I saw my first Lav Diaz film and I did not enjoy myself at all. It was such dense material and not in a good way. It was heavy-handed and the craft overpowered the story. Diaz’s style was taking centerstage to the narrative and it was just completely a difficult four hours in the cinema.
Read my review here: ‘Ang Panahon ng Halimaw’: A Discordant Message of the Times (ClickTheCity).
I’m noticing this whole trend of loving these movies for their message and disregarding the way the story is being told. Nobody is really talking about the craft or the over-indulgence in storytelling — so many bells and whistles and an overabundance of symbolism — that drowns the thematic reach of the films. But these works are being heralded as “masterpieces” just because what they have to say aligns with what they believe in.
All films have messages. Even the big blockbuster extravaganzas have the simple truth of good versus evil. They all have messages. What separates a good film from a bad film is its execution; how they tell the story.
It’s in the how that makes the difference.
At least I’ve seen a Lav Diaz movie already. I think that’s all I can really take.