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 more
Tuhog: A Choreography of Juxtapositions
By Mike Rapatan
Jeffrey Jeturian’s Tuhog from a screenplay by Armando Lao is a film about the incestuous relationship Gabino or “Amang” (Nante Montreal) has with his daughter Perla (Irma Adlawan) and granddaughter, Floring (Ina Raymundo). When news of Amang’s rape breaks out, a pair of enterprising filmmakers (Crispin Pineda and Frank Rivera) drives to Perla and Floring’s house and offers to buy the rights to their story in order to make a “social realist” film “based on a true story” denouncing Amang’s moral depravity. Perla and Floring reluctantly make a deal. They then show up at the premiere of the promised movie cheekily entitled “Hayok sa Laman” starring Jacklyn Jose as Violeta, (Perla’s alter ego), Klaudia Koronel as Hasmin (representing Floring) and Dante Rivero as Leon (Amang’s counterpart). Perla and a pregnant Floring look excited at the start of the movie to see themselves on the big screen.Read more