PH films on the world’s best list in 2016
Filipino films were mentioned as among the best movies of 2016 in a forum conducted by the British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound magazine among 163 critics and curators from all over the world.
Lav Diaz’s “Ang Babaeng Humayo,” Golden Lion winner at last year’s Venice Film Festival, placed 31st on the list, garnering five votes from the panel of experts.
Also chosen by some respondents were two other Diaz films: “Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis” (which won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize in the Berlinale 2016) and “Ang Araw Bago ang Wakas” (which won top prizes in Oberhausen, Germany, and Zabok, Croatia, last year).
The Bangkok Post’s Kong Rithdee says of “Ang Babaeng Humayo”: “The theme is big: Humanity, guilt, crime, punishment, injustice, despair—the Filipino despair, or maybe the Southeast Asian despair, drenched in [the] sweat and blood of the common man.”
Rithdee notes: “Duterte or not, senseless deaths on the street or not, Diaz never tries to catch a rabbit—he always goes for the dragon in its lair.”
But beyond the grand themes of revenge and redemption, Rithdee remarks that “in this film, what moves us even more is the possibility of mercy, compassion, even grace, struggling to blossom like a flower in hell.”
British critic Derek Malcolm similarly praises “Humayo”: “The more I think about it, the more I admire the surprise winner of the Golden Lion at Venice. [It] is a film that lives in the memory as a moral, political and cultural statement, as well as a fine piece of filmmaking.”
Jonathan Romney, Malcolm’s colleague and compatriot, agrees: “My vote [for “Humayo”] is also a vote for an exemplary continuing adventure in filmmaking as passionate mission.”
Alexander Horwath, director of the Austrian Film Museum, also had “Humayo” on his Top 5—a list he collectively describes as “avatars of our present condition.”
Writer, blogger and teacher Jonathan Rosenbaum from the United States put Diaz’s short film “Ang Araw Bago ang Wakas” on top of his list.
Two of Diaz’s films, “Humayo” and “Hele,” made it on the list of critic Noel Vera of the Philippines. US critic and programmer Jordan Cronk likewise chose “Hele” as part of his extended lineup of “honorable mentions.”
Two panelists picked Brillante Ma Mendoza’s “Ma’ Rosa.”
James Quandt, curator and critic from Canada, included “Ma’ Rosa” in his Top 5. French critic and academician Jean-Michel Frodon, on the other hand, included “Ma’ Rosa” as part of his extended list of Top 15 films.
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