Starring Elmo Redrico, Roxlee, Rayg Generoso, Myke Sarthou, Jim Libiran, et al. Premiered in Rotterdam 2006.
A group of tribal leaders from the jungle search the city like a hard rock band. Or is it a rock group looking for the jungle? The filmmaker was arrested for the film, together with his half naked kings. Funny, unpolished, musical and (hence) also a little bit political.
It looks like a joke that has got out of hand, a kind of contest: who dares walk the street wearing only a G-string? G-string Kings is indeed a cheerful and cheeky film, in the spirit of the other work by this most cheerful, cheekiest and certainly most productive of Filipino film makers, but it is not just a silly joke. Seven sturdy mature men dressed in no more than the bahag, the traditional string with loincloth as worn by the original inhabitants of the Philippines. It couldn't be more Filipino, so why should Filipinos get upset about it? Yet the cheerful procession is regarded as a provocation of good taste and even of good order. The film is a feature, made in the idiom of the silent film, but shot spontaneously on the street, like a documentary. The men go out into the world as kings: King Black, King Red, King Blue, King Yellow, King Green, King Purple and King Orange - seven rainbow kings (bahag-hari) with their ethnic G-string (bahag). They travel in a jolting van from the natural forests to the urban jungle. The Bahag Kings, descendants of noble rulers but also of village idiots, search all over for wala (nothing). In the end, they, along with the film maker, are arrested by the police. What was once traditional costume turns out to have become obscene. (Gertjan Zuilhof)
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