Lav Diaz Les très riches heures


Lino Brocka conceded three films to the whims of his producers in order to make one film which met up with his own demands as a film-maker: to awaken Philippine consciousness, at a time when cinema was put at the service of the dictatorship’s reign of stupor. Freed from such a pact, digital technology has enabled Lav Diaz to be Brocka’s inheritor. Since the beginning of the year 2000’s, this major figure in contemporary cinema has been making films which seek to wrench cinema from the clutches of the industry, and the Philippine individual from his tragic fate.

The fate of the Philippines is emblematic of the post-colonial condition: three centuries of Spanish domination, five decades of American sovereignty, occupation by the Japanese, and martial law under the Marcos régime. Lav Diaz considers the latter to be the fourth cataclysm in the country’s history. From Evolution of a Filipino Family (1994-2004) to From What is Before (awarded first prize at the Locarno Film Festival in 2014), he has been exposing and fighting the colonial, post-dictatorship inheritance through his portrayal of the agony of life in the provinces and their millennialist hopes.

Fueled by comics, soap-operas, rock, Dostoïevski and Tarkovski, Lav Diaz focusses on rural tales and, in his handling of them, he has devised an organic working method, which couples this spontaneity with writing. If his films are notoriously very long indeed, it is not purely for the sake of being experimental or out of some megalomania-induced desire to create works of monumental dimensions. Instead, his films are about reconquering lost time, snatched away by liturgy and Western productivism. This cycle of films gives us the opportunity to discover a section of cinema which remains largely discovered in France, and whose grandeur and beauty rivals Wang Bing and Pedro Costa.

Running from the 3rd November to the 6th December 2015, Jeu de Paume, in association with the Festival d’Automne à Paris, will be presenting the first retrospective in France of Lav Diaz’s films, along with encounters with the filmmaker himself and other invited guests.