Lav Diaz’s “Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon” won the coveted Golden Leopard at the 67th Locarno International Film Festival. Hereunder are excerpts from the news story as reported by the Film Development Council of the Philippines website.
Led by Italian director Gianfranco Rosi, the jury which also included actresses Alice Braga and Connie Nielsen, had chosen the film for the festival’s top honor. Awards were given out during a ceremony held last Saturday evening in Switzerland.
The five-hour-and-a-half film, presented in black-and-white, revolves around the lives of poor villagers in one of the remotest regions of the Philippines before Martial Law was declared. Loosely based on real events and characters, the film examines how an individual and collective psyche responds to extreme and mysterious changes in social and physical environment. The film was produced by Sine Olivia Pilipinas and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).
Speaking to the Locarno press, Diaz is quoted as saying, “I want to dedicate this to my father. He brought me Cinema, he’s a cinema addict, and he started this passion in me. For the Filipino people, it’s for them, for their struggle, and then I would like to dedicate it to all serious filmmakers in the world, to Pedro Costa, he’s my brother and I love his work, to Matías Piñeiro, and to the makers of all the other film in the competition.” When asked if “this is the victory of Slow Cinema over Fast Cinema?” Diaz replied, “Everything is Cinema for me, so I don’t want to label things.”
FDCP Chairman Briccio Santos cites, “The award is an unprecedented honor for our country. We are elated considering it has been quite some time that a Filipino film landed in the main competition of an A-list film festival such as Locarno. It is an affirmation of the perseverance of filmmakers like Lav Diaz, to bring to the world’s attention the story of our people and the saga of our nation as we strive and struggle for better conditions and well-being for our countrymen. It is through cinema that we can recover our soul and voice as a people and that is why this film by Lav Diaz and its victory is so significant and most meaningful.”
The film also was bestowed with the Premio FIPRESCI, the Premio “L’ambiente e qualita di vita,” and the Premio FICC/IFFS (Federation Internationale des cine-clubs/ International Federation of Film Societies). Earlier, the film’s star Hazel Orencio won the Boccalino de Oro Independent Critics Award for Best Actress.
The FDCP is working on an immediate screening run of the film here in the Philippines.
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