Our Rating: ★★★☆☆
L Factor: Major lesbian content
Short Take: Daisy and Botchok are rebels as a lesbian couple in a small village in the Philippines. They become branded as witches.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2005
Duration: 113 min
Language: Philippines/Tagalog
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Auraeus Solito
Writer: Jimmy Flores
Starring: Desiree Del Valle, Carlo Aquino, Vanna Garcia, Bembol Roco, Luis Alandy, Eugene Domingo, Ama Quiambao
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TuliDaisy (Desiree Del Valle) lives in a small village in the Philippines, and as the daughter of the local circumciser, she is taught the trade by her father. This makes her different from other girls, and she grows up with an awareness of gender roles and sexism. Her own father beats both Daisy and her mother (Eugene Domingo), and she vows not to go along with an arranged marriage to the son of a successful farmer.

Meanwhile, Daisy’s best friend Botchok (Vanna Garcia) is thrown out of the house, humiliated by her father and abandoned by her boyfriend. In love with Botchok, Daisy tells her friend that she will marry her. Unsure at first, Botchok warms to the idea and moves in with Daisy and her parents, the two making love though only very thin reed walls separate the rooms.

Daisy’s father soon passes away, and the two women decide to start a family, choosing Nanding (Carlo Aquino), an outcast himself, to be the baby’s father. He is the only local man who is not circumcised and the grandson of a mystic. By this time, Daisy’s mother recognizes and accepts their relationship, but because they are so different and independent, Daisy and Botchok are branded as witches by other villagers. It is only Daisy’s pregnancy that convinces them that they are not really lesbians or witches after all.

At almost two hours long, the film is a bit of an epic, filled with Catholic and indigenous religious symbolism. Daisy and Nanding are celebrated as rebels, but in the end, their breaks from tradition are tempered by conformity.

(Note: Desiree Del Valle is not the same actress as the Desi del Valle who has appeared in several lesbian features.) (AB)