Thursday, March 26, 2015

Jason goes to CAAMFest--Day 6

Just one film last week Tuesday, but it was a doozy and my favorite of the festival, Lav Diaz's STORM CHILDREN: BOOK ONE. For Lav Diaz, this was practically a short, clocking in at under 2.5 hours. Now, I have no idea how to convince anyone that the black and white, mostly wordless documentary about about survivors of super-typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines is the best movie ever. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned that it was almost all in long, static shots. I know, it sounds boring, and I've talked to other people since then who thought it was boring. But they're wrong, it's brilliant. Children walking around, playing in the garbage, picking out plastic bottles, while the world around them rebuilds from the devastation. But the long, static shots and the way he frames them create a sort of...I don't know what to call it, but it's an opportunity to be keenly aware of the act of watching a film...truly watching, not just waiting for what will happen next. There are layers in his composition, and for a while you'll watch the kids...then the cars on the street...then the ripples in the water...then the windows on the house in the background...then the tree swaying in the breeze behind that. And after he spends about 2 hours creating this, he breaks it. He has the kids talk (about how their homes and families were destroyed by the storm,) and he even follows them on a walk along the beach (a moving camera in a Lav Diaz film! Shocking!) And it ends with an amazing tableau of kids climbing all over abandoned ships to jump into the water. Yeah, I don't know how to convince anyone that this movie is freaking brilliant. And I'm not sure I want to, since so many will probably disagree. But I loved it. I've only ever seen his 4.5 hour NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY before, but now I want to see his really long films, like the 11 hour EVOLUTION OF A FILIPINO family.

Running Time: 142 minutes
My Total Minutes: 391,431

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