By RAMON CHRISTIAN G. PLACIDO
TOXIC MASCULINITY has caused significant harm to society. The constant abuse of power from the patriarchy has left damaging scars on their victims, particularly women.
From the direction and pen of Antoinette Jadaone, Fan Girl centers on the experience of encountering one’s adored artist. The film is an entry of the Metro Manila Film Festival 2020. It bagged numerous awards from the festival, which includes Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Lead Acting Performance by Charlie Dizon and Paulo Avelino. The film can be streamed via GMovies and Upstream PH from December 25 to January 7.
It focuses on Jane (Charlie Dizon), an avid fan of a fictional version of Paulo Avelino. At the start of the film, she leaves her responsibilities as a student to meet her beloved idol in a mall show. Immediately after the event, she secretly gets in the car with Paulo to meet him personally. However, things go awry once she realizes his true colors.
The seemingly perfect actor is revealed to treat Jane and other women around him as objects for pleasure. This is exhibited when Paulo beats and emotionally abuses Jane in a scene where they are driving to a bus station. He even asserts his dominance by brutally silencing those around him in order to preserve his clean image to the public.
Costume designs were utilized effectively as they helped encapsulate an alternate reality of Paulo Avelino. This can be seen through his toneless build and numerous tattoos that emphasized his grim persona in the film.
In addition to enhancing his looks, the production designs used are minimalistic and unpolished sets, which helped viewers see the filth of the well-adored figure. It also accurately depicts the timeline with the use of political posters scattered throughout the scenes.
In addition, when it comes to cinematography, the use of a 4:3 aspect ratio brings the nostalgia of classic love team-driven telenovelas. This deceives the audience into thinking that it is just another typical love story until it pulls the rug.
However, there are some flaws in the lighting of some scenes. The dim lighting in some shots makes some actions obscured. Since the action sequences were filmed with a handheld camera, the audience can be confused about what is happening on screen. It would have been better if it was filmed with a stable camera for viewers to follow the action.
When it comes to the acting, the performances were delivered with true grit. Breakout star Charlie Dizon internalizes the role flawlessly as she courageously executes her daring scenes. An example of this is the sequence where she stimulates herself as she fantasizes Paulo Avelino caressing her in bed. Her portrayal of a die-hard fan is accurate as she embodies its traits without exaggeration.
Meanwhile, Paulo Avelino depicted his fictional self with authenticity as he boldly presents immoral characteristics. He delivers a believable performance as he does not hold back on the misbehavior he portrays on screen. This can be noticeable when he violently chases Jane as he caught her trespassing on his property. His menacing performance may prompt a sense of discomfort, and even fear in the audience.
Jadaone unravels her characters without a hint of stereotypical characterization. She satirizes the formula of romantic-comedies by subverting the narrative into a chilling social drama. Likewise, the film provides a dauntless tale that criticizes male superiority, which is still prevalent in the present generation.
This is best seen through Avelino’s character. In the film, He emulates toxic masculinity as he abuses women without feeling remorse. Also, he does not become a good role model for Jane due to his insistence on partaking in vices.
Overall, Fan Girl effectively delivers criticism when it comes to gender that ignites a conversation. It dares to present the destructive nature of male superiority that oppresses women’s voices.
The film sends the message that men must treat women with respect, regardless of their status in life. Fan Girl shows that every gender must have civility in society to put an end to the autocratic manipulation of power from the established gender roles. If one locks their mind on the traditional perception of gender, people will be out of reach for the progress they deserve. F