After a successful screening at the prestigious 66th Berlinale Film Festival in Germany last month, the Lav Diaz film Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullabye to the Sorrowful Mystery) took home the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer prize which is given to notable feature films that opens new perspectives. Director and writer Lav Diaz gave us some of his top reasons why Pinoys should not miss out on watching this historical, mythological, and fictional epic which starts showing in cinemas on March 26. Director Lav Diaz shared with Push.com.ph why this is one of our must watch films for the year.
Eight hours is not as intimidating as you think.
“Ang cinema naman pag immersed ka na there’s no such thing as time. So walang mahaba at maiksi sa cinema. Pag pinasok mo na yung universe na yan, that alternative universe, wala ng oras.”
It’s a more intimate look into an important part of Philippine history
“Anong favorite scene ko? Lahat naman eh. Ang kuwento kasi it’s about the 30 day search of Gregoria para sa katawan ni Andres Bonifacio. It really happened. In essence, ang daming desaparecedos sa bayan, pero ang unang desaparecedo ay ang dakilang Andres Bonifacio. Kahit si Jose Rizal was a desparecedo. Hinahanap ni Narcisa Rizal yung katawan ni Pepe ng two months. Tinago nila yung bangkay niya na hubad sa isang sementeryo sa Laloma. Two months yun bago nalaman. Ganun din si Bonifacio hanggang ngayon hindi pa natin nakikita yung bangkay niya. 30 days siyang hinanap.”
This is a movie that was 17 years in the making
“This was a 17-year struggle. So 17 years ang struggle ng paggawa nito. I started the script in 1998. We were supposed to shoot it in 1999 pero hindi natuloy and then through the years I’ve been looking for money, some funding, some support. And then four years ago pumasok si Bianca Balbuena and then pumasok si Paul Soriano, pumasok si John Lloyd Cruz at si Piolo Pascual. That’s the magic of cinema. May tadhana yan eh. You just keep pushing it and it will happen.”
Watch and discover how a "rock star" director works.
With his actors Piolo Pascual, Alessandra de Rossi and John Lloyd Cruz all describing his style of directing as very rock star-ish, direk Lav reacted. “Baka iba yung nakikita nila dun, baka si David Bowie or si Lou Reed? (laughs) I listen to rock and roll of course. Lahat naman pinakikinggan ko from The Beatles to the Rolling Stones to David Bowie and Lou Reed. Anything na nag-pu-push ng musika. Just the same with cinema, we take risks. Hanapin niyo sa eksena ng Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis na naglakad ako ng hubad sa gubat. Mabilis lang yun. Don’t blink and you’ll see it.”
‘Hele’ is a movie from a true movie fan
“Marami akong paboritong pelikula. Sa akin, lahat ng Pinoy cinema is cool for me. Pinapanuod ko lahat eh. I’m so in love with Pinoy cinema. Wala akong pinapalampas, wala. From Vice Ganda to Fernando Poe, lahat napanuod ko lahat yan. Wala akong tinatapon.”
Watch his last indie film before he goes mainstream
“Maraming plans. May project na ishu-shoot with Star Cinema. I’m selling out (laughs). No, no, no it’s just a joke. Pero gagawa kami. May binigay silang kuwento which I think was very good, may libro na sinuggest. Lagi kong sinasabi there’s no such thing as independent cinema or mainstream cinema. It’s just f**king cinema. Why do you label things di ba? Parehong pelikula yan eh. Decision na ng artist if he will work on the commercial or the artistic domain. It’s their choice. Pero walang indie, walang mainstream. F**k that. Cinema lang yan. I want to work with everybody. I’m okay. Kahit isang farmer at saka isang John Lloyd okay.”