Film Series / Events

Browse All Film Series

March 29 – March 31, 2019

Season of the Devil by Lav Diaz

The latest work by Filipino master director Lav Diaz (b. 1958) reaffirms his status as one of the most courageously uncompromising and visionary artists working in cinema today. A stark, harrowing, yet utterly mesmerizing vision of life under the brutal Marcos dictatorship, Season of the Devil adds another chapter to the tableau history of the modern Philippines unfolding across major Diaz films including his recent From What Is Before (2014) and The Woman Who Left (2016). In Season of the Devil Diaz takes a bold new direction by asking his actors to sing, acapella, a score of thirty songs written by the director in a return to his first career as a rock musician. A kind of rock opera, Season of the Devil is animated by a raw theatricality that tests and extends the actors’ voices, giving a breathing and incantatory quality to songs that move from plaintive ballads to menacing chants to repeating choral cries. Set in 1979, at the height of Marcos’ reign, Season of the Devil revolves around a selfless young doctor who leaves her poet husband behind to depart for the remote Ginto Island to run a village clinic in defiance of a local female-led militia determined to undermine her efforts. Hovering darkly over the film is a terrifying and literally two-faced tyrant, the ruthless Chairman Narisco who pointedly melds qualities of Marcos with current Presidential despot Rodrigo Duterte to offer a frightening reminder of the dark cyclicality of history. Season of the Devil was, in fact, conceived while Diaz was a 2017-18 Film Study Center-Radcliffe Fellow, researching a still planned personal history of Filipino cinema but also writing songs as a way to address the painful news of the horrific violence and injustice unleashed across the Philippines as Duterte began to consolidate power. Among Diaz’ darkest films, Season of the Devil nevertheless offers a fragile emblem of hope in the figures of the noble doctor and her idealistic poet husband, as well as the mysteriously fleeting woman played by popular Filipina singer Bituin.

The Harvard Film Archive and the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies are happy to welcome Lav Diaz as a 2018-19 Baby Jane Holzer Visiting Artist in Film. Together with his newest film Diaz will also present and discuss two earlier works, his meta-cinematic magnum opus, Century of Birthing as well as his celebrated and powerful Dostoevsky-inspired allegory, Norte, the End of History. – Haden Guest

Co-sponsored by the Asia Center.

Special thanks: Robin Kelsey, Dean of Arts and Humanities, Harvard; Lucien Castaing-Taylor—Film Study Center and the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard; Austrian Film Museum; and Laura Frahm—VES; and Hazel Orencio.

 

 

 

 

 

 


$12 Special Event Tickets
Lav Diaz in Person

Friday March 29 at 6pm

Season of the Devil (Ang panahon ng halimaw)

Directed by Lav Diaz. With Piolo Pascual, Shaina Magdayao, Bituin Escalante
Philippines 2018, DCP, b/w, 234 min. Filipino and Tagalog with English subtitles

Also screening as part of the Cinema of Resistance program. DCP courtesy Films Boutique.

Browse Other Series from this Season
Return to Top

$12 Special Event Tickets
Lav Diaz in Conversation with John Gianvito

Saturday March 30 at 2pm

Century of Birthing
(Siglo ng pagluluwal)

Directed by Lav Diaz. With Angel Aquino, Joel Torre, Perry Dizon
Phillippines 2001, digital video, b/w, 360 min. Filipino and Tagalog with English subtitles

Century of Birthing finds Diaz taking stock of the creative process after three years during which he found himself unable to complete a film. The protagonist is a Diaz-like filmmaker whose struggles are juxtaposed with scenes from the lives of a Christian cult living in the countryside. Out of these storylines emerges a meditation on art and faith, the rational and the irrational, the purpose of creativity, and the relation between the political and the spiritual. The filmmaker finds himself growing more and more ensnared in a thicket of doubt until a madwoman enters the scene.

Browse Other Series from this Season
Return to Top

$12 Special Event Tickets
Lav Diaz in Person

Sunday March 31 at 6pm

Norte, the End of History (Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan)

Directed by Lav Diaz. With Sid Lucero, Angeli Bayana, Archie Alemania
Philippines 2013, DCP, color, 250 min. Filipino and Tagalog with English subtitles

The vicious murder of a pawnbroker lies at the heart of the first of Diaz’ films to be released to theaters in the US. An overt reference to Crime and Punishment, the murder also proves the link between Norte’s two protagonists: a cynical university student and an impoverished street peddler. In color and running only four hours, Norte is somewhat of a departure from Diaz’ other recent work; nevertheless, the filmmaker remains as bristling with outrage as ever at the moral bankruptcy that sprouts from the political disarray of the Philippines, past and present. Even at a shorter length, Diaz’ mix of everyday episodes, moments of tenderness, off-screen events and sudden cataclysm startles and arrests. DCP courtesy Cinema Guild.

Browse Other Series from this Season
Return to Top