Eva Sangiorgi

This is the most recent film by Lav Diaz, a central figure and indisputable reference in contemporary Filipino cinema. He is a key director for the Filipino New Wave, which encompasses many filmmakers skillful in the use of new filming technologies who are also astonishing because of the original and daring film discourse that characterizes their films.
In this movie about birthing and creation, Lav Diaz reinvents himself. There are two stories: on the one hand, a filmmaker is under pressure to finish his most recent film; on the other, a rural preacher leads a religious group formed mostly by young women. In appearance, there is no relation between these two tales; however, both actually encourage a reflection on the role of the artist and the relation between a master and his disciple. In both cases the characters are devoted people following a cult (cinema, and a personal interpretation of Christianity), and in both cases also they are surrounded by their followers.
Black-and-white cinematography and a predilection for long-spanning shots is the way Diaz chooses to alternatively portray interiors and exteriors. In defiance of its 358-minute length, the film achieves a rhythm that never stops. Could it be because of a song chanted throughout the whole movie and the musical leitmotiv accompanying the whole episode set in rural areas?
As usual with Lav Diaz, his picture is both a challenge and a film experience. For almost six hours one gets lost in sublimity, plunged into cinema in its purest form. That is to say: this is author cinema made by someone who, as his character, “doesn’t make films for festivals, he makes films for cinema.” It is fortunate that in festivals —and almost exclusively in them— it may still be possible to enjoy a film of such a dimension as Lav Diaz’.

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