I cannot imagine Pink Halo-Halo being directed by anyone but Joselito Altarejos. Altarejos, who has made a name for himself in Philippine cinema as one of headliners of the burgeoning and bursting gay genre with such films like Ang Lalake sa Parola (The Man in the Lighthouse, 2007), Ang Lihim ni Antonio (Antonio's Secret, 2008) and Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan (The Game of Juan's Life, 2009). The film, about a boy (Paolo Constantino) whose father (Allen Dizon), a soldier, is detailed to war-torn Mindanao to keep the peace during a special elections, is inspired from Altarejos' own childhood, one that has been marked by the loss of a father, also a soldier, who was killed in the service of the country.
Set in Altarejos' native
Life is strictly observed
from the boy's perspective, a perspective that is intriguingly shaped by a
blossoming affinity for feminine interests. This intentionally limited point of
view that Altarejos insists on enunciates the sheen of safety and tenderness
that is rightfully reserved for the boy. Given that, when these adult matters
forcibly invade the boy's innocent world, such as when the boy finds out the
fatal predicament of his father in
Much of the film is fueled not necessarily by spectacle or technical knowhow but by a more appreciable earnestness and simplicity that is quite rare in cinema nowadays. As a matter of fact, Pink Halo-Halo is hardly a perfect film. The film's infrequent indulgences, from the gratingly saccharine musical score to the occasional directorial hiccups (a far-too-obvious cue here and there), are too apparent to be left unnoticed. However, on the sole basis of poignancy by way of its inherent honesty and sincerity in telling a story that is based on the director's childhood experiences, the film is a marked revelation of what Altarejos, whose previous works' merits seem to be limited to queer interests and nothing else, can do with the medium without necessarily losing himself in the process of expanding his artistic horizons. Pink Halo-Halo, notwithstanding its homosexual undertones and its distinct local color, speaks a universal language that is indifferent to gender, creed, and nationality.
(Cross-published on Lessons from the School of Inattention.)