Lav on a roll

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LAV DIAZ photo by Henry Chan

Lav Diaz rocks. And he is on a roll.

In an e-mail to Inquirer Entertainment, the Filipino filmmaker joked that he was busy taking care of a grandchild in New York when he learned that he had won the Netpac-Eastar Jet prize last May 4 at the Jeonju film fest in Korea.

Six-hour epic

The Jeonju jury cited his latest six-hour epic, “Florentina Hubaldo, CTE”—the same film that won for him the On Screen award at the Images Festival in Toronto last month.

Lav got to attend the 25-year-old Canadian fest, which he described as “legendary among serious filmmakers, scholars, critics, programmers and cineastes.”

He had no idea that Images Fest now included a competition. “I was just glad to be part of it. It’s a venue for no-nonsense cinema and hardcore filmmaking. No celebrities, no red carpet, no marketing.”

His earlier film, “Melancholia,” was screened at the same festival in 2010. “To be invited there is an honor in itself. But for me, the discourse was far more important than the award.”

NY retrospective

A retrospective of his works was held from April 21 to May 5 at the Exit Art in New York. Entitled “Corporal Histories: Lav Diaz’s Epic Philippine Cinema,” the retrospective included “Evolution of a Filipino Family,” “Death in the Land of Encantos,” “Century of Birthing” and “Florentina Hubaldo, CTE.”

On May 5, an exchange dubbed “A Conversation with Lav Diaz” was held at Exit Art. It was moderated by Sukhdev Sandhu, film critic for The Telegraph.

The retro’s website noted that Lav’s “lengthy” films are “uniquely transfixing experiences, deeply immersing the audience in landscape and atmosphere.”

Lav will next participate in the New Filipino Cinema retrospective, to be held at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco from June 7 to 10 and June 17.

He hailed the San Francisco retro, organized by respected curator Joel Shepard, as “a mirror of the unceasing dynamism in Philippine cinema … a result of the digital upheaval of the past decade.” He described the last seven years as “a great epoch for filmmakers, a watershed.”

More Filipinos

Apart from “Florentina” (which will be shown on June 17), the other Filipino films in the Yerba Buena Center lineup are Loy Arcenas’

“Niño,” Monster Jimenez’s “Kano,” Lawrence Fajardo’s “Amok,” Khavn de la Cruz’s “Mondomanila,” John Torres’ “Muse,” Christopher Gozum’s “Lawas Kan Pinabli,” Arnel Mardoquio’s “Crossfire,” Mes de Guzman’s “Sa Kanto ng Ulap at Lupa,” Benito Bautista’s “Boundary,” Antoinette Jadaone’s “Six Degrees of Separation From Lilia Cuntapay,” Jade Castro’s “Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington,” among others.

In July, Lav is bound for Wroclaw, Poland, to be a juror for the 12th T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival, July 19 to 29.

“Jury work is hard,” he said, “but oftentimes very, very enlightening. You meet people with diverse cinema perspectives. These discussions and discourses and enriching. You love cinema; you talk cinema.”

After all these activities, Lav is going back to work.

“The final cut of ‘Heremias Book Two’ is almost done … after six years. I also have an Ilonggo film in the works—a pet project of Ronnie Lazaro’s. I’ll try to finish ‘Ang Dakilang Desaparecido,’ too. It’s already 40 hours long.”

(bayanisandiego@hotmail.com)

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