Pink Halo-Halo is easily one of the biggest surprises of 2010. Originally an entry for the first ever Directors Showcase Category of the 2010 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, and winner for Best Editing, it is surprising because while it is one of the most touching, direct, honest, thought-provoking, and best acted films by anyone this year, it is also one of the most overlooked film in the competition.
Unlike most war movies, what we have with Pink Halo-Halo is a slow-paced story of innocence being taken away from a child as his soldier-father battles it out in Mindanao. The limp-wristed Natoy (Paolo Constantino) copes with the absence of his soldier-father, by playing with his best friend, Aldrin, and flying kites. In the center of it all, is his mother Sonia (Angeli Bayani), who is pretty much left with the unpleasant and grim realities of provincial life. Her mother-in-law dislikes her, and money can be very hard-earned in the impoverished Masbate.
It is obvious that the director, Joselito Altarejós, disapproves of the war in Mindanao. His film is clouded with a sense of dread. In the farewell scene where the father, Lino (Allen Dizon) takes his final trip to Mindanao. His wife and child watch as the ship slowly drifts away. Altarejós resents the war, but manages to avoid condemning it outright. The director instead lets us focus in on the conflict as seen through the eyes of the child, who watches unflinchingly as the realities of the war gets told simply in a school play acted in by his uncle, Mating (Mark Fabillar).
Pink Halo-Halo is a bold statement on the condition of the human soul during conflict. It is brave, not overly sentimental, and relentless in its dramatization of a dangerous reality. Paolo Constantino, Allen Dizon, Angeli Bayani and Mark Fabillar are all able actors, and the slow-moving tragedy is presented in subtle but beautifully detailed direction in the realist style of Joselito Altarejós.
It has received a citation from the Cinemalaya Kids Treats as Jury’s Selected Film for Children which describes the film as “a sensitive portrayal of a painful reality.” Suitable for all ages as it got a G rating from the MTRCB.
A beautiful film; not to be missed by anyone. It opens on August 11, 2010 at the following selected cinemas: Robinsons Galleria, SM Megamall, SM Southmall, Market Place Mandaluyong, Isetann Recto and SM Cebu.