Pink Halo-Halo (2010)

A Film by Joselito Altarejos

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Philippines 2010
Filipino with English subtitles       
78 minutes/Digital HD, Stereo/Colour

Director/Writer:  Joselito Altarejos
Cast: Allen Dizon, Angeli Bayani, Dexter Doria, Mark Fabillar & Paolo Constantino
Director of Photography: Pao Santiago Pangan
Editor: Chuck Gutierrez
Music & Sound:  Richard Gonzales
Production Design:  Tatoy delos Santos
Creative Consultant:  Armando “Bing” Lao
Associate Producer:  May-i Fabros
Co-Producers:  Babyruth Villarama & Chuck Gutierrez
Producers:  Markk Perete & Joselito Altarejos
Production:  Cinemalaya Foundation, BEYONDtheBOX with Voyage Studios & Film Development Council of the Philippines

Premiered at the Cinemalaya Independent Film festival

at the Cultural center of the Philippines July 2010

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Natoy (Paolo Constantino) is just like any other child. He finds joy and excitement in the simplest of things — especially in eating halo-halo filled with pink gelatin and red sago at the local halo-halo store owned by his godmother, Bing (Dexter Doria); and playing with his uncle, Mating (Mark Fabillar).

Things change suddenly when, as he and his mother Sonia (Angeli Bayani) are watching television, a news report about the ongoing war in Mindanao (southern part of the Philippines) shows footage of a badly wounded soldier waiting for rescue. That soldier — almost bleeding to death, is his father, Corporal Lino Bolante (Allen Dizon).
As far away as the war, this story does not just show how the war in Mindanao robs a child of his innocence, but also shows the shadows of the wars that Filipino homes confront every day.

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Finalist, Directors Showcase
6th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, 2010

Best Editing, Chuck Gutierrez
6th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, 2010

Jury’s Selected Film for Children

6th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, 2010

Official Selection
Hawaii Filipino Film Festival 2010

Asian Connection Section
CPH PIX 2011

World Cinema Section
East End Film Festival 2011

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Thirty-five years ago, I lost my father in the conflict in Mindanao.  He was a soldier. Pink Halo-Halo would just like to add its small voice amidst the din of voices calling for genuine peace in Mindanao.  When a Filipino dies because of the conflict in Mindanao, a family loses a sibling, a spouse or a parent.

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“Jay Altarejos’ most restraint film and possibly his masterpiece.  What I love about the film is the incative use of celluloid aesthetics rendered in digital medium..  Its cinema verité style, common now in digital films, provides a loose structure of the filmand its nuanced shots, shots wherein the character’s action are of the most banal quality, accumulates with realism and wit, it can be placed as one of the prime example of digital realist cinema of today.  The use of wide-angle lensoffers depth and Altarejos’ authorial presence, being a semi-authobiographical film about his childhood, remarkably lit up the impressionist look of the film, it piquantly reminds me of Assays and Hansen-Love.”

-Adrian Dollente Mendizabal, Auditoire

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“Even in detailing the specifics of personal and familial grief, Altarejos does so with admirable restraint and control.  That Altarejos was able to handle the pain and heartbreak with hardly any artifice or flair is a testament to both his passion for the subject matter and his maturity as filmmaker,”

-Oggs Cruz, twitchfilm

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“We know the feeling created by ‘Pink Halo-Halo’ from the Turkish film ‘Honey’, but Altarejos’ film is far from being laboured: it simply shows how this young boy lets himself be enchanted by even the most everyday things in his village, and how he loves the toxically pink drink of the title.  The awfulness is something we others add to the equation.  At our own expense.”

  • CPH PIX 2010

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“It’s a terribly sophisticated insight into our country’s precipitous decline into a culture of violence.”

- Philbert Dy, clickthecity

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“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 soldiers’s casket at the wharf.  It is without histrionics, just the resignation there’s no escape in the tragedy.  It is even without mood shots with nature very much incorporated into the scene.”

- Edgar Cruz, The Daily Tribune

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“Pink Halo-Halo evokes grief as it encroaches on the mundane, as inescapable as night turning into day.  Over halo-halo, son and mother hears of an encounter in Basilan, A war so removed from their lives, news delivered through thr grainy of a television set lendingan unreal cast to mourning.  Tragedy is often received with disbelief.  The void between knowing and proof, between the image of a bloodied father and the arrival of his cold body is met with quiet, severe sorrow.  This community knows bereavement and confronts its onslaught with courage.  Prayers are said amidst the drone of the vening news, tears are silently shed and they face theinevitable arrival of the box from Basilan draped with the national flag.  Their loss is ours as well. Yet the film avoids the histrionics that beset the depiction of grief and despair, reminding us that like heat and rain, misery and joy make life in equal measure.  This fact is presented beyond artifice, a a contained, measured tranquility prevails throughout the film.  No doubt, the film owes this to its eloquent handling of time and its thorough knowledge of place.  Little is forced and when we witness these (such as the news of impending death and the image of the wounded father/soldier calling out to son across television), we know these constructions are deliberately chosen metaphors.”

-  Tessa Maria Guazon, Young Critics Circle Film Desk

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