Thursday, July 2, 2009

Death in the Land of Melancholia: Lav Diaz Retrospective in Thailand begins July 31


A pioneer and inspiration for the current independent film movement in the Philippines, Lav Diaz is scheduled to come to Bangkok at the end of the month to help kick off a three-month-long series of screenings of his films in Bangkok and Phuket. The title really captures the spirit of it all: Death in the Land of Melancholia: Lav Diaz Retrospective in Thailand.

Diaz broke away from commercial filmmaking in 2002 when he made Batang West Side, which set the tone for the Pinoy New Wave movement, using digital cameras, experimental techniques and boundless running times. Diaz' other films include the 11-hour-long Evolution of a Filipino Family, which took 11 years to make, the mind-blowing Heremias Book One (nine hours) and the 11-hour Death in the Land of Encantos. His latest film, the seven-and-a-half-hour-long Melancholia, won the Horizons Award at the 2008 Venice Film Festival. I was pondering going to the Singapore International Film Festival to see it, but the dealbreaker came when it was pulled from the festival over censorship.

His films unhurriedly tell the stories of ordinary Filipinos, and have been made to record, argue about, and make a firm political stand on his own country.

"My films are not long. They are free," he said during his stay in Bangkok last year, when he was a juror on the Bangkok International Film Festival.

The retrospective will feature the two-hour-long Heremias Book II (rough cut), Melancholia, Death in the Land of Encantos, Evolution of a Filipino Family and Heremias Book I.

Taking place at a variety of venues over the next three months in Bangkok and Phuket, the retrospective is organized by Duangkamol Filmhouse (Filmvirus) in coordination with the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi's Bangkok CODE, Bioscope magazine, Conference of Birds Gallery, and BO(OK)HEMIAN.

Update: Another venue has been added -- the cinema at the National Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhom Pathom.

Update 2: Filmsick has synopses.

Here is the schedule:


Friday, July 31, Bangkok Art and Culture Center

  • 16.00 - Heremias Book II
  • 18.00 - Discussion on the films of Lav Diaz and contemporary Filipino films with Lav Diaz, film critic Alexis Tioseco and scholar May Adadol Ingawanij,

Saturday, August 1, Bangkok Art and Culture Center
  • 12.00 - Melancholia (7.5 hours)

Sunday, August 2 at Bangkok CODE

  • 12.00 - Death in the Land of Encantos (9 hours)

Monday, August 3
at the National Film Archive, Salaya

  • 10.00 - Death in the Land of Encantos (9 hours)

Tuesday, August 4

  • Campus tour at Bangkok University

Saturday, August 8, Conference of Birds Gallery

  • 10.00 (note time change) - Evolution of a Filipino Family (11 hours)

Sunday, August 9, Conference of Birds Gallery

  • 12.00 - Heremias Book 1 (9 hours)

Monday, August 10, National Film Archive, Salaya

  • 10.00 - Melancholia (7.5 hours)

Monday, August 17, National Film Archive, Salaya

  • 10.00 - Heremias Book 1 (9 hours)

Monday, August 24, National Film Archive, Salaya

  • 09.00 - Evolution of a Filipino Family (11 hours)

Saturday, August 29, BO(OK)HEMIAN, Phuket

  • 12.00 - Melancholia (7.5 hours)

Sunday, August 30, BO(OK)HEMIAN, Phuket

  • 12.00 - Death in the Land of Encantos (9 hours)

Saturday, September 5, BO(OK)HEMIAN, Phuket

  • 12.00 - Evolution of a Filipino Family (11 hours)

Sunday, September 6, BO(OK)HEMIAN, Phuket

  • 12.00 - Heremias Book 1 (9 hours)

(Via Limitless Cinema and Bioscope forum)

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