NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY to Kick Off Film Society's Lav Diaz Retrospective
NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY is a careful rethinking of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment shot in blazing color, this tour de force offers a masterful recapitulation of director Lav Diaz's longstanding obsessions: cultural memory, national guilt, and the origin of evil. The wounds and defeats of Filipino history loom large in each of Diaz's films. An official selection of the 51st New York Film Festival, Norte, the End of History opens exclusively for one week at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on Friday, June 20, 2014. The director will be in-person for opening weekend, and is also available for interviews.
In the northern Philippine province of Luzon, a law-school dropout commits a horrific double murder; a gentle family man takes the fall and receives a life sentence, leaving behind a wife and two kids. At their best, Lav Diaz's marathon movies reveal just how much other films leave out. In his devastating twelfth feature (and at four-plus hours, one of his shortest), the broad canvas accommodates both the irreducible facts of individual experience and the cosmic sweep of time and space. Fabian, Norte's tortured antihero (superbly played by Sid Lucero), may well be his most indelible creation: a haunting embodiment of the dead ends of ideology. A Cinema Guild release.
Director - Lav Diaz: Written By - Rody Vera, Lav Diaz; Produced By - Moira Lang 9Raymond Lee); Executive Producers - Kayan, Jessica Zafra, Origin8 Media; Cinematography - Larry Manda; Editing - Lav Diaz; Story - Rody Vera, Michiko Yamamoto, Raymond Lee;
Philippines/Not Rated/250m/DCP/Tagalog with English subtitles/Stereo 5.1/Color/Anamorphic 2.40:1 (scope)/2013
TIME REGAINED: THE FILMS OF LAV DIAZ
"Lav Diaz's astonishing films are unlike those of any other director working today. Their scale is unsurpassed, and in Diaz's hands, duration is both a marker of commitment and an instrument of empathy. We are delighted to be able to present all his major films at a rate that does justice to their richness and complexity-one at a time, over a period of several months, in the interest of making them as accessible as possible to the public they unquestionably deserve."-Dennis Lim, the Film Society's Director of Programming
The Film Society of Lincoln Center will also present the most complete American retrospective to date of this major, criminally underseen Filipino master, timed to the release of his latest film, Norte, the End of History. The series launches with a rare screening of his seven-and-a-half-hour Melancholia (2008) and continues with one screening a month between August 2014 and February 2015.
The protean beauty and moral complexities of Lav Diaz's films are matched only by their heroic running times: six hours is a common length, nine hours to be expected. They combine a devout belief in the power of bearing witness to the ebb and flow of quotidian moments with a poetic sense of historical time, the massive and warring abstract forces (governmental, societal, philosophical, spiritual) that conspire to shape daily life.
Diaz is the elder statesman of the New Philippine cinema and his films are haunted by his country's past. The wounds and defeats of Filipino history loom large in his work, and their broad canvases accommodate both the irreducibility of individual experience and the sweep of time and space. Few, if any, filmmakers have so powerfully shown that cinema is, to quote Andrei Tarkovsky, "sculpting in time."
As Diaz himself has said: "I would go to any extent in my art to fathom the mystery of humankind's existence. I want to understand death. I want to understand solitude. I want to understand struggle. I want to understand the philosophy of a growing flower in the middle of a swamp."
SCHEDULE & DESCRIPTIONS
Lav Diaz, Philippines, 2008, Digital Projection, 450m
Tagalog and English with English subtitles
Winner of the Best Feature prize in the Horizons sidebar at the Venice Film Festival, this contemplative and nerve-wracking drama of personal reinvention and guerrilla warfare in the Philippines examines the fault lines between action and impact, how one intends to affect the world and the change (or lack of) that actually occurs. What starts as the story of a nun, a pimp, and a prostitute and their role-playing games expands and deepens to become an elegy for the power and imaginative vision of radical politics in an age of claustrophobia and reactionary cynicism, enlivened by strains of black comedy and noir-heavy fatalism. Diaz packs all this into his most complicated narrative structure yet, a soulful meditation on the difficulties of daily life and the petty delusions necessary to withstand the pain of it. The ailment of the film's title seems to coat the stark black-and-white images themselves as Diaz's characters attempt to combat their persistent feelings of meaninglessness and the enveloping boredom that only hours of make-believe, and sometimes a little human contact, can even begin to fend off. Courtesy of the Austrian Film Museum.
*Sunday, June 22 - 1PM
NO JULY SCREENING
Death in the Land of Encantos
Lav Diaz, Philippines, 2007, Digital Projection, 540m
Filipino, Bicolano, English, and Tagalog with English subtitles
Shot in stark black-and-white in the immediate wake of Super Typhoon Durian, which caused widespread destruction in the Philippines in 2006, Diaz's eighth feature is an engrossing account of several people responding to the aftermath as they navigate the ravaged Bicol region. Benjamin Agustan (Roeder Camanag), a leftist poet, returns to his home village after years of exile in Russia to mourn the loss of loved ones and to connect with old friends. Diaz situates his fully imagined characters in a devastated landscape that he has likened to Pompeii, and throughout poses questions from off-camera to actual residents of the area. Combining documentary and fiction, as well as the concrete and the cosmic, this is one of Diaz's most powerful films, a profound meditation on loss and survival. Winner of a jury prize at the 2007 Venice Film Festival. Courtesy of the Austrian Film Museum.
*Sunday, August 24 - 11AM
Additional information on the below films will be available shortly:
Century of Birthing
*Sunday, September 21
Batang West Side
*Sunday, October 19
Florentina Hubaldo, CTE
*Sunday, November 30
*Sunday, December 21
Evolution of a Filipino Family
*Saturday, January 24 and Sunday, January 25