A chronicle of the struggles of a young woman held captive by her father and forced into prostitution in the Bicol region of the Philippines. Her story eventually intersects with that of a farmer and his dying wife, as well as that of two treasure seekers from the city.
A two-year shoot expanded a story of poor treasure hunters into one interwined with the tale of a woman who drifts through the countryside looking to understand her addled mind and damaged body. As our critic reported upon the film’s premiere in Rotterdam, this is “cinema at its most basic, naked.”
Lav Diaz is one of the greatest artists in cinema today. 6 hours of stunning cinema. Don't expect to see this playing at your local commercial theater. Not unless it is part of a film festival. This is the second film I have seen by Diaz, the other was 5 hours long, both worth every minute! . 3/23/17 Even better the 2nd viewing. (projected) This is what makes my Mubi subscription worth the yearly price. Thanks, Mubi!
Diaz's is a cinema of negation which on occasion makes contact with the real. full embodiment of Adamic fall/father One should take the opposite view that of the torturer and Christ the feminine, spirit keeps the body imprisoned We connect to the temporal space of trauma which is often inaudible/she reaches out to the giants not reaching to something more but the negation of nothing reaching out to less than nothing
Must see. Contemplative, nonlinear, extremely slow paced. Perfect in its genre. A story placed nowhere, after the end of the world. An one man show - Lav Diaz is credited as producer and writer and director and cinematographer and editor.
["CTE" stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy and it is caused by a severe blow or repeated blows to the head. Typical symptoms of CTE range from depression to dementia.]
The film is full of breathtaking but also cruel shots, some of which contain a rare beauty (e.g. the sequences in the boat or the mute shots in the woods) while others appear like framed genre paintings, sometimes containing allegorical scenes (like the pietà group sitting in the brook). By using non-linear narration and allegories Diaz creates a very sophisticated movie, but in the end everything fits together.
I've never been a fan of Lav's primitive visual form; wide angle and basic framing which detaches the immersion and makes you feel at a distance. His films lack the thematic interest of works such as Satantango and although I admire slowness and contemplation so much, Lav's works often feel more an endurance test rather than extended immersion. In many ways, his form is closer to Benning than masters like Tarr.
I'm happy to count myself among the company of Diaz converts, and am grateful to MUBI for having given me ample opportunity to gorge on this stuff. Though FLORENTINA contains some of Diaz's best stuff, and though this is not the first of his films to operate in a register that can only be called shrill, this time it started to get to me a bit. Interesting here is the new means he discover to enhance expressivity.