Darryl Yap’s upcoming film is under fire for its poster ‘misrepresention’ of people with mental health conditions

Even before the time of the pandemic, many of us have already been battling an invisible enemy. Mental health has been a topic debated by many. But whatever the argument is, mental health is something to be taken seriously about. 

Unfortunately, with the release of the poster of Darryl Yap’s upcoming movie “Tililing,” the only thing people see is how problematic it represents people living with mental health issues. The poster features its cast, which includes Baron Geisler, Gina Pareño, Yumi Lacsamana, Candy Pangilinan, Donnalyn Bartolome, and Chad Kinis, making odd facial expressions with their tongues sticking out. 

‘Tililing’ film poster (Photo from VinCentiments Facebook)

Filipino netizens quickly called the movie poster out on social media, saying the it stigmatizes people with mental health issues. Others add that even its title, a Filipino slang for insane, is derogatory.

Among those who shared their views on the film is actress Liza Soberano. As a psychology student herself, she disapproved of the poster saying, “mental health is not a joke.”

“Really hoping that this movie will spread awareness and enlighten us on the struggles of dealing with mental health,” Liza posted on Twitter.

Liza Soberano

With the help of the official social media page of film and TV studio VinCentiments, Darryl assures that the actress’ plea will not be wasted, and that the movie will not fail her.

“Ang iyong pag-asa na sana’y makapagbigay liwanag ang aming pelikula sa pagpapalawak ng kaalaman sa pangkalusugang pangkaisipan ay hindi masasayang (You hope that our film will help push awareness for mental health will not be in vain),” Darryl posted. “Kapag napanood niyo na po ang ‘Tililing’ ay mauunawaan ninyo bakit ito ang titulo, bakit nakalabas ang kanilang dila; at bakit namin tinitindigan ang kalidad at mensahe ng pelikula (When you watch ‘Tililing,’ you’d understand why we chose that title, why their toungues are sticking out, and why we stand for the quality and message of the film).”

Does the movie deserve a chance?

“We can’t judge the movie if we haven’t seen it yet,” Anxiety and Depression Support Philippines (ADSP), an organization dedicated to improving Filipinos’ mental health, says. “Let’s just hope that it is done tastefully.”

To create an even bigger statement, the organization recreated the film’s poster with ordinary people showing a calm facial expression. This is to show and break the stigma of what others perceive about people with mental problems.

ADSP’s recreated film poster (Photo from ADSP Facebook)

“‘Yung iba may pinagdaraanan, sila pa ‘yung nakatawa… Ika nga nila, maraming mukha ang problema. At gusto namin ipakita rin ang ibang mukha—merong mukhang masaya, highly functional, productive pero sa loob loob, may kadiliman (People who deal with these situations are often the ones who are smiling. As they say, problem has many faces. We want to show those different faces—they can be happy, highly functional, productive, but deep within them there is darkness),” ADSP posted.

“Do understand na for the sake of publicity most people will do everything for marketing. Wala silang intensyon na manakit, ang intensyon nila ay bumenta (It’s not their intention to hurt anyone, their intention is to sell),” the organization continued. “Kung maganda man ang intensyon ng pelikula, exciting yan! Sana may guidance ng mga eksperto para pasok talaga sa banga lalo na kung para sa mental health awareness ito. If not… oh well, that’s showbiz (If the intention of the movie is good, that is exciting! With hope, they have experts guiding them to hit the nail on the head when it comes to mental health awareness. If not… oh well, that’s showbiz).”

Last May, the National Center for Mental Health reported a spike in Filipinos suffering from mental health conditions since the start of the community quarantine. 

During times of public health crisis, movies and TV shows have been a way for many to escape, to cope with stress and anxiety. This brings a new sense of responsibility for artists and creators. With Darryl being under scrutiny for many of his works, it may come hard for people to look past this poster disaster and see his film in a better light. But let’s also remember that we, too, have a responsibility to educate and inform ourselves.

Just like what the ADSP said, however, we cannot judge the film just yet. What we need to do everytime is to first hold our stones back, think on it for a while, before throwing it to the sinner. Truly, that poster is inappropriate, even offensive for its mockery. But for now, let’s hold on to Darryl’s promise of a better film.

And if he doesn’t deliver, let’s put social media to better use and always choose to educate.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/02/09/should-we-even-give-the-tililing-movie-a-chance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=should-we-even-give-the-tililing-movie-a-chance)