Locarno loves Lav

Pinoy filmmaker, who will head the jury in Swiss film fest, prays deliberations won’t be bloody


LAV DIAZ and “Norte” actress Hazel Orencio in Cannes PHOTO COURTESY OF HAZEL ORENCIO

Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz is primed for jury duty. Diaz, recently named president of the jury of the Concorso Internationale (international competition) of the Locarno film fest, told Inquirer in an e-mail interview: “I’m ready to work. The position is immaterial. I’m happy [to be] involved in the greater discourse on cinema.”

Being chosen as jury president of the top-tier fest was “an acknowledgment of Philippine cinema’s vigor,” he said. “[Foreigners] know that we are doing things here.”

The global fest is set Aug. 7 to 17.  “I’ll be watching new works. I’ll be part of the cinema commune again—entering the dark, entering different worlds, entering the eternal discourse on truth.” He will be joined in the jury by Swiss critic Matthias Brunner, Chilean producer Juan de Dios Larrain, French actress-director Valerie Donzelli and Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos.

Tribute to producer

“I will be working with very diverse, astute personalities,” Diaz pointed out. “I just hope the discussions won’t be bloody.”

Diaz’s films will be featured at Locarno. Fresh from Cannes, “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” will be shown in The Juries section; his 2001 work “Batang West Side,” in History and Memory. The “Batang West Side” screening is a fitting tribute to producer Tony Veloria, who passed away in a bus mishap last year.

Diaz said, “Years ago, Tony donated a copy of ‘Batang West Side’ to the Vienna Film Museum. Now it’s going to be resurrected.” (It will also be screened at Cinemalaya on Aug. 3, at the Dream Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines).

Apart from Diaz’s films, five by compatriot Raya Martin will be screened at Locarno: “How to Disappear Completely,” “The Great Cinema Party,” “A Short Film about the Indio Nacional,” “Boxing in the Philippine Islands” and “Buenos Noches, España.” Diaz noted, “Raya’s works have a strong following in the festival circuit.”

“Norte” was screened at the 13th T-Mobile New Horizons fest in Wroclaw, Poland yesterday, and again on July 26.

Diaz said he was in preparations for two new projects, but that shooting schedules had not been fixed.

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