<body scroll="auto"><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\0756997854004143507492\46blogName\75BEYONDtheBOX\46publishMode\75PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\46navbarType\75BLUE\46layoutType\75CLASSIC\46searchRoot\75http://jayaltarejos.blogspot.com/search\46blogLocale\75en\46v\0752\46homepageUrl\75http://jayaltarejos.blogspot.com/\46vt\75-1498457545399502053', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>
BEYONDtheBOX


7.17.2010

CLICKTHECITY REVIEWS PINK HALO-HALO

ClickTheCity at the 6th Cinemalaya: Part 2
by Philbert Ortiz Dy
posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 in Indie Films




There are no surprises in Joselito Altarejos’ Pink Halo-Halo. In fact, the synopsis on the schedule brochure pretty much gives away the ending. But that’s hardly the point of the film. Here, Altarejos shares with us a recollection of life as a soldier’s son, delivering a lyrical slice of life picture that explores the rhythms of childhood against a backdrop of creeping dread.

Altarejos plays on the dichotomies, the child Natoy living an almost idyllic life in his hometown while endless conflict terrorizes other parts of the country. It points to the striking truth that for most people, news of war and strife almost serves as background noise, the narratives only becoming real as the people they love become subject to tragedy. It’s a terribly sophisticated insight into our country’s precipitous decline into a culture of violence. This isn’t the most explosive film of the festival, but it’s quietly devastating in its own way.

Labels: , , , , , ,


|

A REVIEW ON PINK HALO-HALO

Pink Halo-Halo: This boy’s life!
by: Edgar O. Cruz | STIR Editor in Chief
16 Jul 2010 | 11:03 AM



Joselito “Jay” Altarejos’ Pink Halo-Halo is the real liberated indie film at the Sixth Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. With the compelling theme of Liberating indie film, the filmfest is currently rolling and I got to watch three full-length features: Magkakapatid, Pink Halo-Halo and Sampaguita, National Flower in that order. Looking for the new indie film, I find nothing out-of-the-box with Kim Garcia and Francis Pasion’s movies. But it is Pink Halo-Halo that tries and succeeds in getting out of the indie film mold told in a gay boy’s fondness for halo-halo.

Pink Halo-Halo is independenly produced with filmmaker Altarejos as producer, writer and director. A gay film, a genre which Altarejos has been specializing almost exclusively and doing a good job at elevating the genre and perceptions about gay men, it is without a single naked man and titillating sequence. It is about Natoy confronting his sexuality as a normal boy and his developing sexuality. It does this by showing scenes such cutting a piece of paper into dolls, learning how to apply makeup, fingering a beauty product catalogue – all told as motions, no dialogue.

Subject is dark alright: the death of the boy’s soldier father in Mindanao. But it does not beat corruption, injustice, poverty, exploitation, politics – the range of subjects most dear to indie films – to a pulp. It stays a simple story of a mother and a boy coping with a soldier’s life. It is without drama, just a bunch of people going through the motions of what life brings like going to the wake of dead comrades. Or fixing the motorcycle which seems the only luxury in this soldier’s life.

It is in Tigaonon, the dialect of Ticao Island off Masbate, all throughout and uses the townpeople as actors. Lead actor is Paolo Constantino as Natoy who does not have acting background and was not drilled on the craft before shoot. Proffesional actors Allen Dizon, Dexter Doria, and Angeli Bayani do the adult parts. This is in the tradition of Vitorio De Sica’s Italian Neo-Realist films which works very well for the movie’s purpose and intent.

For once, an indie film touches on the nobility of the human spirit in time of tragedy as very well told in the dialogue-less ending sequence with the townspeople meeting the dead soldier’s casket at the wharf. It is without histrionics, just the resignations there’s no escape in the tragedy. It is even without mood shots with nature very much incorporated into the scene.
***Also published in The Daily Tribune.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


|

7.03.2010

PINK HALO-HALO: Cinemalaya 2010

Please support my Cinemalaya entry Pink Halo-Halo at the Cultural Center of the Philippines from July 10-18.


THE TRAILER:





INFO SHEET:


See you there!!!

Labels: , , ,


|

12.18.2009

ANG LARO NG BUHAY NI JUAN DIRECTOR'S CUT DVD

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Our film, Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan, which had a four-week theatrical run in selected theaters will be finally out in dvd starting next week, December 21 at your favorite video shops.

