#Y: A Journey of Personal Catharsis

#Y Cinemalaya 2014

I don’t have much experience with indie films – or films in general – but I do know that Cinemalaya films are a must-watch for they expose issues in society rarely discussed and much less shown on film. And so, I made it a goal to watch a Cinemalaya film this year – finally after being cooped up in the province for so long where Cinemalaya is virtually inaccessible.

With so many great films to choose from, I didn’t know where to begin. A friend recommended #Y and it being about my generation, I opted to watch it. And so, at 9pm on a Thursday night, there I was, alone, in Greenbelt, watching #Y.

I didn’t really know what to expect from the film. The reviews were mostly vague. And nothing could have prepared me for the film’s effect. Seemingly shallow at the beginning, the more I dwell on it, the more it exposed issues inside of me – issues I have been too afraid to disclose; issues I have set aside and never really dealt with. It was not your usual indie film. It didn’t just expose issues in society – it exposes issues within yourself.

And so, after almost a week of having seen the film and after countless discussions with friends, officemates, myself and even the director – here is my take on the film and how it has purged me of my own personal demons.

SUICIDE

The overall apparent theme of the movie was suicide. The trailer unapologetically led people to believe it was a film simply revolving on sex, drugs and alcohol and never really gave a hint that it was primarily about suicide. Hence it was a shock when the film opened with the main character – Miles (Elmo Magalona) – lying on the pavement, in his own pool of blood.

And from there, it was a flashback to how it all began.

The suicide theme was softened by Miles’ comedic monologue. I found it funny when, even while lying in the pavement, apparently dead, the audience can still hear his thoughts – about how dying by jumping off a building, despite being really fast, was in fact, very painful.

BBC-Sherlock-Season-two-cliff-hanger

No one really knew why Miles would commit suicide. In fact, his family and friends all pretty much had good opinions about him. They saw him as having everything he could wish for and living a pretty much good life. No one knew why he would do it. But I do.

And that I have expounded here.

SEX

Sex was another overriding theme in the movie. It tackled how sex is the norm in today’s generation and how the days of Maria Clara and sex-after-marriage are seemingly down the drain. My mom would have a fit when she reads my exposition on sex – and my vast knowledge of it but such is the reality of things.

Continue reading

SUICIDE – How I Overcome It: My #Y Personal Catharsis Series

suicide answers

The main overriding theme of #Y was suicide. When I asked the director why he made a film about suicide – and if that is really the norm in my generation – he straightforwardly answered YES. Studying in the U-Belt area, he claimed that it was a normal occurrence for a student to simply jump off the building. In fact, the number of students who commit suicide are never really reported for most of these kids belong to well-known families who would rather keep everything private.

Come to think of it, suicide is a tough thing to deal with. From the person attempting to commit it to the people left behind after the act. So many questions. So few answers.

It appears that despite the socially connected world we live in, we still suffer from isolation.

Continue reading

Suicide: Resolve Not Condemn

Our society has been rocked by another tragic news before the year ends. Though it is not as tragic as the number of casualties due to Typhoon Sendong, it is equally as disturbing as yet another actor commits suicide. Though not entirely popular, fact remains that he was still a showbiz figure for several years.

Tyron Perez, one of the first Starstruck stars from GMA7 who later went to ABS CBN, was found dead according to one source in his car while another source said the cause was suicide. No details are clear as of the moment yet. He became a trending topic in Twitter with fans tweeting their condolences. I guess there was also much speculation and judgement going on around about the cause of his death.

Suicide is something not talked about in the Philippines much. The latest available statistics for the Philippines was in 1993 with an overall rate of 2.1 (2.5 for males and 1.7 for females). It’s a taboo topic in this mostly Catholic country of ours. The Church has propagated that suicide is a sin and is against the laws of God. Thus the difficulty in obtaining the data.

Indeed, it is a sin. The Bible is clear on that. But this doesn’t justify our society in judging the people who commit suicide. Just because it is a sin is not enough justification that we have the right to condemn the people who commits such. Judgement and condemnation are not ours to give. Only God has the right to do such. Because of society’s judgement on suicide, most of the time families choose to register the cause of death as accidents. At least accidental deaths get proper burials and are given prayers. Suicides are not. Thus it was a huge thing that when former AFP Chief Angelo Reyes committed suicide, the Church choose to overlook the cause of death and allowed him a proper burial.

Yet what is the real reason why people commit suicide? I guess it’s obvious. It’s stress and problems perceived to be too large to handle in this life thus death becomes an escape from the harsh reality. I’ve heard stories of people committing suicide because they are faced with poverty and no prospects to get out of it or faced with the pains of a break-up or perhaps financial struggles. The wife of Ted Failon was an example of someone who struggled financially and rather than admit it to his husband committed suicide instead. Another one was the DBP executive who was faced with the prospect of interrogation for some corrupt deal. He ended his life also. I know of a student from my fomer high school who committed suicide some say because of love; others say because of studies.

Whatever it is, people commit suicide because they’re under so much stress, they can’t cope. But what are we doing about it? Are we doing enough to address this need of society? Has the Philippines recognized yet that mental health is as essential as physical and emotional health? Are psychologists and stress centers as easily accessible? Or is it only the rich who can afford them? Or is there a stigma that if one goes to a shrink he or she is cuckoo?

These are issues enveloping our society. Silent but deadly. Unless we can find a way to address them and change the mindset of our nation into something more positive and empowering then we may see the incidence of suicide rising not just among the popular ones but also among the common folks. Let us not wait for that to happen.