BATANG WEST SIDE
2001, 315 min, Philippines/USA, Dir: Lav Diaz

Filipino director Lav Diaz burst into the international arthouse film scene with this epic murder mystery set against the illusion of the American Dream. The story begins with the senseless slaying of Hanzel (Yul Servo), a Filipino youth from the crime ridden streets Jersey City. Police detective Juan Mijares (Joel Torre) sets out to solve the case, by interviewing the teen’s family and friends and piecing together a fractured portrait of his life. Soon, the detective’s discoveries reveal some relentlessly bleak truths about the Philippine diasporic experience. With the ambitious scope of a great work of literature and a surprisingly brisk pace (for Diaz), BATANG WEST SIDE is one of the director’s most hauntingly beautiful films. “We have to examine our history - more than 300 years of Spanish colonization, almost one hundred years of American intervention, four years of Japanese reign, more than twenty years of Marcos terrorism - all these things destroyed our culture, our psyche. We have to examine that. We have to look back. BATANG WEST SIDE is that. It is an examination of our past, our future - a collective canvas of what we are as a people, as a nation.” – Lav Diaz.


NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY
NORTE, HANGGANAN NG KASAYSAYAN
2013, The Cinema Guild, 250 min, Philippines, Dir: Lav Diaz

An embittered law student commits a brutal double murder; a family man takes the fall and is forced into a harsh prison sentence; a mother and her two children wander the countryside looking for some kind of redemption. Lav Diaz’s epic reimagining of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment is both an intimate human drama and a cosmic treatise on the origin of evil. Unfolding across the sun-drenched fields and dark city streets of the Filipino island of Luzon, NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY is a tale of murder, hate and hope from one of the world’s most uncompromising cinematic visionaries.


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