Jo Ji-Hoon

The ‘CTE’ at the end of its title stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple concussions and other forms of head injury, and can be developed to Alzheimer’s. The Filipino master of the digital era, Lav Diaz’s latest work Florentina Hubaldo, CTE is about a girl named Florentina Hubaldo who’s suffering from CTE in result of her father’s continuous and cruel violence and prostitution, and Manoling who is wasting his time in search of treasures in the land of his gambling addict father – who came back to his homeland after his unsuccessful life in Manila – and his friend Juan. Between these two main plots the film (metaphorically) reproduces the history of colonial Philippines and the agonising lives of its people during that era, and reveals the national myth that has been misleading its people with a vain hope. Also, with the deep images created by the geometric structure of nature and the movements of the characters, and the long-takes capturing the changes in nature and the brutal pain of the characters, Florentina Hubaldo, CTE pushes the audience’s emotions to its extreme and records the colonial times at a rather slow pace. The film is not only focusing on portraying the dreadful reality, but keeps the hope for salvation through the scenes where Florentina trying to hold the Giant’s hand, the characters looking straight into the camera by the stream, Florentina pitifully tries to remember her name and her past against violence, and Juan finally finds the endlessly-crying lizard. Florentina Hubaldo, CTE is an epic of salvation and a historical odyssey completed by the tenacity and endurance of Lav Diaz, one of the most important cineastes of today, which strongly demands the audience to remember and reflect the memories of the history by imprinting the life of an individual full of agony.