THOSE LONG HAIRED NIGHTS
Mga Gabing Kasinghaba Ng Hair Ko
Directed by Gerardo Calagui
Official Selection, 2017 Busan International Film Festival
Tuesday is looking for love, Amanda is searching for family, and Barbie… well, Barbie just can’t stay away from trouble. THOSE LONG HAIRED NIGHTS follows three transgender prostitutes and their pimp through their harried and unpredictable working hours in Manila’s hotels, massage parlors, streets – and one lush visit to the country. First-time feature director Gerardo Calagui has a keen eye for fascinating professional details, from the girls’ nightly sign-in procedures to their sensual massage training sessions.
So often films about prostitution, especially from Southeast Asia, approach the subject as a pathology. Prostitutes are symptoms to be judged, or pitied, or rescued. What makes THOSE LONG HAIRED NIGHTS so refreshing is that it reminds us that first and foremost these are women at work, with individual struggles and joys. Without sugarcoating the dangers that threaten transgender prostitutes – the violence, exploitation and drug dependency – Calagui and his unforgettable cast insist on a space for romance, warmth, family, and endless charm. –Lev Kalman