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.