VIFF

The Thank You Girls
The Thank You Girls

Dragons and Tigers

(Philippines, 2008, 101 mins)

In Visayan with English subtitles

HDCam
International Premiere
Directed By: Charliebebs S. Gohetia
PRODS: Adolfo B Alix Jr, James R Hohl
SCR/ED: Charliebebs Gohetia
CAM: Albert Banzon
MUS: Teresa Barrozo
Cast: Gie Salonga, Pidot Villocino, July Jimenez, Kit Poliquit, EJ Pantujan, Kim Vergara
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Produced By: Small Producer, Other Producer

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Dragons & Tigers Nominee Dragons & Tigers Award Nominee.

Inner beauty? It’s a hoax! It’s all faked anyway… The “Thank You” Girls follows a gaggle of drag queens and their entourage on journeys from one small-town “beauty pageant” to the next as they compete for the coveted title “Queen of the Third Kind 2008.” They play the roles of reigning beauty queens, mostly from the “Third World”; it’s curiously warming to reflect that this Miss Zimbabwe would be Robert Mugabe’s worst nightmare. Mommy Paola (aka Virgil) drives the jeepney and takes advantage of the trip to fly-post “Missing Person” notices: he’s trying to find his former lover Carlos, now married. Chris, one of the queens in the back, looks forward to a rendezvous (or is that a showdown?) with the legendary Adora Gracia, due to host one of the pageants. But there’s no real plot to speak of. It’s essentially a road movie.

Charliebebs Gohetia, the editor of Brillante Mendoza’s films, turns director with this deeply Filipino variation on Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Unlike its prototype, it’s not powered by the emotional highs and lows of melodrama. “Deeply Filipino” means laid-back, resigned, defeated–and yet wonderfully resilient. As in all contests, there are winners and losers: “These gays strive hard and still finish last.” If you know this unique world at first hand, you’ll feel more at home here than in any previous drag-queen movie. If you don’t, you’ll laugh, you’ll gasp, you may even hurl. But you’ll come out a better person.


— Tony Rayns

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