Gertjan Zhuillof

Feature that seems bent on discouraging: black & white and endlessly long, strict as a documentary from before the TV age. Raw, emotional, heart-warming and gripping. Empathise with a poor Filipino peasant family that is condemned to the city. Absolutely the most durable viewing experience of this festival.

An especially long film. And a special long film. An even more special detail is that, while watching it, the film gives you an inevitable feeling that it should last exactly this long, if not longer. The manner of production is also noteworthy. The film was shot bit by bit over a period of nine years, first on film and more recently on video. It is a method of shooting that was partly necessitated by financial considerations, but that also fits in well with the epic story that extends over a period of more than fifteen years. The film spans the Marcos regime’s state of siege in the Philippines (1971-1987). As the title indicates, Diaz follows the adventures of a family against the backdrop of the social and political developments in this crucial period in history. The Gallardo family lives from a strip of land on the edge of the jungle, and this works well for generations – until macroeconomics and politics rear their ugly heads, that is. The film follows various members of the family, such as the matriarchal grandmother Puning, her son Kayo, who is in danger of going astray, and her mentally confused daughter Gilda, but above all her grandson Raynaldo, who develops in the film from country and jungle child to urban adolescent. Another special detail is that as a result of the long period of shooting, the actor playing Raynaldo (Elryan de Vera) really grows up.