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VIDEO | ‘Lihis’ is gay romance between NPA rebels during Martial Law


Back in the late ’80s, shortly after the EDSA revolution, several mainstream films about New People’s Army rebels such as “Gabi Na, Kumander”, and the biopics “Balweg, The Rebel Priest” and “Kumander Dante”  enjoyed commercial success and critical acclaim.

This year, the indie scene seems to be bringing back the subject with upcoming biopics of Eman Lacaba (Tikoy Aguiluz’s “Eman”) and Jose Maria Sison (Sari and Kiri Dalena’s “The Guerilla Is A Poet”).

Like “Eman”, Joel Lamangan’s new film, “Lihis”, is an entry to the very first Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival All-Masters Edition that will take place at SM Cinemas nationwide from September 7 to 16.

But although it also deals with NPA rebels and is set at the height of Martial Law, the film, according to Direk Joel, is actually a love story about two male comrades (played by Jake Cuenca and Joem Bascon) “at a time when intimate relationships are still considered taboo in the rebel organization”.

Said to be inspired by true stories, the film is written by Ricky Lee, who swears he penned the storyline years before Hollywood produced “Brokeback Mountain”.

He also collaborated with Direk Joel on “Burgos”, a film about the search for Jonas Burgos, the abducted son of journalist Joe Burgos — another key anti-Marcos figure.

At over three minutes, the extended official trailer of “Lihis” gives us an idea of what the whole story is all about, with some portions set in the present as Isabelle Daza who plays a journalist tries to investigate a massacre that took place at small town 20 years ago.

More than the plot, the trailer also offers a rather generous glimpse of the passionate love scenes between the two male lead characters that are expected to be the film’s highlights.

It also shows Isabelle and Lovi Poe in heated love scenes of their own with Jake and Joem, respectively, as well as key sequences with co-stars Gloria Diaz, Raquel Villavicencio, Jaime Pebanco and Tony Mabesa.

“Lihis” officially opens on SM theaters this September 7.