The more I watch documentary films the more I realize how unpredictable we human beings are. No, it’s not the voice of disappointment you hear from me or read through my lines; it’s just another way of stating a fact that is damning, brutal and inhumane. It might sound blunt and childish but the life we have cannot be taken for granted, or taken away by someone who wishes to, whether we share the same religion or not, sex or sexual preferences. We all belong to this Earth, the planet where we all must live in unity. However, after seeing “Call Her Ganda”, I realized that some people seem to find it too difficult to share the same place with others due to a lack of education, discipline, compassion and kindness which defines who we really are.
“Call Her Ganda” directed by PJ Raval follows the brutal murder of a Filipina transwoman by a U.S. Marine, whose life was interrupted at age 26. On October 11, 2014 she went to the Ambyanz Disco on Magsaysay Drive in Olongapo City to enjoy her time with a friend nicknamed Barbie. After meeting three foreigners, the woman agrees to go the hotel called Celzone Lodge but only for a brief amount of time, and never returns, at least not alive. As the film examines what happens before, during and after the murder of Jennifer/Jeffrey Laude, three women — an activist attorney, a transgender journalist and Jennifer’s mother want the truth to come out.
As the film touches the issues transgender people have to face in Philippines, it also uncovers the aspects of US Imperialism, its history, and perhaps the lack of patience towards those who happen to be different. Of course what you see in the film happens across the globe, but nothing can justify the act of taking the life of someone who by chance do not share the same value as yours. It’s a sad and heartbreaking story of how a life can be lost due to prejudices and how much was done to prevent any of this from happening in the future.
In conclusion, PJ Raval’s “Call Her Ganda” is not an easy walk you think you can take as if you were in the park. The film forces you to see the dark side of society, military and the impact it has on the minds of those who did not get the chance to get enough education and respect. But at the end of the day, “Call Her Ganda” sends a powerful message to our sick and impatient society where it states only one thing which is enough to have all of us reconsider our approach to parenting, putting a patch on wounds or just accept the reality the way it is – there is never enough reasons to keep the truth hidden. No such strong wall exists that can hold the truth and facts from getting through it. And when it comes to respecting all kinds of people, there should be zero hesitation to protect the only tool that can let society to stand on it tall – Unity.