‘Halimaw’ in Tokyo fest’s ‘Crosscut Asia’
Tokyo is the latest stop of Lav Diaz’s martial law musical, “Ang Panahon ng Halimaw” (Season of the Devil).
The four-hour epic is part of the Crosscut Asia section of the 31st Tokyo International Film Festival, set in Roppongi Hills and other venues, from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3.
While previous installments of Crosscut Asia showcased films from specific Southeast Asian countries, this year’s edition will concentrate on “a rich variety of musical genres from the region.”
Joining Diaz’s political rock opera in the lineup are movies that celebrate Cambodian pop music and a popular Isan band from Thailand, “reflecting the region’s past and present.”
The Filipino film, which is described as an “eye-opener” by programmers, topbills Piolo Pascual, Shaina Magdayao, Angel Aquino, Bituin Escalante, Pinky Amador and Bart Guingona in lead roles.
Now on its fifth year, the Crosscut Asia section is mounted by the top-tier fest in collaboration with the Japan Foundation Asia Center.
The first three editions of Crosscut Asia highlighted contemporary films from Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. The fourth installment last year trained the spotlight on the region’s young filmmakers, as recommended by such renowned auteurs as Brillante Ma Mendoza (Philippines), Tran Anh Hung (Vietnam) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand).
Diaz is no stranger to this Tokyo event; his past films have been featured in this A-list festival, beginning with “Butterflies Have No Memories” in 2009.
The Tokyo fest promises that this year’s “Crosscut Asia will take the audience on a memorable ‘sound-trip’ across regions and time.”
Diaz told the Inquirer: “I understand their aesthetic motif this year is on sound or music, and works that discourse on historical and present-day conditions of our region, Southeast Asia.”
He summed up “Halimaw” as “a rock opera and a critique of the past and present sociopolitical maladies afflicting the Philippines.”
“These problems are being experienced by most countries in the region, as well,” he explained. “In fact, it has become a vicious cycle and a default illness of the region. Parang sumpa. (It’s like a curse.) But there are solutions. Let’s start with the truth. That’s the vision of ‘Halimaw.’ Truth is the foundation of emancipation. ”