London Gallery West is proud to be the first London venue to present six films by Lav Diaz, one of the greatest radical artists of contemporary cinema. For this exhibition the gallery space has been transformed into an inviting cinema environment to screen a rotating programme of Diaz’s extraordinary epics.
Independent Filipino filmmaker Diaz describes himself as a storyteller who makes films about the struggles of his people. His films tell quiet tales of everyday sorrow and resilience, and of the existential quest of a people betrayed by the postcolonial nation state. His films demonstrate a radical reworking of melodrama that extends the possibilities of cinema by combining physical cinematic realism with poetry, modernist literature, painterly landscape, musical improvisation, theatrical performance, ritual intensity and duration.
Shot mostly in black and white, Diaz makes notoriously long films with the economy of means afforded by digital. Diaz’s method of filmmaking exemplifies an organic process that merges fictional storytelling with the material density and tempo of the locality of shooting. Astonishing rhythmic pacing creates a powerful dialectic between the microscopic gestures and steadfast movements of powerless bodies, the immensity of natural and historical forces, and spectral presence.
Diaz was winner of the Golden Lion at the 2016 Venice Film Festival, the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer award at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, among other prestigious prizes. He is a Radcliffe–Harvard Film Study Center Fellow. Retrospectives of his work have recently been held at the Jeu de Paume museum, Courtisane Festival, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Diaz will be in attendance in March for an international symposium on his films and artistic practice and the broader issues they raise in relation to contemporary cinema, post-colonial politics, and the challenges of viewing and exhibiting long moving image works, hosted by the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media.
SCREENING PROGRAMME SCHEDULE
Friday 27 January to Thursday 2 February, start times 9.00 and 15.00
From What is Before (2014), 338 minutes
Philippines 1970, two years before the declaration of martial law. A poet returns to his village.
Friday 3 February to Thursday 9 February, start time 10.00
Heremias (Book One: The Legend of the Lizard Princess) (2006), 510 minutes
A timid yet resolute vendor seeks answers about the theft of his cow.
Friday 10 February to Thursday 16 February, start times 9.00 and 15.00
Batang West Side (2001), 300 minutes, TBC
A Jersey cop investigates the murder of a young Filipino on West Side Avenue.
Friday 17 February – Thursday 23 February, start time 10.00
Death in the Land of Encantos (2007), 540 minutes
Shot in the Bicol region immediately after a devastating typhoon. A left intellectual and poet returns from Russia to his hometown.
Friday 24 February – Thursday 2 March, start time 10.00
A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery (2016), 485 minutes
A cinematic dialogue with José Rizal’s foundational Filipino novel El Filibusterismo set during the Spanish crushing of Filipino independence. The wives of revolutionary leaders, the Bonifacio brothers, search in battlefields and forests for their husbands.
Friday 3 March – Sunday 12 March, start times 10.00 and 15.00
The Woman Who Left (2016), 226 minutes
Inspired by Tolstoy’s God Sees the Truth, But Waits. A woman wrongly imprisoned is released after 30 years and goes in search of the man who put her there.
Accompanying the screening programme is a wide-ranging conversation series with artists, academics, curators and exhibitors in response to Diaz’s films.
Saturday 4 February, 14.00 – Award-winning Filipino contemporary artist Pio Abad will be in conversation with the exhibition curators on the significance of Diaz’s films and mode of artistic practice in the contexts of contemporary cinema and national political history.
Sunday 5 February, 14.00 – Conversation between MUBI film programmer and University of Westminster graduate Chiara Marañon and curator Adam Roberts on historical and contemporary experimentations with exhibiting durational moving image works.
Sunday 12 February, 14.00 – Diaz’s films have come to be associated with slow cinema. Film theorist Tiago de Luca will be in conversation with curator Dan Kidner about the theoretical and curatorial value of such terminology.
Saturday 18 February, 14.00 – Diaz’s films carry the legacy of third cinema and their critical exploration of political messianism. Film theorist Prof Lucia Nagib and art historian PRof Ashley Thompson will discuss the entanglement between the aesthetically radical and the theological.
The talks are free of charge but places are limited. RSVP on Eventbrite essential. Once you have registered here please email email@example.com to indicate which gallery talk/s you are registering for.
Friday 3 March to Sunday 5 March
University of Westminster, Regent Street Campus
Diaz will be in attendance for an international symposium on his films and artistic practice and the broader issues they raise. As part of the symposium there will be a special screening and conversation on Sunday 5 March in collaboration with MUBI.
Details can be found at http://www.westminter.ac.uk/london-gallery-west
Exhibition and Events co-curated by: May Adadol Ingawanij, Michael Mazière, George Clark, Julian Ross
Acknowledgements: MUBI, Asian Film Archive, Austrian Film Museum, Films Boutique, Second Run, NANG Magazine