The film stars Ray an Dulay, Angeli Bayani, Richard Quan, Perry Escano, Nico Antonio, May-i Fabros, Ace Ricafort, Ivy Sumilang, Tony Lapena and Mark fabillar.
DVD cover designed by: Mark Xander Fabillar

Again, we would like to share some reviews that the film received.
The Bakla Review:
http://thebaklareview.blogspot.com/2009/10/ang-laro-ng-buhay-ni-juan.html

"Co-written by Bonife, Altarejós, and Peping Salonga, Laro is subtler, but also richer, fresher, more intelligent, if also a little cooler/colder. It's a film that pulsates with the discovery of the moment. Ang Lihim ni Antonio is its closest forebear, both marked by naturally flowing existentialism, but this is probably the first time the direction and the writing complemented so effortlessly. "

Edgar Cruz, The Daily Tribune/Stir.ph:
http://www.stir.ph/LM/articles~level2/id-1256004053156_4/ai-null/Joselito_Altarejos_reality_game.html

"Altarejós attacks the scenes as dispassionately as possible. There are scenes which he could have exploited, but he cuts as soon as he establishes the scene’s purpose — the mark of a mature helmer... He proves in this movie that he's an indie filmmaker in the real sense of the term. He pushes the director's work to the extreme like what German poet Rainier Maria Rilke said is necessary to come up with a master work... Ang Lalake Sa Parola was my favorite Altarejós movie; Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan changed this!"

Loud Cloud:
http://verbosecity.blogspot.com/2009/10/biscuits-and-heartbreaks.html

"Adept direction and a subtle script brought out the indisputable talent of Dulay into prominence. Whereas in the past Dulay’s acting aptitude glimmers but get eclipsed (because of the minority of his roles) Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan is his opportunity and he convinces us that you'll watch this movie not because of raging erections but because of hard-won talent. Even the minor casts approach their characters with precision and humanity they seem not to regurgitate a script but tossing out lines like spontaneous snippet of their daily dialogues."

Rito Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer:
http://services.inquirer.net/mobile/09/10/24/html_output/xmlhtml/20091024-231999-xml.html

"Jay (Altarejos) weaves a clear and briskly paced tale. He puts his storytelling dexterity and visual flair to good use as he subtly shifts from one social commentary to another. However, the needlessly protracted dance sequence could have used some trimming."

CINEMA, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines:
http://cbcpcinema.blogspot.com/2009/10/ang-laro-ng-buhay-ni-juan.html

"Payak kung maituturing ang kuwento ng pelikula na sinundan lamang ang isang araw sa buhay ng isang taong nais magbagong-buhay. Ngunit ang kapayakang ito ang nagpahatid at naglahad ng epektibong kuwento ng mga taong ang buhay ay nakatago sa dilim. Kitang-kita ang pagkakaiba ng buhay ni Juan sa araw at gabi. Isang tipikal na kuwento ng mga taong nasadlak sa kahirapan at may hanapbuhay na hindi nila kayang ipagmalaki. Maganda at totoong-totoo ang eksenang ipinakita sa pelikula. Malinaw ang pagkakalahad ng kuwento na hitik sa simbolismo. Mahuhusay din ang mga nagsiganap na bagama't mga hindi kilala at hindi malalaking pangalan sa industriya ay nagawang magampanan ang kanilang papel nang makatotohanan. Maganda ang direksiyon ng pelikula sa kabuuan dahil na rin sa naging matapat ito sa mga katotohanan ng lipunan na bihira na lang mapansin ng karamihan."

Snakey's Confession:
http://snakeysconfessions.blogspot.com/?zx=db068daa3099773c

"I am not a film critic but merely an avid fan but what disturbs me was that I did not just watch the film, but I was taken from my seat at the moviehouse and transported to where a lot of dreamers had been finding themselves in time and again, and what my past could have been; by sharing with me a treasured glimpse of the LARO NG BUHAY NI JUAN."

The video is distributed by Universal Records. BEYONDtheBOX would like to thank Ms. Elinor Castro, Mr. Peter Chan and Ms. Kathleen Go of Universal Records.

Please, grab a copy. Salamat.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


|

11.05.2009

ANG LARO NG BUHAY NI JUAN: EXTENDED THEATRICAL RUN

Our small film, Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan, is on its 3rd week at Robinsons Galleria. And it will open at three other theaters on November 11: Isetann Recto, Gotesco Grand Central Caloocan and Remar in Cubao.
Maraming salamat sa patuloy na nanunuod at sa magagandang reviews na natanggap ng pelikula.

