Eight-hour Berlin film focuses on Philippines revolution

Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:36pm EST
 
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By Michael Roddy

BERLIN (Reuters) - Filipino director Lav Diaz says movies should not be judged by their length, so he gave the Berlin Film Festival a historical drama about the Philippines that runs more than eight hours.

"Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis" (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery) was shown in competition for the festival's top Golden Bear prize in a screening that started at 9:30 a.m. and ended shortly before 7 p.m., with a one-hour lunch break.

The film is similar to the duration of some other past festival favourites like Hungarian director Bela Tarr, whose "Satantango" clocks in at about seven hours.

But at a post-screening news conference Diaz rejected being labelled as a creator of "slow cinema".

"We're labeled 'the slow cinema' but it's not slow cinema, it's cinema," he said.

"I don't know why ... every time we discourse on cinema we always focus on the length.

"It's cinema, it's just like poetry, just like music, just like painting where it's free, whether it's a small canvas or it's a big canvas, it's the same ... So cinema shouldn't be imposed on."

Diaz's movie is set in the late 19th century at the period of the Philippine revolution against Spanish rule and focuses on the influence of Andres Bonifacio y de Castro, considered to be one of the main motivators of the uprising.   Continued...

 
Director Lav Diaz poses to promote the movie 'A lullaby to the sorrowful mystery' at the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, February 18, 2016.     REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch