man /'man| n:

Making a man out of love

MAN /’MAN| N: | Making a man out of love

The centuries-old patriarchy has been the driving force for toxic masculinity, a difficult barrier to break through and marks what a man is expected to be. Being strong isn’t just defined by the physicalities of a man, but also by being able to wield the strength of emotions and being able to express them freely. As personal as it gets, men find it hard to peel off the mask that hides one’s true nature and personality.

In Boys Don’t Cry, four men examine their vulnerabilities in intimate conversations with the opposite sex, forming realizations as to why showcasing one’s emotions has always been a difficult task. In documentary form, these four men get to freely express their thoughts and emotions without any hindrances whatsoever. Dutch director Bobbie Müller shares a room of honesty, acceptance, and comfort with the four men who gradually shed off their vulnerable skins. 

One even speaks his mind, saying women say nice things to make them feel better. It’s quite sad that a genuine compliment is overshadowed by assumptions. After all, both men and women are victims of the patriarchy. Open confessions about virginity, sex, and love; these are the things that need to be talked about. The level of intimacy in the film can be summed up as a pillowtalk-type interview, and the men talk about their feelings in general. 

As men are expected to be tough and brute, those suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more than likely reluctant to get the help they need. In Flicker, a man gets assaulted in a bar one calamitous night, which has ultimately affected the way he lives his life thereon out. Conquering one’s fears and anxiety ain’t easy, as it goes to show that even opening up to your closest friends isn’t a walk in the park. 

In a rather unusual sit-down interview, Erwin is a documentary which follows the titular 58-year-old German man living in his trailer, undisturbed. He’s got a house a couple of steps away. But in his trailer, he’s got everything he needs; internet, a bed, a coffee machine, and solitude. German filmmaker Jan Soldat examines Erwin’s sexual preferences inside the cozy confines of his trailer. Up close, personal, and literally naked; Erwin recounts the love for his past lovers while coming to terms with his fears and anxieties. For someone who has lived in this world for nearly six decades, having faced countless battles as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, Erwin’s stories are worth telling. He’s brutally honest but with his heart on his sleeve.

Meanwhile, in a heartwarming coming-of-age love story, a transgender person named Blake and a cisgender person named Cane spend their day hanging out playing video games. But they discuss their respective insecurities and uplift with their genuine love for each other. The colorful sense of space latches on to the search for love and understanding in this short film. An easy watch among the films of the session, Dungarees opens up our minds with a sense of wonder.

Speaking of a sense of wonder, in Trou noir (Black Hole), young skateboarder Vincent enters the void of a hole underground, on the path towards what he truly wants in life. His bottled-up unspoken feelings about his fears for the future, Vincent spends his time in the film contemplating. The journey through the darkness symbolizes facing one’s fears of the unknown and overcoming it with a brave and changed heart. Sometimes, you just gotta talk about it. Whatever you’re going through, it’s never too late to let ‘em all out.

Ralph Regis is currently a junior film student at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines.