Controversial online content creator, Vincentiments is under fire again! In a familiar pattern, his constant use of shock and “exploitation” of societal taboos only leads to more confusion and uproar than a healthy discussion.

/ 25 August 2020

Yet another “shocking” film from Vincentiments, Paglaki Ko, Gusto Kong Maging Pornstar casts daring local actresses from different generations including Ara Mina, Maui Taylor, Alma Moreno, and Rosanna Roces. With a title that warshocks netizens in an uproar, will its clamor equal its significance?

me: “…Opo, 3 pages back to back, per word…opo, sasabihin nyo po iyan, ngayon na…”them:

Posted by Darryl Yap on Saturday, August 22, 2020

The very title already gives away the essence of the film. It delves on the idea of being a pornstar as a dream job. But even in the context of sex work as being an actual and just work, does it merit enough taboo or shock factor to be used for entertainment’s sake? While the outfit have always been vocal in their brand of “crass entertainment” and “bold” interpretation of taboos in society, the idea can tread on quite a delicate line between actual cause and clout factor. Perhaps, this is why he’s been haunted by a lot of haters and critics because the use of crass antics and shock factors can be a pull from its actual cause and only leaves an impression of clout and intrigue. 

Let’s say that it’s intriguing—a film that finally normalizes sex work in a predominantly Catholic country. That’s already one tick off the shocklist for its deviation from the norms. Then you cast the famous daring stars of their years to haul in different sets of age groups. Then you sprinkle a whole lot of curse words, unrefined remarks, and wild antics to make it “relatable” and “closer to reality”. 

Looking into its equation with the idea of promoting sex work as normal work, having a whole lot of negative factors may add up to a gut-wrenching narrative that can tire any normal audience. In whatever way your nerves might react with, Darryl Yap has only been interested in the idea of tickling your emotions and any reactions will suffice. But this only leaves us with the thought of its genuineness to normalize sex or is was it just some ploy he uses for clout and the instant gratification of views?

Through the years, shocking art has taken form in different mediums and practices that vary from films, sculpture, or a photograph. But the notion of shocking is not always synonymous to bizarre or wild, but any shake or stir of thoughts is more than enough of a shock on a person or a system of beliefs. 

As for Vincentiments, it has since explored the concepts of incest with The Cousins and the business of trolls with Ang Jowa Kong DDS. Relying on these shocking narratives or taboo as his themes, Darryl is taking a risky slope towards the limelight that could either make or break him as a filmmaker. But even with all the cancellation or bashing he has received, he continues to amass a following and creates films that resonate to specific audiences—or on the other end of the spectrum, he gets as much followers as he can with all the controversies thrown his way. To him, provocation and recklessness are essential to his craft.

In an apology post for his film AYUDAmn and the uproar it caused among single moms, the young creator bares his process by detailing the elements that he is fond of. “My art is known for being crass, provocative, unapologetic. Throughout the years, I’ve managed to be consistent with my messaging, with my branding.” He exclaims, “But the unapologetic nature of my craft does not necessarily reflect my person.” Here’s an excerpt of his post:

I acknowledge that my brand of art is not meant for the faint of heart. Be prepared to be offended.

Because it is precisely the intention.

–to provoke. There is little point in art when you cannot ruffle someone’s feathers. That is always the risk that I take–the risk of being hated. But I take that as a sign that my art is alive–it disrupts. You see, people are now talking about it. It stirs not only controversy, but discourse. And that is healthy in a democracy. Again, I own up to some miscalculations but does that mean I will be careful next time? That I cannot promise.

Recklessness is an essential part of our craft. Political correctness is not our cup of tea. I will not apologize for hurt that’s taken by choice. I can only explain my art to you; I cannot understand it for you. If you watch our shorts and expect that it will be “tamed” next time, expect to be disappointed.

Or better yet, stay away. Some people listen not with the intention to understand, but with the intention to reply. It is exactly the case with some of our haters. They watch us not with the intention of understanding, but with the intention of misreading the message. They will find an issue, a cause that they can advocate at our expense. They will fan the hate and accuse us of spreading animosity. They become the monsters that they vow to slay. They swallow the poison and expect us to die by it.

Although we’re not dealing with another Serbian Film in the making, let’s look into how other films carefully portrayed shocking ideas in a more digestible manner. 

In Boy Talk, a film by a local filmmaking startup Wonderlast Films, they shed light on the horrible culture of men’s objectification of women in mundane chit-chats and the long term effects it causes. In Babagwa of Cinemalaya 2013, we took a trip into the menacing world of budol-budol as it ends with a shocking twist that will flip the whole film around and leaves with a question of what’s real in social media. In Brillante Mendoza’s Kinatay, we watched how they dissected the dark truths that run in the world of drug mule.

All of these present a shocking truth whether it spans from a simple conversation to a shocking twist in its execution to a horrifying story. The essence lies in the profound experience and ideas it leaves on its audience and does not rely on dealing with furiosity and fire among its critics. 

Freedom of expression will always remain valid for all. As an artist or filmmaker, it could be worth noting that shock is not a measure of how good a film can be but it could spice up the experience.