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ELEGY TO THE VISITOR FROM THE REVOLUTION REVIEW

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Originally planned as a one minute short for Nikalexis.MOV, a program of short films dedicated to the memory of slain critics Alexis Tioseco and Nika Bohinc that featured short works by directors like Raymond Red, Rico Maria Ilarde and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Lav Diaz’s Elehiya sa Dumalaw mula sa Himagsikan (Elegy to the Visitor from the Revolution) grew both in length and concept, turning into a film that is ponderous and perplexing but is still grounded on very familiar emotions of melancholy and despair.

It is undoubtedly a film that sprung from spontaneity, with Diaz literally writing the film as he was shooting it with a cast of actors and friends who are willing and ready to take in complex roles in a very short period of time.

Walang Alaala ang mga Paru-paro (Butterflies have no Memories, 2009), Diaz’s one-hour meditation on the moral and environmental changes in an abandoned mining town in the island of Marinduque, is evident in its struggle to communicate the spare and pained aesthetics that Diaz is most famous for within an hour.

As a result, the film feels unduly hurried, rushing to arrive at its beautiful conclusion. On the other hand, Elehiya sa Dumalaw mula sa Himagsikan, despite clocking at only one hour and twenty minutes, is deliberately structured and less beholden to its narrative.

 

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