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Lav Diaz – Cinema on its own time

A retrospective co-presented with 24 images, Hors champ and the Cinémathèque québécoise, in collaboration with Conseil des arts du Canada, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Conseil des arts de Montréal, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines in celebration of the 100 Years of Philippine Cinema.

Cinéma Moderne & Cinémathèque québécoise

8 films + Discussion

The impressive films of Filipino auteur Lav Diaz make him one of the great filmmakers of the 21st century. Considered the spiritual father of the new Filipino cinema, he has made more than 15 features since the early 2000s, most of them epic in length; it is a body of work of exceptional aesthetic rigour. His films immerse us, unflinchingly, in the collective traumas of the Filipino people, who have experienced multiple calamities in the form of Spanish colonization, Japanese occupation and American rule, the ultra-violent dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos – echoed in the current, brutal Duterte regime – and countless natural disasters.

The radical stretching of runtimes in Diaz’s films has a three-fold political purpose: total freedom from industry constraints; exploring a sensibility grounded in Filipinos’ Malaysian cultural heritage and indifference to the monetary value of time – a trait crushed by centuries of colonial exploitation and Western capitalism; and physically confronting the viewer with the burden of suffering carried by his people. Filming with natural light, refusing to edit scenes and often shooting in black and white with modest equipment, Diaz has created an idiosyncratic aesthetic that takes us to the Philippines’ neglected spaces – jungles, slums, and cities and islands far from the capital. This partial retrospective includes eight films. It is an excellent opportunity to discover some of Diaz’s most important works, at the Cinéma Moderne and the Cinémathèque québécoise.

Screenings at Cinémathèque québécoise

Saturday, June 1st, 1pm* :
Evolution of a Filipino Family
Philippines / 2004 / Tagalog with English subtitles / 625 min
An intimate epic made with uncompromising and austere seriousness that patiently and methodically observes the collapse and hopeful revival of a poor farming clan. An important date in the history of cinema.

Saturday, June 8, 7:30pm :
Butterflies Have No Memories
Philippines, South Korea / 2009 / Tagalog and English with English subtitles / 58 min
Longer version of a short film originally made for the Jeonju Festival in Korea. The story is set in a remote spot in the Philippines. The economic crisis has taken over and a group of men doesn’t do much apart from drink. Until an enchanting Canadian woman arrives.

Saturday, June 22, 2:30pm :
Death in the Land of Encantos
Philippines / 2007 / Tagalog with English subtitles / 540 min
A Filipino poet hearkens back to his village after spending years in Europe. Horrified to discover that the community has been buried under landslides in the wake of Typhoon Durian in 2006, he begins wandering through the countryside, reconnecting with friends, lovers and family members whose lives teeter on the brink of destruction.

Friday, June 28, 2:30 pm*
Melancholia
Philippines / 2008 / Tagalog with English subtitles / 450 min
An eight-hour meditation on the maddening persistence of sadness in this world, divided into three parts following a prostitute, a pimp and a nun who wander the countryside. An untold number of persons have disappeared in the Philippines over the years, before, during and after the Marcos dictatorship. Melancholia is devoted to the grief and search for meaning over such disappearances, told across a vivid array of Philippine society. The film won the Orizzonti Award at the 2008 Venice Film Festival.

* Director in attendance