As no other filmmaker, Lav Diaz is involved with the suffering of the people of the Philippines, with its history of colonialism, corruption and poverty. A philosophical drama about the psychological effects of injustice and arbitrariness. Two poor labourers leave the city looking for a treasure.
A fucking draining film, it takes so much out of you watching it, watching Florentina suffer and a couple of characters engaging in futile searches. There are no easy ways out in this film; even though there's nothing explicit in its portrayal, the fact that we spend that much time with the characters in their repetitive activities is exhausting.Filipinos may have a short memory, but Lav ensures that we remember.
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!
It is a wonderful film. The film is like a closed box that does not allow you to escape. Florentina's traumatic life is what you have to experience up-close, there is no turning back. Hyperrealist I will call it, the violence mostly happens outside the frame, and yet the film couldn't have been more violent.
Suffering as an unescapable part of life, as something towards which (and as an audience "in front of which") we cannot do much about.
On another hand, the way suffering and evil are presented makes one almost naturalize and accept it – to a point of almost turning it against the film's perspective itself.
It also flirts with redundancy at some points (and I don't mean those when Florentina repeats her name).