Read the review of Norte in Film Comment.
Sight & Sound Names “Act of Killing” Top Film of 2013
LONDON — Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” has been voted film of the year by Sight & Sound, the U.K. magazine for cinephiles.
The magazine, which is published by the British Film Institute, published its top 30 films of the year after polling more than 100 international critics, curators and academics. Each contributor nominated their top five films, from which the final list was constructed.
1. “The Act of Killing,” Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/U.K./Norway/Germany/Finland/Sweden/Netherlands/Poland
2. “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuaron, Mexico/U.S.
3. “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” Abdellatif Kechiche, Belgium/Spain/France
4. “The Great Beauty,” Paolo Sorrentino, France/Italy
5. “Frances Ha,” Noah Baumbach, Brazil/U.S.
=6. “A Touch of Sin,” Jia Zhangke, China
=6. “Upstream Color,” Shane Carruth, U.S.
8. “The Selfish Giant,” Clio Barnard, U.K.
=9. “Norte, the End of History,” Lav Diaz, Philippines
=9. “Stranger by the Lake,” Alain Guiraudie, France
We texted Lav Diaz the news. His reply: “Wasak. Nasa Babuyan Islands area. Shooting.”
* * * * *
How We Became An Executive Producer of Norte, the End of History
Disclaimer: This is a product of randomness and sheer dumb luck. Any resemblance to the actual work of executive producers is coincidental.
Short Version: We have a big mouth and a habit of interfering in our friends’ projects (pakialamera).
1. Initially, we were in the cheering section.
In 2012 our friends decided to make a movie. Wacky O read a news story about a convict who made parol—Xmas lanterns. “That’s our movie,” she declared.
“Yay, we’re making a movie!”
2. Someone mentioned Dostoevsky.
Rody Vera was working on the screenplay. He said it was loosely based on Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
“Dostoevsky!” we cried. “Russian lit!” Then we hounded the team to see Robert Bresson’s sort-of adaptation of C+P, Pickpocket.
3. Lav Diaz signed on as director.
“Uhh…cinematic genius, yes, and makes six, eight, eleven-hour movies. Better put a clause in the contract specifying that the finished film should be no more than two and a half hours long,” we told producer Moira L.
The finished film went over our suggested limit—it is four hours and ten minutes long—but it is one of the shortest films in Lav Diaz’s oeuvre.
4. The film was called Norte, Ang Hangganan ng Kasaysayan, and it went to the Cannes Film Festival.
Norte got glowing reviews and distribution offers.
5. Moira L. wanted to handle the business end of Norte.
“Then why don’t you buy it?” we said.
6. Quite inadvertently, we found funding.
“Can we get producer credit?” we asked Moira L.
“Executive producer,” said Moira L.
And that’s how we got our name affixed to a masterwork.
Norte, Ang Hangganan ng Kasaysayan, will be shown at the Cinemanila Film Festival this month.