Narratives championing LGBTQ rights seem a dime a dozen, and all seem to carry a common and expected plot direction and story arc.
But the story of Marrz Balaoro (Anne Curtis) on MMK “Sinturon” shows not only the intrinsic value of the community’s diversity and individuality but also the group’s noble and honorable stature and contribution to society.
It did help that Anne Curtis delivered a scintillating dramatic performance as a transman, embodying credibility, believability and truthfulness.
The first scene tells it all as Marrz sits atop a moving jeepney glancing towards home, in which his tale of prejudice, and repression started and boiled over. Not only by the way Anne looked as Marrz did we instantly understand he went through, but also that short glance, uncomfortable twitch, and dejected sigh—all gave us a clear idea about a transman’s travails.
Being ostracized, rejected, and humiliated by his father Martin (Carlos Siguion-Reyna) despite his mom Lenida’s (Rita Avila) pleas for acceptance is truly heartbreaking, yet this is a scene that is quite not out of the ordinary in depicting an LGBTQ member’s ordeals. What touches us is the way Marrz showed self-restraint and utter dignity in facing such harshness and bigotry, thanks to Anne’s stirring portrayal.
Marrz would soon find himself in Hong Kong working as a domestic helper after continued resentment by his father. And that decision became his turning point—as it gave Marrz the strength to accept himself fully, find true love in Yna (Bianca King), and even fight for the rights of others who share the same predicament.
By setting up a support organization with fellow LGBTQ members and OFWs in Hong Kong, Marrz gained not only the recognition and respect from his peers, but the acceptance of his father, who had since realized Marrz’s worth—straight or not—in attaining change in society.
As Anne’s performance was superb, and so was Carlos Siguion-Reyna’s infuriating characterization and Rita Avila’s natural and deeply felt projection, it would not have been possible if it weren’t for direk Barry Gonzalez’s creative guidance to make it all happen. The right pacing of the dialogue, or the exceptional editing work, and, of course, on-point production design, make the episode as riveting it was.