Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2013) screened at the New York Film Festival!

Belated news: Lav Diaz's Norte was screened at the New York Film Festival last September 29. 

Would have been nice to know about it beforehand--but nice to know it was screened there, nevertheless.

My Film Comment article on in my book the best film of the year


In Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (Norte: the End of History) Fabian (Sid Lucero) is our brilliant yet alienated Raskolnikov; Magda (wonderful Mae Paner) the massively avaricious pawnbroker Mrs. Ivanovna. Archie Alemania plays Joaquin, and we're not sure who is his equivalent in the novel, only that he's another of Magda's client, as desperate if not more so than Fabian (he and his wife were about to open a small diner when an accident cripples him and sucks up his startup capital).

The first half feels like a direct transposition to a Philippine setting: Fabian is a topnotch law student who has dropped out for vague reasons, which hasn't stopped him from eloquently, endlessly debating with friends and former law professors. Like Raskolnikov Fabian believes in a sentiment-hating, results-oriented, vaguely Nietzschean philosophy; like Raskolnikov Fabian longs to put his philosophy into practice in the most radical way possible: by killing an utterly irredeemable (in his mind anyway) human being, the fat and heartless Magda, and stealing her money. The deed done the film takes a quietly radical turn: instead of a relentless manhunt, a false accusation; instead of Raskolnikov's desperate evasion of the authorities Fabian embarks on an existential and at one point self-destructive quest.

Why the departure? One can't be sure--I suspect even Diaz is uncertain--but one can hazard a few guesses.


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