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Lav in isolation

By Rica Arevalo

This quarantine period has made us reach out to and catch up with, almost unexpectedly, to people. So it was a pleasant surprise when director Lav Diaz updated us via email about his current state.

He sent us a link of his 51st Directors’ Fortnight 2019 Cannes film, Ang Hupa (The Halt). He says, “Hindi ko naisip na mabibigyan niya ng propesiya ang nangyayari ngayon. Kaya hindi science fiction ang ‘Ang Hupa’ (It is not my intention for it to serve as a prophecy of the ongoing situation. This is why it isn’t science fiction).”

Lav Diaz

AWARD-WINING Cult filmaker Lav Diaz

In the year 2034, there is no ray of sunlight in the country. A reemergence of a flu pandemic called “The Dark Killer” murders an estimated 15 million Filipinos. People need IDs and medical certificates to roam the streets. Drones maintain peace and order of the country.

The 61-year-old maverick director recently showed his short film, Himala: Isang Dayalektika ng Ating Panahon online during the “Gabi ng Himala: Mga Await at Kwento” presented by Lockdown Cinema Club, Ricky Lee Film Scriptwriting Workshop, ABS-CBN Film Restoration, and Sagip Pelikula.

Here’s a snippet of our Q&A with Lav.

Where are you ‘quarantined?’

Sa Marikina.

What are your greatest lessons as an artist, human being in this pandemic?

Ang reyalisasyon na napakabuway at napakahina ng tao, ma-pisikal man o maging sa kamalayan niya.

(The realization that it can make us strong and weak, whether physical or in our inner lives).

What’s the best thing that happened to you in this ‘work from home’ set up?

Nabalikan ko yung mga napabayaang mga trabaho. Ang dami na palang naipon at napabayaan. 

Umangat din sa ibang antas ang pag-iingat, ang takot, ang pangamba, ang pag-aalala, ang galit, ang pagtanggap, at ang pakikibaka sa katotohanan (I went back to projects that I have been neglecting. And there are plenty. There is also an increase of awareness, of being cautious, fearful, having a stronger sense of dread, concern, even anger, but also acceptance and the struggle to look for truth).

Ang Hupa

What do you miss doing?

Pakikipaglaro sa mga apo ko, pagkakape, pagsusyut sa mga ilang na pook ng Pinas, paglalakad-lakad, paghahanap ng mga aklat, pagnanakaw ng tingin, panunood ng sine sa sinehan (I miss playing with my grandkids, drinking coffee, shooting in exotic places in the country, walking, looking for books, stealing glances, and watching in movie theaters).

What are you reading? Writing?

Nakatutok sa news lagi ngayon. Padampot-dampot din ng mga aklat bagamat nauuwi lang lagi sa mga pahapyaw na pagbubuklat at pasilip na pagbabasa. Baka makapagtapos na rin ng isang nobela.

(I focuse on the news. I pick up books too, but I end up just scanning the pages. I might be able to finish writing a novel).

What projects are you working on?

Bago nagdelubyo, nagsusyut ako ng isang pelikulang pagbabalik sa 16mm. At ini-edit ko rin ang dalawang pelikulang katatapos masyut (Before the pandemic, I was shooting a film in 16mm format. I am also editing two films that I just finished shooting).

What are your suggestions for this “new normal” situation especially when you’re doing shooting or doing film production?

Hindi ko pa alam. Hindi pa natin alam kung saan hahantong ito. Mas malamang na haharapin ko muna ang katanungang: May saysay pa ba ang aking cinema? May saysay pa ba ang cinema? May saysay pa ba ang sining? (I really don’t know. We do not know what will happen. Instead, I ask myself these questions: Is there still meaning in my cinema? Does cinema still have meaning? Does art still have sense?)

What is the first thing you will do after the enhanced community quarantine? Why?

Makikipaglaro sa mga apo ko. Hihingi ako ng tawad sa kanila sa nangyari sa China, sa Italy, sa US, sa Brazil, sa Russia, sa Pinas—sa kinahinatnan ng mundo. Sila ang magmamana ng ating kabiguan (I will play with my grandkids. I will apologize to them for the things that happened in China, Italy, the US, Brazil, Russia, the Philippines—for what’s happened to the world. They will inherit our failures).


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/04/27/lav-in-isolation/)

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