Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cinemanila Day 5

The Cinemanila Film Festival was supposed to end today but due to the screw-up on Day 2, they extended it by one day so there will be a Day 6 entry.

Norte, The End of History
directed by Lav Diaz
Lav Diaz's films can be a bit intimidating due to their tendency to be very long and deliberately paced. He's one of the most uncommercial filmmakers out there (he made an 11 hour black & white silent film for crap's sakes!). But brave open-minded film buffs are often rewarded with a one-of-a-kind emotional, immersive, thought-provoking cinematic experience that comes from his brand of cinema. Norte is no different. More than that, and I don't use this word lightly, it may be his masterpiece. It's about a horrific double murder that happens in a provincial town. The real killer gets away with it while an innocent man who has a wife and kids goes to prison. The film chronicles and examines the fall out during the next few years following three main characters: The innocent convict, the killer and the convict's wife. It's alternately shocking, heartbreaking, moving, suspenseful and even funny! Despite it being deliberately paced and over 4 hours long (short for Lav Diaz's standards but long for most people), I almost never drifted away from the film nor did it feel dragging or felt too long at all. I felt like watching a master at work.(****)

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