, prayerful, loyal, caring),” as markers or descriptors of Pinay. This also includes those female off-springs — from Filipino parents — with a Western upbringing or growing up in a bicultural household.

With stars (from left) Mariko Ledesma, Edgar Allan Guzman, Chai Fonacier, Nico Antonio, Hanna Ledesma and Janus del Prado

During the roundtable interview, the writers shared that the movie talks about crazy love and the love that everyone aspires for. It touches on beauty of face and beauty of friendship. To many, the movie advocates loving one’s self through accepting one’s skin color. Pinay Beauty will not just revolve around physical beauty, it also delves into the friendship of characters, “yung gagawin mo ang lahat para sa (kaibigan mo),” said Jay.

Pinay Beauty has parallel sub-stories about a woman, who aspires to look Caucasian, and a man, who has incurred debt from a loan shark for love. The film seems to pull these strands together. “It’s a light movie... especially now that life is tough and the country is (beset or confronted) by problems, ngayon, kapag binigatan mo yan, baka walang manood niyan. Inside the theater, I want (audiences) to enjoy it.”

When the movie credits are shown, Jay expects audiences to talk about the movie theme, replete with agreements and disagreements. This is music to every filmmaker’s ears when his work transcends the bounds of entertainment.

Pinay Beauty, except for Namets!, makes a stark contrast to Jay’s serious (“mabibigat”) films. “I enjoy doing comedy,” he said. “I’m a frustrated comedian. Gusto kong gumawa ng comedy and mine is situational comedy.” The kind of comedy Jay has curated for the audiences of PPP (which runs from Aug. 15 to 21) is a product of his take on comedy and his collaboration with creative minds (such as writers and actors). It uses stereotypes, whose function is to create a representation (as compared to reflection) of again Pinay beauty.

Stereotypes are not supposed to box characters (never to view them in fixed attributes) but to shed light on them.

Pinay Beauty is produced by Quantum Films, MJM Productions and Epic Media.

JAY ABELLO PINAY BEAUTY (SHE’S NO WHITE) PISTA NG PELIKULANG PILIPINO
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