Lav Diaz: one of the great film-makers to have ever graced the Philippine Cinema.
I would not claim knowledge of Lav Diaz and his films – I have not braved any of his lengthy outputs. Nonetheless, many have been written to word his genius, his beautiful defiance to the conventions of film-making, the contemplative nature of his works, his poignant artistry. His body of work may not be mainstream but is certainly among the best at various international film festivals. Perhaps, any of my hard-selling attempts would do no justice to the greatness that is Lav Diaz, so I’ll halt here; his credentials will do the job better.
Then imagine Diaz weaving a Dostoevsky-esque kind of film.
Enter Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (North, The End of History). The film, which premiered at Cannes Film Festival early this year, finally finds its way back, via the 15th Cinemanila International Film Festival slated this December, to where it belongs: the Philippines. While write-ups boast of affinity of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment to Diaz’ Norte, the latter is not an adaptation of the former. However, Norte was fused heavily with the influence from the Russian novel, thus, resulting in a splendid film conferred with great reviews at Cannes.
Now it’s our time to behold such a masterpiece. With the Metro Manila Film Festival about to linger in weeks’ time, it’s just appropriate that we are rendered a genuine treat far-flung from stereotypes of the Filipino Christmas movies.
There are days when you just want to vamoose to non-existence: no lines, no circles, no shapes, no hallucinations, no realities, no dreams, no expectations, no hopes, no longings, no emotions.
This is not insomnia, but a decision to stay awake, away from dreams.
This is not insomnia, but a desire to live and not escape.
This is not insomnia.
Yolanda may have left the Archipelago, but that does not mean a sigh of relief.
The massive destruction of the super typhoon seems to be the worst in our recorded history. News from the multimedia brims with sad and depressing stories from our brothers and sisters in the Central Philippines. Houses were destroyed, leaving Filipinos homeless; debris was all over; sturdy trees were uprooted; roads remained impassable – undoubtedly a depiction of chaos. Videos on TV and the internet flash cadavers strewn on roads. Many were orphaned; parents cried in grief because of the unexpected demise of their children; certainly, lives were taken. Perhaps, one may surmise that Filipinos may not survive this ordeal.
However, I choose to believe otherwise.
Many times calamities struck our land. We suffered. We were in pain. We were tested. Who could forget Ondoy, which submerged Metro Manila and the nearby provinces in torrential floods? How about the 7.7 magnitude of earthquake in 1990 which devastated Luzon and destroyed roads, houses, and buildings, taking the lives of friends and families? These are just some of the catastrophes that scourged our land in the past decades. Surprisingly, Filipinos managed to emerge from these trying times with dignity and hope. Through our nature of helping one another, we were able to stand tall amid the seemingly helpless state we were thrown in. Little by little, we progressed, regaining what was lost. Most of all, with faith in God, we conquered these difficulties.
Now, prayers have been and still are uttered. Help from the international community has been overwhelming – we couldn’t thank them enough. Now, we just have to wait and pray and pray and continue in helping our fellow Filipinos in the Visayas in ways we can. And sooner, we will hear not only stories of grief and suffering but also of survival and courage. We will not anymore shed tears of sorrow but of happiness and inspiration because finally, Filipinos have found themselves again with smiles arched on their faces.
I can’t wait for that day.
As the last scene suddenly transitioned to a canvas of black, while the ear candy “Indak” by Up Dharma Down started playing on the background, I knew I would run out of words. And indeed I was left mute for some surreal seconds. Words could be limitless, but right at that moment, words abandoned me. And I loved it.
SANA DATI is what a romance drama should be. It’s honest. It’s brave. It’s intelligent. It’s heartfelt. Most of all, it’s not corny.
There are millions
of stars in the night sky.
I wish I could pluck one
to wrap in my hands.
And perhaps –
yes, only perhaps –
I could remember