Love Beneath the Stars a powerful statementof love, acceptance

DOLLY Dulu’s “The Boy Foretold by the Stars,” an entry to the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), continues with a limited series titled “Love Beneath The Stars.”

What will the cards foretell for Dominic and Luke this time?

At the end of MMFF, the film won three awards: 2nd Best Picture, Best Original Theme Song for “Ulan” and the Gender Sensitivity Award. Months after the film’s release, it was announced that a sequel series had been green lit, which premiered on Aug. 16, 2021 and concluded on Sept. 20.

Adrian Lindayag and Keann Johnson reprise their roles as Dominic and Luke, two students from St. Francis Catholic School, who develop a connection after bonding at a religious retreat.

The sequel series picks up right after the film’s ending, which was quite a cliffhanger of a seemingly happily ever after.

Following the surge in popularity of the boys’ love (BL) genre last year, Dulu’s film was a breath of fresh air, casting someone like Lindayag, who is openly queer and effeminate, as one of the leads. That, in itself, is a huge win in terms of representation, because not only is this a queer love story, it’s portrayed by someone from the community.

In “Love Beneath The Stars,” the two are eager to keep their budding romance on the right track so they seek further guidance from Baby R (played by Iyah Mina), the fortune teller who predicted in the film’s events that they would be each other’s soul mates.

The series’ story anchors on one pivotal point: Dominic and Luke share a kiss in front of their peers at their graduation ball—a powerful statement to make, considering the conservative nature of Catholic schools. Videos of their kiss surface online, drawing both positive and negative comments, thereafter, drawing the attention of their school’s superiors.

Instead of antagonizing, the show takes a more progressive take on the authority figures of the school, its principal and faculty specifically, as they deliberate on the disciplinary action to take. One of the teachers, who is a religious brother, expresses his support for Dominic and Luke, arguing that there is nothing wrong with they did.

In one of the most moving moments in the series, Dominic opens up to his father about feeling the need to consistently excel in school to make up for his sexuality—a necessary scene to unpack the problematic mindset that being gay is something to compensate for. This powerful dialogue between a parent and a child hopefully breaks down walls and starts conversations in households with queer kids.

More than just about unabashedly expressing love for a significant other, “Love Beneath The Stars” encourages its viewers, especially those from the queer community, to embrace and be proud of who you are. A story like Dominic and Luke’s is especially important for this generation to see, teaching them that love, in all forms, should be celebrated out in the open. All six episodes of “Love Beneath The Stars” are streaming exclusively on iWantTFC.