The first major epic in the oeuvre of Lav Diaz (b. 1958) is a powerful contemporary portrait of the Filipino diaspora in New York and New Jersey: A Filipino-born detective investigates the murder of Hanzel Harana, a Filipino teenager, and must plod along with tenacity to break through the wall of silence surrounding the boy’s death. The trail of the designer drug “shabu” runs through the film like a bloody trickle, but Diaz delegates the accounts of crime, domestic violence, and the discontent in the souls of his characters to the background for the most part, instead relying on the hypnotic portrait of a decaying life as a symbol of alienation from home. The more we learn about the protagonists, the more complex, intangible, and contradictory our image of them becomes.Read More »
Lav Diaz – Batang West Side AKA West Side Avenue (2001)Lav Diaz2001-2010ArthouseDramaPhilippines
Lav Diaz – Batang West Side AKA West Side Avenue (2001)2001-2010ArthouseCrimeLav DiazPhilippines
A Filipino teenager (Yul Servo) is shot to death on the sidewalk of New Jersey, USA. An investigation starts into his death. His family members and friends are interviewed. Along the way, we find out not only more about him but about the community of Filipinos in America in general, including the destructive effect of the drug “shabu” on its youth. The detective who handles the case (Joel Torre) also has his own personal demons to settle with his violent past.Read More »
Mike De Leon – Bayaning Third World (2000)1991-2000ArthouseMike De LeonPhilippines
Two filmmakers were obsessed with doing a film about Jose Rizal, the Filipino national hero. Their effort to explain the mysteries in the hero’s life lead them to confront the past and its characters.
This odyssey towards the illusive truth show us their face encounters with Dona Lolay, Rizal’s mother; Paciano, the brother; Josephine Bracken, the controversial “dulce extranjera”; Narcisa, the understanding elder sister who holds the key to the retraction controversy; and Padre Balaguet, the jesuit who writes about Rizal’s final hours.Read More »