Century of Birthing

A meditation on the roles of the artist, the prophet and the acolyte. First off, we follow Homer, a filmmaker who struggles to finish his latest opus. His friends and colleagues encourage him to wrap up the film, but he finds a way to resist and counter every entreaty. Secondly, we focus on a rural Christian cult that is largely comprised of young women and dominated by its charismatic leader, Father Turbico. When one of the members strays, the ramifications of her departure are catastrophic for both her and the cult.

Storm Children, Book One

The Philippines is visited by an average of 20~28 strong typhoons and storms every year. It is the most storm-battered country in the world. Last year, Typhoon Yolanda(Haiyan), considered the strongest storm in history, struck the Philipines, leaving in its path apocalyptic devastation.

From What Is Before

On the eve of Ferdinand Marcos’ proclamation of martial law, a small village is visited by a series of strange, perhaps supernatural occurrences, in the new film from Filipino master auteur Lav Diaz. [Synopsis courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival]

Venice 70: Future Reloaded

Made for the Venice Film Festival’s 70th anniversary, 70 filmmakers made a short film between 60 and 90 seconds long on their interpretation of the future of cinema

West Side Kid

A Filipino teenager is shot to death on the sidewalk of New Jersey, USA. An investigation starts into his death. His family members and friends are interviewed. Along the way, we find out not only more about him but about the community of Filipinos in America in general, including the destructive effect of the drug “shabu” on its youth. The detective who handles the case also has his own personal demons to settle with his violent past.

Florentina Hubaldo, CTE

As no other filmmaker, Lav Diaz is involved with the suffering of the people of the Philippines, with its history of colonialism, corruption and poverty. A philosophical drama about the psychological effects of injustice and arbitrariness. Two poor labourers leave the city looking for a treasure.

Kagadanan sa banwaan ning mga Engkanto

A Filipino poet is the hapless native who returns to his hometown Padang to witness the aftermath of the super typhoon. For the past seven years, Benjamin had been living in an old town called Kaluga in Russia. With his grant and residency, he taught and conducted workshops in a university. The poet published two books of sadness and longing in the process. In Russia, Benjamin was able to shoot video collages, fell in love with a Slavic beauty, buried a son, and almost went mad. He came back to bury his dead-father, mother, sister and a lover. He came back to face Mount Mayon, the raging beauty and muse of his youth. He came home to confront the country that he so loved and hated, the Philippines. He came back to die in the land of his birth. He wanders around the obliterated village meeting old friends and lovers.

Heremias (Book One: The Legend of the Lizard Princess)

Heremias travels from town to town with a group of merchants selling wares from his ox-cart until he decides his life can no longer satisfy him and decides to strike out on his own. Along his travels a typhoon forces him to take shelter on the outskirts of a village whereupon he soon finds himself entangled in the corrupt affairs of the town officials after tragedy befalls him when he takes shelter in an abandoned house. This nine-hour drama is the first part in the story of Heremias.

Evolution of a Filipino Family

A high modernist epic about a family of farmers living for 15 years under a state of siege during the Marcos era. In one plot thread, a family member is hired to kill real-life filmmaker Lino Brocka; to study his target, he’s given a tape of THE LOST BROCKA, a film directed by Diaz’s BATANG WEST SIDE documentarist and moral catalyst Taga Timog, but is so moved by Brocka and his vision of his country that he is unable to go through with it—and is stabbed. In a single, soul-wrenching, mesmerizing take, a long bleeding stumble to his last breath becomes an awe-inspiring testament to the idea that the power of cinema belongs to the people. That such sentiments are evoked in a work which maybe only a handful of people will see is only a surface contradiction. It’s a labor of love made from the passing of time and echoes reverberating faintly across history’s vast plains.

Butterflies Have No Memories

On an island far from the main land of the Philippines, islanders who used to be wealthy go through economic difficulties when a goldmine company withdraws from the area. Ferding, Santos and Willy only drink in despair. One day, a Canadian woman’s visit changes everything. Through the expression of the contradictory nature of the prosperity development brings and the environmental destruction it causes, the pain Philippine society experiences is fully captured.

Norte, The End of History

A man is wrongly jailed for murder while the real killer roams free. The murderer is an intellectual frustrated with his country’s never-ending cycle of betrayal and apathy. The convict is a simple man who finds life in prison more tolerable when something mysterious and strange starts happening to him.