The Bakla Review:
"Co-written by Bonife, Altarejós, and Peping Salonga, Laro is subtler, but also richer, fresher, more intelligent, if also a little cooler/colder. It's a film that pulsates with the discovery of the moment. Ang Lihim ni Antonio is its closest forebear, both marked by naturally flowing existentialism, but this is probably the first time the direction and the writing complemented so effortlessly. "

Edgar Cruz, The Daily Tribune:
"Altarejós attacks the scenes as dispassionately as possible. There are scenes which he could have exploited, but he cuts as soon as he establishes the scene’s purpose — the mark of a mature helmer... He proves in this movie that he's an indie filmmaker in the real sense of the term. He pushes the director's work to the extreme like what German poet Rainier Maria Rilke said is necessary to come up with a master work... Ang Lalake Sa Parola was my favorite Altarejós movie; Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan changed this!"

Loud Cloud:
"Adept direction and a subtle script brought out the indisputable talent of Dulay into prominence. Whereas in the past Dulay’s acting aptitude glimmers but get eclipsed (because of the minority of his roles) Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan is his opportunity and he convinces us that you'll watch this movie not because of raging erections but because of hard-won talent. Even the minor casts approach their characters with precision and humanity they seem not to regurgitate a script but tossing out lines like spontaneous snippet of their daily dialogues."

Rito Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer:
"Jay (Altarejos) weaves a clear and briskly paced tale. He puts his storytelling dexterity and visual flair to good use as he subtly shifts from one social commentary to another. However, the needlessly protracted dance sequence could have used some trimming."

CINEMA, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines:
"Payak kung maituturing ang kuwento ng pelikula na sinundan lamang ang isang araw sa buhay ng isang taong nais magbagong-buhay. Ngunit ang kapayakang ito ang nagpahatid at naglahad ng epektibong kuwento ng mga taong ang buhay ay nakatago sa dilim. Kitang-kita ang pagkakaiba ng buhay ni Juan sa araw at gabi. Isang tipikal na kuwento ng mga taong nasadlak sa kahirapan at may hanapbuhay na hindi nila kayang ipagmalaki. Maganda at totoong-totoo ang eksenang ipinakita sa pelikula. Malinaw ang pagkakalahad ng kuwento na hitik sa simbolismo. Mahuhusay din ang mga nagsiganap na bagama't mga hindi kilala at hindi malalaking pangalan sa industriya ay nagawang magampanan ang kanilang papel nang makatotohanan. Maganda ang direksiyon ng pelikula sa kabuuan dahil na rin sa naging matapat ito sa mga katotohanan ng lipunan na bihira na lang mapansin ng karamihan."

Snakey's Confession:
"I am not a film critic but merely an avid fan but what disturbs me was that I did not just watch the film, but I was taken from my seat at the moviehouse and transported to where a lot of dreamers had been finding themselves in time and again, and what my past could have been; by sharing with me a treasured glimpse of the LARO NG BUHAY NI JUAN."
Salamat po, uli.


|

10.26.2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan


Tony Lopena, Rayan Dulay, Ace Ricafort

The tandem of director Joselito Altarejos and screenwriter Lex Bonife birthed four gay-themed movies for major studio Viva, under its digital arm, starting with 2007's Ang Lalake Sa Parola. With their fifth collaboration, Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan, the duo make their first "truly independent" film, outside Viva, with Altarejos wearing the producer's hat for BeyondtheBox Productions. With this move, the bigger financial rewards might finally go to the deserving artists, who were anyway responsible for the brand of movie-making that spawned a following. The better news is that the departure seems to have freed them artistically, as well.

The mode is "real time" -- that increasingly fashionable style of storytelling that isolates time and place, an economy of approach well-suited to third world budgets. We follow Juan (Rayan Dulay) during his last hours in Manila, before he permanently leaves for his home province of Masbate. The film is structured in two parts. The first half is daytime, when Juan navigates the slums of his neighborhood, mingling with an assortment of characters, before settling in a tiny room to say goodbye to his lover (Nico Antonio) -- a tender moment that aches so well because we learn so much about the two of them with so little. It's also a positive representation of a same-sex relationship built on mutual love.

Fans might find my next statement blasphemous, but I've always thought that, in the Altarejos-Bonife partnership, the writing was usually the weaker link. Well, so much for that now. Gone are the fussy expositions and purple dialogue that mar their sometimes overly earnest melodramas. Co-written by Bonife, Altarejos, and Peping Salonga, Laro is subtler, but also richer, fresher, more intelligent, if also a little cooler/colder. It's a film that pulsates with the discovery of the moment. Ang Lihim Ni Antonio is its closest forebear, both with naturally flowing existentialism, but this is probably the first time the direction and the writing complemented so effortlessly.

I wonder, however, if the film would have benefited from a more intense lead actor. Real time seems to require a galvanizing, center-of-the-universe presence, the way Gina Pareño held Kubrador, or to a lesser extent, Coco Martin in Kinatay. Dulay is pleasant and effective, but I kind of wish he put more gas to his fire.

