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Arte France Cinema to produce Lav Diaz’s next film

/ 12:03 AM October 01, 2018

Diaz discovered an old script that he wrote in 2000.

Lav Diaz’s next film will be produced by leading European company, Arte France Cinema.

This groundbreaking collaboration was recently announced by Arte France Cinema’s selection committee. Diaz confirmed the news: “There have been intimations that I do some projects with them.”

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As early as two years ago, he recalled, an art group based in Lisbon, Portugal, already proposed an initiative for a collaboration or coproduction. “They had sent materials for me to consider, study and work on, and they said Arte France Cinema would commit to finance it,” he recounted.

But he got swamped with work. “Napuno ako sa mga gawain dito sa bayan, [kaya] medyo napabayaan ko.”

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A few months ago, Diaz traveled to Paris, to help French distributor ARP Selection prepare promotional materials for his latest film “Ang Pananon ng Halimaw,” which was released there last summer.

“Some people said it again … that Arte … wants to support my new projects,” he said.

Seemed it was a partnership that was bound to happen.

After all, Diaz has built quite a following in that part of the world, after the consecutive screenings of his films in France: “Death in the Land of Encantos,” “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” “Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis,” “Ang Babaeng Humayo” and “Halimaw.”

Upon his return to the country, something magical occurred.

“We discovered an old script (working title: ‘2019’). I wrote it in 2000. I sent it. They liked it. It was that quick,” he related. “It was serendipitous.”

He told the Arte France Cinema website that this new political thriller, which was written nearly two decades ago, reads like a “premonition, as it predicted the rise of a new Filipino despot.”

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Diaz (right) with Charo Santos

Working with a “progressive” institution like Arte France Cinema is “a good development for Philippine cinema,” he explained. “It’s important to have a forum like this for our filmmakers.”

It’s also a welcome opportunity to make a decent living in a time when indecency rules.

“Salamat. Masusuwelduhan ko na ng maayos ang mga kasama kong film workers,” he quipped. “Sa panahon ng sobrang disillusionment sa nangyayari sa bayan, may pambili pa kami ng bigas kahit papano. Kahit P54 na per kilo. Mababayaran ko na ang mahaba-habang listahan ng utang ko kay Aling Memang, ’yung paborito kong haberdasher na gumagawa ng fake kong Levi’s. Salamat sa cinema.”

The Arte France website hailed Diaz as “one of the great auteurs of contemporary film … [known] for his radical and committed cinema.”

Diaz pointed out: “Arte France Cinema has been a big part of cinema’s progressive development, not just in France. Given this chance to collaborate with them, I’m cool with that.”

Arte France Cinema has supported such Cannes winners as Ruben Ostlund’s “The Square” (Palme D’Or 2017), Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless” (Jury Prize 2017) and Agnès Varda and JR’s “Faces, Places” (Golden Eye, Best Documentary 2017).

His big dream is for this new film to be shown in the country, as well. Diaz said he would ask the help of popular actors Piolo Pascual, Jericho Rosales, Dingdong Dantes and Charo Santos “para hikayatin ang bayang manood ng pelikulang Pilipino.”

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TAGS: Arte France Cinema, Lav Diaz
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