Lav Diaz – Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (2012)

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With its depiction of cruelty and woe, Florentina Hubaldo, CTE is one of Diaz’s darkest films, the third of a trilogy about trauma and its aftermath (after Death in the Land of Encantos and Melancholia).The title character is a woman held captive by her father who has forced her into a life of prostitution. Her story is intertwined with that of a couple of fortune hunters digging for buried treasure in a narrative scheme that is revealed only gradually. With chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have received multiple head injuries, the film’s title becomes a diagnosis of the physiological reasons for Florentina’s mental decline. She herself is clearly an allegorical stand-in for the long-suffering Filipino people. The film’s brutality is a cry of anger at 300 years of colonial plunder and misrule. Continue reading

Lav Diaz – The Day Before the End (2016)

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In the year 2050, the Philippines braces for the coming of the fiercest storm ever to hit the country. And as the wind and waters start to rage, poets wander the streets.

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Lav Diaz, who just won the Berlinale Silver Bear for his 8-hour film Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery), will be in competition with the world premiere of his 16-minute short film Ang araw bago ang wakas, in which passages from Shakespeare are recited by ordinary people on the backdrop of a nocturnal city in the Philippines that’s bracing for a raging tempest. Continue reading

Lav Diaz – Mula sa kung ano ang noon AKA From What Is Before (2014)

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Synopsis: The Philippines, 1972. Mysterious things are happening in a remote barrio. Wails are heard from the forest, cows are hacked to death, a man is found bleeding to death at the crossroad and houses are burned. Ferdinand E. Marcos announces Proclamation No. 1081 putting the entire country under Martial Law. Continue reading

Lav Diaz – Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (2012)

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Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. A variant of the condition, dementia pugilistica (DP), is primarily associated with boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in American football, ice hockey, professional wrestling and other contact sports, who have experienced head trauma, resulting in characteristic degeneration of brain tissue and the accumulation of tau protein. Individuals with CTE may show symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression which may appear within months of the trauma or many decades later. (Wikipedia)
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Lav Diaz – Hesus rebolusyonaryo AKA Hesus the Revolutionary (2002)

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A military junta has taken power on the Philippines. Their takeover is fought by Moslem separatists, communists and rival military. In the middle of the chaos there is Hesus Mariano: academic, musician, poet and sniper. Politically tinted science-fiction action drama with an attitude.

It’s the year 2011 and the Philippines has been taken over by a military junta; the leader, a General Racellos, wields tight control over the country’s single TV station, radio station and newspaper. Racellos’ power is being challenged by Muslim secessionists, by the Communist movement and by a rival military group. In the middle of this turmoil stands Hesus Mariano (a quietly volatile Mark Anthony Fernandez) – scholar, musician, sharpshooter, poet, warrior. Jesus the Revolutionary was made on a shoestring budget (around five million pesos / 75,000 euro) and shot in roughly twenty days, but the ideas teeming in it are enough to fill a half-dozen lesser films. Except for the deserted streets and spray-painted graffiti, you won’t see any evidence of progress, of advanced technology, any sign at all that it’s almost a decade into tomorrow; if anything, things appear to have gotten worse… which is probably precisely Diaz’s point. It’s an action flick with an attitude, a political satire with a philosophical bent, a science-fiction drama with a committed political stance. The film mixes the influences of George Orwell, Jose Rizal and video games, using the future as a prismatic lens to focus on the follies of the present. (NV) Continue reading