The second half is night, as Juan works for one last time as a live sex performer in a gay club, to make extra money for his trip. Here, we meet the kind ringmaster (played by Bonife), a newbie member being oriented, and the rest of the performers, including Juan's cocky partner (Ace Ricafort). The excitement builds up to the actual erotic show, with naked bodies, but the real culmination is... (SPOILER ALERT!) a police raid. What is it that happens to Juan in his last day in Manila? In the answer lies the film's powerful statement.

What the two parts illustrate, before we're even aware of it, is the transfer of money. In Juan's poor community, everyone needs it. But when people part with their cash -- to gamble, to lend to a friend, a lover, someone in need -- it always stems from free choice. What Juan chooses to do with his money is his right and his freedom. We get the spirit of people looking out for one another: It's there when a neighbor shares her plate of noodles, or when the club manager passes a hat and guests drop their generous tokens. By stark contrast, in the final act, when police officers snuff Juan of the contents of his wallet, it's a gross abuse of authority, a trampling of Juan's freedom and dignity. He was robbed of so much more than money. That, according to the film, is the great tragedy of this country. It's what corruption looks like on a micro level, but it extends and affects all of us. No coincidence, then, that our hero is called Juan, the name of the everyman.

Laro is the second excellent film this year to indict the illegal, inhumane practice of police raids. (Big Night was the other one.) The topic demands attention, and both films are must-sees. That Laro drives the important point with quiet grace is amazing.

GRADE: A-

Labels: , , , , , ,


|

10.25.2009

Loud Cloud: Biscuits And Heartbreaks


October 24, 2009

http://verbosecity.blogspot.com/2009/10/biscuits-and-heartbreaks.html

Compassion is one elevated form of human sentiments. It is transcendent in the sense that you step out of selfishness and supplant your emotions into rooting for the welfare of another person. This may not be the core thesis of Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan but for some accidental reasons it just did that: this unusually poignant film makes you discover your hidden well of empathy and you surface from the screening astonished, startled and stirred.

Altarejos + Bonife along with Peping Salonga are back in vigorous form. With the recent head-scratching turn in Little Boy Big Boy they seem to have taken a momentary breath and here decided to resume making significant films utilizing their key strengths—that is penning well-thought out narrative, sincere dialogues and sexually provocative propositions. Although the central sex scenes in ALNBNJ are still charged (and even then it makes you wonder how much graphic footage got snipped by the charming folks at MTRCB) they seem to have taken a backseat to make the story, the acting and deft direction rule.

ALNBNJ is a far-reaching, affecting chronicle. It reels in the viewer into following the pivotal day in the life of its protagonist Juan aka Erwin (Ray An Dulay), a live (gay)sex performer who is making a crucial decision in his life: to leave the daily grind of seedy carnal routine in favor of beckonings of a sick mother and a simple provincial life.

Like thousands of other similar stories out there Juan arrived in the city in search of better things and months and months of struggle found him committing man to man action in an underground sleazy bar. Though he appears neither apologetic nor resentful of his fate, he is also not happy of his squandered potential—only the fading, laminated diploma hanging precariously on the dilapidated wall of his ramshackled pigeonhole of a room reminds him of once a promise of a decent life. Typical story for those who have seen scads of equally-sleazy indie movies lately but what made the story entirely his own is his quiet dignity: he never moans, complains or bitches about his ill fate; he forge on the daily struggle with courage and determined detachment.

He is not alone in this foul existence and he is very aware of it: There’s the scene where a destitute neighbor borrowed thirty pesos to buy a scoop of rice only to get bumped by a running street urchin sending every grain on the pavement and getting soaked by the murky canal water. She didn’t erupt into a wild melodramatic sob; she just tried to scoop what she can possibly retrieve, desperately trying to salvage every precious grain. In the catastrophic bar scene (you struggle to neutralize a lump in your throat as) you witness scattered, broken biscuits intended for homecoming present being picked one by one from the floor. It kills you. It breaks your heart. It makes you forget you went into the theater in the hope of looking at raging hard-on of the cast, only to be won over by shimmering raw talents who are in complete command of the role they inhabit.

Adept direction and a subtle script brought out the indisputable talent of Dulay into prominence. Whereas in the past Dulay’s acting aptitude glimmers but get eclipsed (because of the minority of his roles). ALNBNJ is his opportunity and he convinces us that you'll watch this movie not because of raging erections but because of hard-won talent. Even the minor casts approach their characters with precision and humanity they seem not to regurgitate a script but tossing out lines like it is a spontaneous snippet of their daily dialogues.

