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Bar Boys: The Bourgeoisie, The Burgherdom, and The Proletariat

Bar Boys: The Bourgeoisie, The Burgherdom, and The Proletariat

The film Bar Boys is not about law and justice. It’s actually the opposite. The 2018 film by Director Kip Oebanda focuses on the excruciating struggles of aspiring lawyers in the Philippines. It is a comedic take on the hell and bane that is law school. Following the lives of four friends, Bar Boys is a unique take on intellect, profession, law, and even class status. The film claims to have four main leads. These are Torran (Rocco Nacino), Chris (Enzo Pineda), Erik (Carlo Aquino), and Josh (Kean Cipriano). However, it can be observed that it only provided character depth and texture to only three of the “main” characters who are named Torran, Chris, and Erik.

The Bourgeoisie

I think that the best way to critically analyze the film is to examine its depiction and characterization of the Bar Boys. Torran (the bourgeoisie) while the smartest in the group, is also the most privileged. This effectively communicates the narrative that it is easier to be intellectual. Especially, when basic physiological and social needs are not something that you have to worry about.

The Burgherdom

One of the Bar Boys Chris (the burgherdom) embodies the typical Filipino middle class. He is extremely pressured by the support that his middle-class family is investing in his studies and pursuit of law. While watching the film, I cannot help but notice how Chris’ character effectively portrays how middle-class Filipino families have the tendency to over-venerate titles and licensure. Perceiving and thinking of it as more than an academic achievement but rather a form of the class symbol as well.

The Proletariat

Finally, Erik (the proletariat), the poor and pitiful Erik. The film depicted Erik’s character’s supposed stupidity as a cinematic tool to frustrate the audience. Coming from a very impoverished family, his decision to pursue law is impractical. However, instead of making up for this “impracticality” Erik’s character is a deviation away from the traditional film trope of ‘the poor kid as the smartest student in the class. This is one of the most significant aspects of the film in my perception.

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The fact that people from the lower class are hindered from pursuing their dreams is not only because of the scarcity of resources. Further also because their place of poverty makes it harder for them to develop intellectually. A marginalized person’s worries gravitate towards food, shelter, and medication. This explains why they do not have the intellectual energy to memorize provisions from the constitution.

Many misinterpret the film, Bar Boys to be about law and justice, but anyone who is watching it more closely can see that it is about the opposite. It is about how it is always easier for the rich to win and excel. While harder and challenging, still relatively possible for the middle class.

Finally, almost impossible and a punch to the moon for the poor. Bar Boys is about how achieving their dreams is not a question of dedication, determination, or intellect. But, it is rather a question of privilege.

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