Study the past, Lav Diaz urges Pinoys


Posted at Mar 03 2016 06:00 AM

Lav Diaz shares conversation with Meryl Streep

MANILA - Film icon Lav Diaz has criticized Filipinos for failing to confront the demons of the nation's past, instead opting to accept historical revisionism leading to a "dysfunctional" and a "displaced" society.

In an interview on Wednesday's episode of "Tonight with Boy Abunda," Diaz, the director of the acclaimed eight-hour epic "Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis," said that Filipinos should dig for the truth and examine the country's "beautiful" past so that they can find what he called "the Filipino soul."

In describing the goal of his film, Diaz said: "As a cultural worker, we must struggle to be very near the essential truth. Like in this case, alam natin iyan, ang lawak, ang haba na ng denial natin about the murderers of the Bonifacio brothers."

He added: "We don't talk about it, but we have to confront it. We have to confront the past, examine the past, history. Nandoon iyong mga katotohanan eh. We have to dig it up. Nandoon iyong soul natin. We have to find it."

"Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis," which took home the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize at the recent Berlin International Film Festival, is a story that focuses on the Philippine revolution and tracks the influence of Andres Bonifacio.

"We have this beautiful history. Ang ganda ng kasaysayan natin. May pinaglaban ang mga bayani natin. Harapin natin at yakapin natin ito and we can be a beautiful nation one day. We will find it, the Filipino soul," explained Diaz.

Accompanying him in the interview was the film's producer, director Paul Soriano, who admitted that he dedicated his time in helping Diaz with the project in order to learn from a great storyteller.

"What an opportunity for a young filmmaker to put himself on the side of a great storyteller, and for me to pick his brain and bring it into my cinema, to learn from him. It's about time the Philippines recognize the cinema of Lav Diaz," he said.


A photo posted by Paul Soriano (@paulsoriano1017) on

Like Soriano, a host of other Filipino stars like Kapamilya actors John Lloyd Cruz, and Piolo Pascual, as well as former Eraserheads frontman Ely Buendia wanted to work with Diaz for what the director described as "whole-hearted pagtulong."

"When we were doing the casting, suddenly pumasok na si John Lloyd, Ely Buendia, and Piolo Pascual. Everyone was like coming on board --it was magic. We didn't plan it. Generosity ng spirits iyon eh," Diaz shared.

Asked about his experience of meeting Hollywood icon Meryl Streep in Berlin, Diaz replied: "Very generous siya. She approached us. Mabait siya"

"She was telling me that while watching the film, she thought of the old days of watching cinema where they had patience, time. Ngayon daw nagmamadali na lahat. She said that it was very, very nostalgic and sad. She loved the film. And she wants to watch it again in the US."

A local screening for "Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis" is expected to be announced soon.