16: Lav Diaz

27 March, 2016 - 10:30




A dialogue between new audiovisual works, older or rediscovered films and videos by artists and filmmakers who work in the expanded field of moving image practice.

Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery)

Lav Diaz

“The 17 years it took to complete this film seem like a dream now. It was like waking up from a long slumber. I started work on this project in the late 1990s... It’s our hele (lullaby) to our dear country.” (LD)

How to come to terms with the history of a country that is haunted by memories of colonization, rebellion and oppression, a country that continues to wrestle with itself in search for meaning and identity? The weight of this question makes itself felt in every frame, in every face, breath and gesture inhabiting the films of Lav Diaz. From his feature debut, Serafin Geronimo: Criminal of Barrio Concepcion (1998), to From What Is Before (2014), all of his films are deeply rooted in the history and politics of his home country, the Philippines.

Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro is considered to be one of the most influential proponents in the struggle against Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines during the late nineteenth century. Today, he is still celebrated as the father of the Philippine Revolution. Director Lav Diaz examines this myth and undertakes another expedition into the eventful history of his native land. The film’s various loosely interwoven narrative threads are held together by an exploration of the role of the individual in history and their involvement in political and social developments. Bonifacio’s widow is searching for her husband’s missing dead body; as she and her followers stumble deeper into the jungle, they become entangled in the dense thicket of their own guilt and responsibility. Mythology, facts and a vibrant sense of history merge.