Batang West Side (2001)
Batang West Side: Crime, love, guilt, diaspora — a cinematic mural
By Mario A. Hernando
In the local movie industry, Lav Diaz has built a reputation as a maverick filmmaker not only for his unconventional demeanor and ways. He’s seen as an inscrutable, indulgent artist who makes marathon films paced rather deliberately. Ordinary moviegoers, especially young ones whose concept of movie entertainment is limited to hyperkinetic, special effects-laden Hollywood movies, will freak out on Diaz films, just as they would on those of the likes of the Russian Andre Tarkovsky and the Greek Theo Angelopoulos, which they will find excruciatingly, punishingly slow.
One of Diaz’s best films, the 2001 epic titled Batang West Side, runs for five hours without intermission. Compared to another Diaz oeuvre, however, Batang West Side is short. Diaz’s Ebolusyon, which is also on the Manunuri list of best films of the decade, is 10 hours long.Read complete review