It doesn’t rank up there with his longest feature, but Filipino director Lav Diaz‘s latest film, A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery, is likely the most epic experience one can have at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival. It clocks in at 485 minutes (just over 8 hours), and, if all goes according to plan, we’ll have a review later next week. Today brings our first look.
For his latest feature, which is competing for the Golden Bear at the festival, Diaz examines the history of his native land through the story of the father of the Philippine Revolution, Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro. Starring Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz, Hazel Orencio, Alessandra De Rossi, and Joel Saracho, check out the synopsis, poser, stills, and poster below, and check back for our review.
Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro is considered to be one of the most influential proponents in the struggle against Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines during the late nineteenth century. Today, he is still celebrated as the father of the Philippine Revolution. Director Lav Diaz examines this myth and undertakes another expedition into the eventful history of his native land. The film’s various loosely interwoven narrative threads are held together by an exploration of the role of the individual in history and their involvement in political and social developments. Bonifacio’s widow is searching for her husband’s missing dead body; as she and her followers stumble deeper into the jungle, they become entangled in the dense thicket of their own guilt and responsibility. The Spanish governor tries to play off the various rebel factions and their utopian visions against each other. At the same time, a badly wounded companion of Bonifacio reflects upon the victims a revolution inevitably creates. The film’s high-contrast black-and-white photography makes the journey into the past abstract. Mythology, facts and a vibrant sense of history merge.
A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery premieres on February 18th at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival.