Lav Diaz: The Beauty of Slow Cinema
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Lavrente Indico Diaz is an independent filmmaker known for his lengthy narrative films. He is one of the movers of slow cinema. To be exact, he is a member of the Philippine New Wave, a movement that goes against mainstream cinema. When it comes to slow films, the length isn’t necessarily important, it is through the cinematic techniques such as slow cutting rates, still camera movements, and longer shots over close-ups, to make the overall feel. This technique clearly goes against mainstream cinema’s continuous action, spontaneous camera movements, and clear variations in shot sizes. Slow films invite a sense of placidity and tranquility. Among Diaz’ feature films are Elehiya sa dumalaw mula sa himagsikan (2011) which is only eighty minutes long, Batang West Sid (2001) which is 315 minutes long, and Ebolusyon ng isang pamilyang Pilipino (2004) which is 660 minutes long. These films bagged Best Asian Feature Film, Silver Screen Awards, Best Picture, MOV International Film Festival, and Special Jury Prize, Fribourgh International Film Festival, consecutively. Perhaps one of his most famous work is Melancholia, a film that won Best Film in the Orizzonti section of the 2008 Venice Film Festival, may share insights as to why slow cinema persists. The film is 450-minutes long and is made of 149 shots with a whopping average 181 seconds per shot. The scenes of this film come from a single take, there is no editing between scenes. Diaz perfectly molds a melancholic feeling into the film through long shots that veer the audience’s attention into the contemplative aspect of characters’ situation.

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