Cock fight anyone?
But the title in Lee Meilly, Imee Marcos and Nelson Caguila’s “Pintakasi” straddles two different realms, the aforementioned cockfight and a compound term that puts emphasis on the craving to paint (“Pinta Kasi!”)!
Both entities figure prominently as metaphors in the existence of DJ (John Wayne Sace) who moves to Isla Pulo, an island dump site littered with scraps and metropolitan junk. In the island, he befriends pretty Josie (Erich Gonzales) who only dreams of singing. His is to paint. Tikboy (JM de Guzman), the self-appointed gang leader (“mayor”) isn’t too happy with their friendship. After all, Tikboy knew Josie first and has proprietary claim on the damsel. This romantic rivalry eventually extends among their friends now caught between the race for supremacy. Though DJ is reluctant to reciprocate the dare, he is left with no option when Josie’s little brother becomes pawn. The job: stealing shabu (methamphetamine) in a warehouse. Would DJ be up for the task?
The mixed media film reminds me of a Taiwanese film – Chi Y. Lee’s “Chocolate Rap” which peculiarly combines Chinese drama and street dance. “Pintakasi” ups the ante by mixing poverty porn with 2D animation, music and dance! When DJ and Tikboy dive into a musical brawl, a hip hop duet called “Kanta, Pinta” involving rap and dance, I was in a trance. It was an impetuous artistic move that surprisingly embraced the moment, I was tempted to stand and do a shimmy. LOL
The experiment of introducing 2D animation is a bit distracting, but its nonetheless welcome as it obviously alludes to the vision of DJ as a painter in a strange new world (DJ came from the province) riddled with drug peddlers, snatchers, grandmothers (Boots Anson Roa) who likewise run drugs.
John Wayne Sace skillfully essays JM with a polished performance. He’s the new guy in town who dreams of better things for the neighborhood. He’s a symbol of redemption in a domicile where dreaming is nothing but folly. Erich Gonzales once again displays a subjugated emotionality that renders her performance natural and affecting and a presence that ignites the screen. JM de Guzman, who looks stocky, is menacing as the jealous gangster. Others in the cast do well: Alwyn Uytingco as Bogart (Tikboy’s ambitious second-in-command); William Martinez (playing a cop), Giselle Sanchez, Alcris Galura, et. al. Rumors say it took them two years - or even more - to complete, thus a caboodle of directors were credited. If only it pulled a dash of fortitude for an even more satisfying finish.
John Wayne Sace and co-stars
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, producer and co-director, and her star Erich Gonzales.
John Wayne Sace (DJ) and Erich Gonzales (Josie)
John Wayne Sace
JM de Guzman
JM de Guzman plays the vicious Tikboy