Chance to work with Lav Diaz tempted actress back to the screen

Fri Sep 9, 2016 2:33pm EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak

VENICE (Reuters) - It was director Lav Diaz' art of exploring human drama at length that tempted Charo Santos-Concio back to the screen after nearly two decades, the actress-turned-media executive said at the Venice film festival on Friday.

Santos-Concio plays the lead in "Ang Babaeng Humayo" (The Woman Who Left), a 226-minute Philippine drama about revenge and forgiveness that premiered in Venice on Friday.

It is one of 20 U.S. and international films competing for the coveted Golden Lion that will be awarded on Saturday.

"I really wanted to work with this director ... I wanted to understand the aesthetics behind his cinema, why he produces long-running films," Santos-Concio, the former president and CEO of ABS-CBN Corporation, told Reuters.

"He doesn't manipulate the audience, he doesn't manipulate the characters, he allows the characters to go through the journey and to feel the journey."

The movie tells the story of Horacia, a school teacher who spent 30 years in a correctional facility for a crime she did not commit. When she is finally released, she struggles with the desire for revenge and forgiveness.

Diaz shot the movie in black and white and on a Philippine island where Santos-Concio grew up.

"Emotionally she is attached to the geography, to the grounds, so it's easier for her, you can actually feel it, she was very emotional about the location, it helped contextualize the character," Diaz said.   Continued...

Director Lav Diaz (C) poses with actress Charo Santos-Concio (L) and actor John Lloyd Cruz (R) as they attend the photo call for the movie "Ang Babaeng Humayo" (The Woman Who Left) at the 73rd Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi