Jonathan Romney, Vienna IFF wrote:
A relatively concise example of Lav Diaz’s expansive essays on Filipino history and imagination, HISTORY OF HA is a period drama set in 1957, although Diaz is characteristically cavalier about authenticity, with modern wheelie suitcases visible and references to algorithms sprinkled across the dialogue. But the past is always visible in the present in his films, and vice versa. This is often expressed by the idea of living in the wake of something, in this case, the death of the Philippines’ then president Ramon Magsaysay in a plane crash.
Hernando is a disillusioned socialist poet and ventriloquist who returns home from abroad and retreats into silence, leaving his dialogue – and the occasional poetic monologue – to be spoken by his puppet Ha. The pair find themselves escorting a nun and a sex worker to a port from which they plan to sail to a nearby gold island, and where they tangle with a literal “gatekeeper” – the port’s exploitative boss.
A quest narrative about compassion, redemption, and the necessity – and cost – of personal and public expression, this is a characteristic Diaz landscape drama, given an uncanny spin by the figure of the ventriloquist as a silent artist.
3.41GB | 4h 36m | 1920×1080 | mkv