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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 9, 2018

Unlike His Previous Films That Won Awards Abroad, We're Sad Lav Diaz' New Film, 'Panahon Ng Halimaw', Failed To Make Waves At The Berlin Filmfest

WE’RE SAD that Lav Diaz’ last entry, “Panahon ng Halimaw” (Season of the Devil), didn’t win any awards and failed to make waves at the recent Berlin International Filmfest where it was an official entry. A friend from abroad sent us reviews of the movie and the critics are not as impressed as before. One critic called the four-hour movie an endurance test and made fun of his declaration that his work is a rock opera. Here’s a review we want to share here with you:

“When news surfaced that Lav Diaz’ latest film was a self-billed “rock opera” titled ’Season of the Devil’, you’d have been forgiven for thinking the prolific Filipino maximalist had made a drastic departure into proggy 1970s Ken Russell territory. As it turns out, Diaz’s definitions of both “rock” and “opera” are as idiosyncratic as everything else about his super-sized filmmaking. Dwelling solemnly on the lives and communities destroyed under the Marcos Dictatorship, and performed entirely in incantatory, instrument-free song that won’t be giving Lin-Manuel Miranda any sleepless nights, this uniquely onerous experiment may ostensibly be the filmmaker’s first musical, but its mood, aesthetic and historical outlook all place it unmistakably in Diaz’s creative universe: call it “Lav Lav Land,” if you will. It’s hard to see any amount of festival honors sparking commercial interest in a project this oppressive and repetitive by design, posing some challenges even to the Diaz faithful; specialist streaming outlets are best placed to honor “Devil’s” to-the-rafters political ferocity and undeniable singularity of vision.”

Maybe Lav should try to make something more accessible by average viewers like us next time, like his award-winning “Kriminal ng Barrio Concepcion” which we really enjoyed then.