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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.

Jun 7, 2018

“Panahon Ng Halimaw" Is An Art House Film That Is A Test Of Patience And Was Quickly Withdrawn From Theaters

''PANAHON NG HALIMAW” is Lav Diaz’ latest film. It’s billed as a rock opera but it won’t send you toe-tapping as the songs are more of redundant chants like the local “pasyon” and have no musical accompaniment whatsover. It’s all part of his own creative universe and we know that his films are lionized abroad, but for us, so sorry to say that even though we try so hard to appreciate them, they’re just all funerally slow and boring.

They’re all a test of patience, with the camera often just stationary and not moving at all. The point is usually made at the start of the film and then it drags on and on and on to kingdom come. The story of “Panahon” is set during the Martial Law era in the 70s when the military terrorizes a small village, affecting the lives of a doctor, Lorena (Shaine Magdayao), who just wants to help the villagers, and her husband, a poet, Hugo (Piolo Pascual), who comes looking for her after she goes missing.

The movie seems to have been made without a full script as the flow of the narrative that jumps from one train of thought to another can be quite confusing. The editing was not able to save it and the editor must have been as perplexed in putting the discordant pieces together.

We tried watching it in full in Trinoma but although patience is said to be a virtue, there comes a point in every viewer’s life where you know you just have had enough already. Tama na po. Sobra na. Stop torturing yourself na. So just like his other very length films before, halfway through, we felt we’re about to go insane so we stood up and left.

Pasencia na po, hindi talaga kami mahilig sa art films that do not fully build up to anything that is
truly meaningfully and cohesively artistic for us. We’ve seen some art films naman po na okay na rin, but this one just didn’t make any connection with us. No wonder it was quickly withdrawn from Trinoma due to lack of viewer support.

 Sorry po kung mababaw lang po kami. Sa “Citizen Jake” nga po, in the end, mas naaliw kami sa malapalengkerang awayan ng director at lead actor nito kaysa sa very political message ng pelikula na nagkataong kahawig din po ng sa “Panahon ng Halimaw.” Mas naging “panahon ni Citizen Jake” kaysa ng “halimaw” na hindi naman pasok sa banga.