Somewhere in the course of the film I wondered: Is it just me or the movie has an intriguing argument to make? The case being: Living in squalid condition, striving to live on, finding your way through brutalities of life are discouraging but not reasons to stop caring. Flashes of kindnesses are randomly injected to make this claim tangible: a sympathetic bar owner (essayed with candid, comic glee by Bonife himself: “Kayong mga gays, bisexual, straight curious, straight tripper o ano man ang tawag ninyo sa sarili ninyo isa lang ang ipinunta natin dito: Burat!” Classic.), a benevolent police member of the NBI raid squad, a neighbor who would willingly split her meager meal all seem like rare likelihoods but one cannot deny their uncommon existence either.

Another interesting aspect is the underlying, semi-subversive stand essayed in the movie: by putting an accent on the brand of people and forces that prey on the haplessness, desperation, misfortune and plain bad luck of individuals who are careworn and plainly, vainly trying as damned hard to claim a right to live for at least another day.

All throughout these tormenting moments ALNBNJ keeps itself in check: it is careful not to slide into sensationalism or petty melodrama. It never attempts to mine shallow sympathies on the plight and adverse conditions of its characters. It doesn’t rhapsodize the sexual scenes instead use them as natural progressions of the story. Thankfully Altarejos, Bonife and Salonga didn’t rehearse the rampant, cheap indie formula of “I Am So Desperate So I Am A Hooker” route but instead moulds its characters with willpower and fortitude. In so doing the movie and characters make our empathy spontaneous and potent.

ALSBNJ is honest and despite the pitiable moments is strangely kindhearted, with acute understanding of a struggling soul’s tendencies and motivations. It tells a touching, well-crafted story and treats the widely familiar plot/flawed characters with delicate respect and legitimate deference. It openly tells a blunt story that will resonate with anyone who at one point in his life was driven to misery and anguish and how the viciousness and cruelty of other people (and life in general) will squeeze out that last remaining ounce of hope in you until you are rendered beaten, cynical and emotionally empty.

This is where I applaud and commend Altarejos + Bonife + Salonga. Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan is like a bittersweet, hand-written love letter designed to wound you. And it does wound you. It rouses your humanity into sudden wakefulness.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::


Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan is currently screening at Robinsons Mall Cinemas (Galleria/Manila. Please check other theater listings). Do support this worthwhile indie movie as a way of encouraging more neat materials to come to life and hit the screens!

Posted by loudcloud at 12:38 AM

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


|

NOW SHOWING: Heady romantic summers, broken dreams in provocative dramas

By Rito Asilo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:02:00 10/24/2009


Missed opportunities

In Joselito “Jay” Altarejos’ latest gender-bending drama, “Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan,” destiny also delivers low blows to the dreams and big-city aspirations of 25-year-old Juan Reyes aka Erwin (Ray An Dulay). After three years of odd jobs and missed opportunities, the protagonist’s misadventures in the metropolis have left him barely hanging by a thread.

In gritty cinéma vérité fashion, the film follows Erwin on the day before he leaves the cruel urban jungle for good. He’s convinced there’s a better future waiting for him in his otherwise impoverished hometown in Masbate. Unsurprisingly, the fateful day turns out to be an emotional roller-coaster ride for Erwin as he exchanges pleasantries with his neighbors, then bids his lover, Noel, goodbye.

It’s also Erwin’s last day at Inner Sanctum, the seedy underground gay bar where he works as a live-sex performer. However, after his final show—and just as he’s about to leave the club—something happens that weakens his resolve to turn a new leaf.

Altarejos’ latest gay-themed scorcher tackles risqué subject matter with sensitivity and uncompromising vision—but, like “Lalaki sa Parola” and “Lihim ni Antonio,” it is not for everyone. Fortunately, “Laro” is a notch above the well-meaning but ultimately unsuccessful “Little Man, Big Man” or the thematically featherweight “Kambyo.”

For the most part, Dulay does well as Juan/Erwin, but holds back in some highly charged dramatic moments that require more urgency and commitment from him. The other notable portrayal is turned in by Richard Quan, who plays the sympathetic undercover agent in the finale’s good cop-bad cop scenario.

Commentary

Jay weaves a clear and briskly paced tale. He puts his storytelling dexterity and visual flair to good use as he subtly shifts from one social commentary to another. However, the needlessly protracted dance sequence could have used some trimming.

Moreover, the provocative scenes he conjures up onscreen won’t sit well with conservative viewers, but they do come with a cautionary message—and a warning: Scenes that depict violence or graphic sex are never a pretty sight.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


|