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Lust & found In the time of COVID

HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRIPE-VINE

Philip Cu Unjieng2 copyPhilip Cu Unjieng2 copy

Philip Cu Unjieng

By PHILIP CU UNJIENG

Why is a poorly acted, soft core film #1 on Netflix’s chart of ‘Top 10 in the Philippines Today’?

A Polish-Italian co-production now lords it on Netflix, #1 on the list of Top 10 in the Philippines Today. The film is 365 Dni (Polish for Days, it’s pronounced as “Da-knee”); and I don’t believe I’ll meet much opposition when I say it’s a badly-acted, cliche-ridden, “Son of Godfather Likes His 50 Shades of Polish Gray” soft-core film. Filled with energetic scenes of sex, bondage, and sado-masochism, apparently, it’s just what the doctor prescribed for Filipino viewers.

Other than Michael Jordan’s “The Last Dance,” this whole year of Most Watched on Netflix has been dominated by Korean series, led by “Crash Landing On You,” “The King: Eternal Monarch,” and Itaewon Class. So don’t scoff at this rising to the top of 365 Dni – it translates to a very broad range of viewers, and has something to say about Filipinos. Call it the lingering effects of COVID, the lockdown, or that motels are still closed; but this film obviously has satisfied some need or craving of the “tigang na tigang” Filipino.

Breaking it down, the core demographic of the streaming service, the young adults, would have found the titillating film entertaining; but am also certain younger kids would furtively watch the film, overjoyed that parenting filters weren’t instituted on their Netflix feed. The titas of Manila would have been properly scandalized; then regrouped, called their fellow titas, and arranged group-watching tea parties? And of course, your testosterone-fueled Male audience would have called this the ultimate Action film on Netflix, wishing there was some slomo replay button.

Forget the fact that the film romanticizes the Stockholm Syndrome, that it portrays women falling in love with their kidnapper as long as shopping sprees, yachts, and kinky sex are laid at their feet. Surprisingly, the chauvinistic film is directed by a woman – Barbara Bialowas.

Poland actually has a rich film history. From the early 1960’s we had “Ashes & Diamonds” and “Knife in the Water,” and more recently, there’s The Pianist and 2018’s “Cold War.” So I have to stifle a chuckle at the thought that if you’d survey Filipinos now, and include “365 Dni” in a list of the above-mentioned Polish films, it could possibly rank as the one that most Filipinos have actually watched. Andrzej Wajda would be turning in his grave, the likes of Roman Polanski, Agnieszka Holland, and Kryszstof Zanussi gnashing their teeth in frustration.

Netflix reported that their global audience peaked in late March of this year, when so many countries all over the world went into coronavirus lockdown. And they’re proud to assert that their streaming service has steadily enjoyed numbers that outperform any previous year. In their eternal search for new content, there’s often been so much trash mixed with the quality; but I’m not going to argue about Netflix knowing their audience, and striking gold often enough.

Here in the Philippines, Netflix is an alternative to mainstream television; and is often perceived as the choice of a more sophisticated, “woke” audience. A viewership ready to stream the latest Martin Scorsese, Alfonso Cuarón, or Noah Baumbach. A new Spike Lee Joint drops this June. But thanks to 365 Dni, we’ve seen clear proof of just how “woke” or sophisticated this Filipino audience is. In the midst of the #MeToo era, a film of this nature — one that’s not only smut, but bad smut, has zoomed up the charts!

I called it on social media on Sunday, June 7, when the film first dropped, posting that I predicted it would enter the Top 5. Several of my friends raised their eyebrows, scoffing at the suggestion that a bad Polish soft core flick would create such waves. Lo and behold, in just two days, it became Numero Uno. Well, thank you Philippines, for reassuring me that S-E-X still sells. Just not sure if I’m actually happy, and what it says about us.

=”https://news.mb.com.ph//philip-cu-unjieng/” rel=””>Philip Cu Unjieng




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