The preview of Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery) at the Dolphy Theatre in ABS-CBN yesterday was called “Take The Hele Challenge”, playing up the best-known fact about the film: that it’s eight hours long.
Not that it won the Silver Bear in Berlin.
Not that it’s awesome.
But that it’s long, implying that it appeals to masochists.
And that it stars Piolo Pascual and John Lloyd Cruz. (Clearly Lavrente has no manager, or the fact that their names are above and dwarf his own would be an issue.)
We were prepared for the “challenge”. Ricky made up a hashtag: #endlesslav. Ricky, Jay and I met early to get a proper breakfast. I brought a neck pillow for comfort, fish crackers and caramel and cheese popcorn for sustenance, and a fully-charged phone for sending friends desperate pleas to help me escape from the screening. I did not need any of these. Amazingly, I did not need the intermissions (with catering) every three hours, either. They turned out to be a distraction. Once you get in the zone, you just want to keep watching the movie.
It’s gorgeous. It’s bizarre. It’s beautiful. It’s bonkers. At no point did I feel like leaving the cinema.
My friends and I would watch it again. In fact I want to stand outside the theatre and point and laugh at the people who cannot watch it till the end.
Now I have to write about it, and it’s daunting because the review has to do the film justice.
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Here’s the link.