A BL that happened by chance
Happenstance, directed by Adolf Alix Jr., is about Wade and Jose Manuel, who come from two different timelines but are magically connected by letters and love
STAR/ File

A BL that happened by chance

Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2021 - 12:00am

“If there’s an opportunity to tell a story, no matter what (the) platform (is) and given the circumstance is right, I’m just fine with it.”

That was Adolf Alix Jr. sharing his thoughts in directing a material during an interview with The STAR. Proof to that is the presence of his works Unlocked and Happenstance in the streaming (subscription video-on-demand) platform GagaOOLala. It also goes to show Adolf’s relevance and resilience to the changing landscape of content production and distribution. He has successfully crossed over from film to TV and now to the streaming platform.

“You should know the material,” said Adolf of handling narratives with an LGBT theme. “In every story, whether it is about heterosexual or LGBT (homosexual) material, dapat tama din yung portrayal ng kahit anong gender (the gender portrayal should be correct). Wala naman akong extra preparation. Ang hinahanap ko lang siguro ay yung tamang istorya na makakapag-respond ako (Perhaps, I’m just looking for a story that I can respond), like for example, Happenstance.”

Adolf reflected on what other possible stories he could tell and add to the existing Boys Love (BL)-genre content, whose popularity was seen during the pandemic. The answer manifested itself when the director read an online article “about this person na naglilinis ng house nila (who was cleaning their house) during quarantine and saw a letter in the ceiling,” Adolf recalled. “The person read it and (found out that) the letter was about an unrequited love. I told myself that it was a good material.”

Due to perhaps chance or creative proximity and connection, GagaOOLala, also the platform that carries his anthology Unlocked, asked Adolf for another material. Then he offered the story about two persons named Wade and Jose Manuel from different but intersecting timelines, 1974 and 2020. They are connected by letters and are seen by each other through a mirror, shared Adolf. The culprit for such phenomenon is a supermoon. The narrative is now known as Happenstance.

“(It) has been there (since) time immemorial,” said Adolf of the genre called BL, which might have been categorized under gay films before. In fact, he has also done gay-themed and related-to-BL works like Daybreak, Imoral, Muli and 4 Days. Adolf collaborated with screenwriter Jerry Gracio in Happenstance. The series, also set against martial law, suggests that “the struggle of LGBTQ relationship ay matagal na, hindi ito (nangyari) sa ngayon lang.” This particular milieu functions as a device to serve that purpose. Again, it is represented by the gay characters. One is an activist, whose father, a military man, cannot accept his son’s activism and (kind of) relationship, said Adolf. With that, there’s also a space to somehow remind the younger Pinoy generation about martial law, which they usually encounter in reading textbooks and attending lectures. However, Happenstance presents discourses that love defies time and gender as a construct.

“The label the society that gives you doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s you,” said Adolf. “You just have (to be true to) what you feel.”

After Happenstance, the director has another project in the pipeline for GagaOOLala.

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