By Roi Lim
Most of us here in the Philippines had experienced (or is currently experiencing) growing up in a Catholic school. Once you get through the entire awkward puberty stage, things can get kind of…confusing, considering all the morals and teachings that get shoved down your throat. Natalia Dyer from the Stranger Things fame recently came out with a short film tackling the taboo subject of masturbation and sexuality, and you’re probably going to relate to it.
Yes, God, Yes is a short film about a Catholic school girl named Natalia’s character Alice, who discovers her own sexuality as well as her church’s hypocrisy. It also depicts just about how bewildering the Catholic school experience can be. Based on anecdotal evidence, the portrayal of Catholic teachers and teachings here is accurate. That is, if the standard for accuracy is, “what many students in the Philippines go through.”
Director Karen Maine, who had a strict and religious upbringing, described the film as, “a love story between one woman and her vagina,” elaborating that, “many girls often explore their bodies first, before they have partnered experiences, yet we rarely get to see this portrayed on screen.” She wants to help remove the stigma around female sexual pleasure, and show that female students, like men, can be horny too. (Yes, it’s totally normal, ya’ll.)
The movie evokes some nostalgia thanks to the use of those fat, cream Windows XP computers, which Alice uses to enter chat rooms with random people. Thanks to the internet, students in conservative schools don’t have to be as clueless about sex. Alice discovers masturbation, cybersex, and what her teacher and friend think about them. Note that this isn’t a porno. There is nothing erotic in this movie, unless you get off by looking at someone putting their hand inside their pants.
Scenes that have a Catholic teacher or religious classmate in it, and Dyer’s character questioning her school’s silly teachings are actually quite funny. Unlike her teacher and classmates, she doesn’t have any quotable (dumb) quotes. But her facial expressions convey what sort of shock or skepticism a reasonable teenager in a sea of backwardness would have.
Talking about what exactly people say and do in this 11 minute film will spoil the movie. But if you wanted to see a film that captures the silly parts of growing up Catholic, this is worth 11 minutes of your life.
Watch it here.