HAPPYLAND (written and directed by Jim Libiran) is an inspiring film, which has a moving story that deeply touched my heart. It is a Filipino football story which was based on true events, and it has truly shown great Filipino values in the film: from the great ties of the characters to their families, friends and even in their passion, to its intense poverty experiences and the ways on how most Filipinos cope with the difficulties they face in life.
The character of Fr. Jose touched me for he really believed that Filipinos – even the most disadvantaged or poor can change for the better. In this case, he used football to transform the lives of the boys living in the trash dump (“hapilan”). I was touched when he said that the true trophies of these Futkaleros are themselves, for they are the real gold and treasure of the country and nation.
The whole Futkal team inspired me with their positive characteristics. They believed in themselves and held on what their dreams are; even if they were faced by several different downfalls and shortcomings, they were still able to see things in a unique way –they saw their dreams and they did not hesitate to chase after them. They never failed to seek and seize every opportunity that goes along their journey.
I think the shots taken in the film were wonderful. The very location of the characters (both geographical and social) and their collective thrust towards a definite but difficult goal, excites powerful yet inherent conflicts, thus mounting dramatic possibilities on many levels. These dramatic conflicts are neatly placed into the visual texture and feel of Tondo’s landscape and the suspenseful beat of the football matches –a mix that made that made the entire film both contrapuntal and complex to the senses.
Over all, for me, Happyland sets steadfastly on a simple and candid narrative composition. It may not be a completely beautiful slick film for all, but it definitely gets an A for advocacy. 🙂