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4 Amazing Films By Venice Film Fest Best Director Lav Diaz

His most notable works dive deep into the untold stories of many Filipinos!

Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz gets another win added to his belt after winning the Orizzonti Award for Best Director for his film, Lahi, Hayop in this year’s Venice International Film Festival. 

According to the Venice International Film Festival website, the Orizzonti section of the festival is dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinemas.

For this year, 19 feature films and 12 short films competed in the film festival from around the world. The winners were announced on September 13. French director Claire Denis led the jury for the Orizzonti section, while Oscar winner Cate Blanchett became the president of the jurors for the main competition.

As described in the Lahi, Hayop Facebook page, the film follows the story of “three illegal miners as they journey back to their island after months of toiling in hellish conditions. With their hard-earned money, they traversed the sea, the mountains, and the forest until they reached their destination.” Aside from directing the film, Lav also wrote, edited, and functioned as cinematographer for Lahi, Hayop. (Read: Netflix Premieres Award-Winning Filipino Film ‘Lingua Franca’)

Over the years, Lav Diaz has become one of the most notable Filipino filmmakers. From the classic film Batang West Side to the historic Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, his works dive deep into the untold stories of many Filipinos and open the eyes of many to the realities of the marginalized.

Get to know Lav Diaz with four of his best works yet!

Ang Hupa (The Halt)

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The Halt, 2019 (Photo from Film Police Reviews)

A dystopian film set in Manila in the year 2034 after massive volcanic eruptions, Ang Hupa has been screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It is also one of the eight films premiere in Rome on Aug. 5 for the Asian Film Festival.  (Read: A Rundown of the 8 Filipino Films Set to Premiere in Rome)

Cast: Piolo Pascual, Joel Lamangan, Pinky Amador, Shaina Magdayao, Hazel Orencio, Mara Lopez, Noel Miralles, Ian Lomongo, Joel Saracho, Ely Buendia, Bart Guingona, Susan Africa, Ashton Llarenas, Earl Ignacio, Adrienne Vergara, and Jonathan Francisco.

Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis

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Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, 2016 (Photo from FDCP / Film Police Reviews)

Entitled A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery for its international release, Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis is Lav Diaz’ fantasy drama in 2016. Set in the Philippines in the year 1896-97, the film delves into the struggle of the Spanish-Filipino civil war and where Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro became a hero. The movie competed for the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival and the Alfred Bauer Prize.

Cast: Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd, Cruz, Hazel Orencio, Alessandra de Rossi, Susan Africa, Joel Saracho, Sid Lucero, Cherie Gil, Bernardo Bernardo ,Angel Aquino, Ronnie Lazaro, Ely Buendia, Bart Guingona, Jean Judith Javier, Paul Jake, Paule Noel Sto. Domingo, Karenina Haniel, Menggie Cobarrubias, Earl Ignacio, Sheen Gener, Matt Daclan, Kristine Kintana, Bradley Liew, Ricky Gallardo, Moira Lang, Bianca Balbuena, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, and  Kuya Manzano.

Batang West Side

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Batang West Side, 2001 (Photo from Windows on Worlds)

Directed by Lav Diaz in 2001, the five-hour movie is considered as one of the filmmaker’s major works. Batang West Side is about an investigation on the death of a Filipino teenager who was shot on the sidewalk of New Jersey, USA. It gives a glimpse of the Filipino community’s way of life in America, including the destructive effect of “shabu” on the youth. (Read: Priest wants to help Philippine government in the war on drugs)

Batang West Side was a recipient of many international prizes, including Best Film at the Singapore International Film Festival. The movie also received a 35mm restoration by the Austrian Film Museum. 

Cast: Yul Servo,  Gloria Diaz,  Joel Torre,  Priscilla Almeda,  Angel Aquino,  Arthur Acuña , Raul Arellano,  Ruben Tizon,  Jomar Roldan, Michelle Salvador, Ged Merino, Joseph Pe, Malik  Walton, Arianne Recto, Eric Celerio, Liza Deocampo, and Preston Barnes.

Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino

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Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino, 2004 (Photo from Mubi)

An intimate epic made with uncompromising and austere seriousness, Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino is recognized as one of the longest films of all time. The 625-minute film patiently and methodically observes the collapse and hopeful revival of a poor farming clan. In a 2004 article, Variety described the film as a symbolism of a nation’s history spanning 1971 to 1987.”

Cast: Pen Medina, Ronnie Lazaro,  Angel Aquino, Joel Torre, Gino Dormiendo, Elryan de Vera, Angie Ferro, Marife Necesito, Lui Manansala, Banaue Miclat, and  Sigrid Andrea Bernardo.

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