Seeing a Lav Diaz film on the big screen is a transporting and fairly rare experience. Starting tomorrow, September 10, Filipino moviegoers can experience a Lav Diaz film for themselves as Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan opens in five Metro Manila theatres.
Norte has gotten rave reviews from critics and film students the world over, but what about the other sectors of the moviegoing public? Last week, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala hosted a screening of Norte for friends. Here are some of their reactions.
“Those who have the fortitude to sit through Norte will be gifted with a master’s uncompromising vision of love versus hate; alienation versus closeness; inaction versus action; cause and effect; crime and retribution; the inherent injustice of the universe; and perhaps, but only perhaps, salvation.” – Roberto Cuenca
“I was literally stunned by Norte. Certain images are still haunting me now. I never imagined I would survive the 4-hour running time, but at the end I did not believe it was over.” – Girlie Rodis
“Norte is an engrossing, challenging and ultimately enriching cinematic experience. An unparalleled study of individual, nation and family in the Philippine context that remained in my consciousness long after leaving the theatre. Norte deserves all the acclaim it has received and the support of audiences in the Philippines and the world over.” – Teddy Manotoc
“Norte drew me into its pace and cadence. The lighting and cinematography were excellent, particularly at night, and the juxtapositions of Laoag settings with those of Manila were good. The themes were many and prescient—the duality of wealth but absent overseas worker parents versus the humble, values-driven closer-knit family, the lack of fair justice, the penitentiary system, the usurious lending structure for those that cannot access other means, the quiet resignation of those with no recourse in life and of course, the beauty of the dignity many have in the middle of much suffering.
“Much of the impact in our viewing probably came from the fact that it all cuts so close to home in the lives we see around us. One cannot watch this movie and be unaffected. It is one thing to view a film with themes that resonate with less than one percent of the population. It is another is to see themes that are played out daily with the vast majority of those around us. That hits you in the gut.” – Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala
“Magnificent. I saw and continue to see so many metaphors of our society at large. I imagine a second watching would reveal even more. My viewing of Filipino films directed by Lino Brocka, Mike de Leon, Ishmael Bernal and Marilou Diaz-Abaya (perhaps the last golden age of our movies in the 80s) still remains my touchstone for Philippine cinema, but Lav Diaz has clearly created an incredible work of art.” – Bobby Macasaet
Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan stars Sid Lucero, Angeli Bayani, and Archie Alemania. The screenplay is by Rody Vera and Lav Diaz; cinematography by Larry Manda. All screenings with English subtitles.
Screening times: Glorietta 4 – 1pm and 6pm daily. Robinson’s Galleria – 7pm daily. Greenhills Theatre Mall – 2:30pm and 7:30pm daily. Robinson’s Metro East – 7pm daily. Trinoma – 12:10pm and 5pm daily.