Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
In the intensity of their battle Tikboy (JM De Guzman) morphs into a demon-like character. He is complete with blood red skin, gigantic horns, spikes on shoulders and elbows and a samurai sword. DJ (John Wayne Sace) is a humanoid figure with an eagle head and talons for hands he has bright white skin. Their swords meet with a deafening clang. The hatred and strength of the winged creatures shoot both of them into the sky where they go on fighting.
Tikboy and DJ are just ordinary slum dwellers, fighting each other in an everyday battle for survival. But in “Pintakasi” they become something else, although it is animation they are representations of their characters and their state of mind.
Art becomes more ‘real’ than live action showing who and what they are inside, using colors and shapes to amplify emotions. There’s a seamless integration of live action and animation. They fit together in Pintakasi in a way never before seen in Phil. cinema. All of this in a backdrop of Pinoy rap and acrobatic dance moves from the premiere hip hop group of the country: the Phil. All Stars.
Don’t fail to catch the screenings at Robinson’s Galleria from December 19-21, 2011. The epic movie is part of the New Wave or independent section of this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. Just thinking about these things in one movie makes it sound like a mish mash of elements that don’t belong together. But everything works on a conceptual level. That’s when you realize why it took so long to make. A lot had to be done to make it seamless both on the technical and creative aspects.
A lot of credit belongs to animation director Neslon Caliguia. And in this case it was truly a team effort from CREAM (Creative Media and Film Society of the Phil.), an umbrella organization that includes animators, film makers, graphic artists and other creative people. Their collective efforts resulted in a harmonious visual feast. Members from different schools likeCollegeofSt. Benildeand St. Scholastica volunteered to help with “Pintakasi.” According to producer Gov. Imee Marcos, “The premiere of the film is the fruit of all of their labors.” She also revealed that a graphic novel may also be published from the art work that has already been produced from the movie.
If there’s a weakness, it would be on the theme of poverty that is often used in independent film. But asCanneswinning director Brillante Mendoza himself put it, “We only make films about the truth that surrounds us.” As good as the animation portions are their importance can only be as good as the performance of the cast. And they definitely delivered. When it was shot they were a cast of budding young stars. The 3 year period between shooting dates and post production was unusually long for a local project. Now they have become more established actors and actresses in their own right.
JM De Guzman for example, is almost unrecognizable. He plays the vicious Tikboy who has a far bigger and muscular frame and a skin head hairstyle. He inhabits the villain role easily and with skill. JM had another big role this year in “Babae Sa Septic Tank,” where he looks like the boy next door. He gained a lot of praise as the practical producer trying to work with hot head director Kean Cipriano while casting superstar Eugene Domingo, as herself. “..Septic Tank” is the official Phil. entry to the upcoming Oscar Awards.
Erich Gonzalez as the lovely Josie is aptly nicknamed Diyosa or goddess. If there was another inaccuracy is having a perfect face such as hers cast as a daeng (dried fish) vendor. Still it is necessary as she attracts both Tikboy and DJ which leads to a deadly rivalry. She acts well as the sensitive and kinder side of the slums. Both Erich and JM were Dulaang UP alumni, a well respected theater company.
The animation literally goes into the story through DJ played by Jon Wayne Sace. He is an artist who uses his art to help and make the people’s lives around him better. The lead role for Sace is a chance for more people to appreciate his acting abilities. A debut performance comes from Winryll Banaag as Apol, the crippled brother of Josie. Audiences may be shocked to find Boots Anson Roa as Lola, the unsavory brains behind a criminal syndicate. She is as convincing as the other roles we often see her in, a benign mother or wife. Alchris Galura was a scene stealer as Bugoy with a host of one liners. He also stars in TV5’s “PS I Love You” with Gabby Concepcion and Dina Bonnevie.
If there’s one film you should watch this MMFF this would be it. No other entry showcases Pinoy artistry, dance and music than Pintakasi. And as the main character discovers, when you have the courage to pursue your own dream, it’s also possible to help people along the way.