The Human Zoo
Date: August 2021
Duration: 6 hours 53 minutes
Filipino-American Christina 'Ting' Klein has just traveled from New York to Manila, both to escape her imminent divorce and to begin research for a biography of Timicheg, an indigenous Filipino brought to America at the start of the twentieth century to be exhibited as part of a 'human zoo.' It has been a year since Ting's last visit, and one year since Procopio 'Copo' Gumboc swept the elections in an upset and took power as president. Arriving unannounced at her aging aunt's aristocratic home, Ting quickly falls into upper class Manila life-family gatherings at her cousin's compound; spending time with her best friend Inchoy, a gay socialist professor of philosophy; and a flirtation with her ex-boyfriend Chet. All the while, family duty dictates that Ting be responsible for Laird, a cousin's fiance, who has come from the States to rediscover his roots.
As days pass, Ting witnesses modern Filipino society languishing under Gumboc's terrifying reign. To make her way, she must balance the aristocratic traditions of her extended family, seemingly at odds with both situation and circumstance, as well as temper her stance towards a regime her loved ones are struggling to survive. Yet Ting cannot extricate herself from the increasingly repressive regime, and soon finds herself personally confronted by the horrifying realities of Gumboc's power.