By the time his films A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery and The Woman Who Left received awards at the festivals in Berlin and Venice in 2016, Lav Diaz had established himself as one of the most influential filmmakers of our time. His works which often have epic running times are reflections on time and transience and simultaneously precise analyses of the Philippine's history and their current political situation.
With The Halt (Philippines 2019) Diaz for the first time paints a gloomy picture of the future of his country, which is marked by the same authoritarian structures that characterize the current politics of the Philippines.
A musical interpretation of the past can be experienced with Season of the Devil (Philippines 2018), which investigates the reign of terror under Dictator Marcos. The »Rock Opera«, as the director himself calls it, premiered at last year's Berlinale.
In the nine-hour hybrid film Death in the Land of Encantos (Philippines 2007), a poet returns to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines after years of Russian exile to bury his father and reflect once again on the fate of his homeland. Diaz presented the film at the 2007 Venice Film Festival.
That same year Céline Sciamma made her highly acclaimed directorial debut at the Cannes Film Festival in the section »Un Certain Regard« with Water Lilies (France 2007). The film tells a story about desire and friendship in a girls' club for synchronized swimming. The film already showed Sciamma's unusual and precise vision of young protagonists and her understanding of the permeability of gender roles, which also shape her later works. Sciamma, with her stories about individuals in conflict with social conventions, has established herself as a distinctive voice at the most important international festivals. So her second directorial work Tomboy (France 2011) opened the »Panorama« section of the Berlinale. Through the story of a girl posing as a boy, the film shows the childlike search for identity in a world shaped by conformism.
Céline Sciamma also works as a scriptwriter for other filmmakers. She has already worked with Pascale Ferran and André Techiné and also wrote the screenplay for Claude Barras’ stop motion film My life as a Courgette (Switzerland, France 2016). The film tells the story of a boy in an orphanage who finds new friendships there and has to stand his ground against adults.
As co-founder of the »5050x2020« initiative, Sciamma is committed to achieving equality between men and women in the film industry by 2020 and worked with a largely female team on her new film Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France 2019), which focuses on the relationship between two women: A painter is commissioned to paint the portrait of a noble woman to seal the connection with an Italian nobleman. But gradually the women realize that they are attracted to one another. The film was awarded the prize for best screenplay at this year's Cannes Film Festival and will have its German premiere at FILMFEST HAMBURG in the presence of leading actresses Adèle Haenel and Noémi Merlant and the director.
The 27th edition of FILMFEST HAMBURG takes place from September 26 to October 5 2019 in the festival cinemas Abaton, CinemaxX Dammtor, Metropolis, Passage and Studio Cinema.
Contemporary cinema in focus: Lav Diaz
Piolo Pascual, Joel Lamangan, Shaina Magdayao, Hazel Orencio
Season of the Devil
Piolo Pascual, Shaina Magdayao, Pinky Amador, Bituin Escalante
Death in the Land of Encantos (Kagadanan Sa Banwaan Ning Mga Engkanto)
Roeder Camanag, Perry Dizon, Anglei Bayani, Dante Perez
Contemporary cinema in focus: Céline Sciamma
Portrait of a lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu)
Valeria Golino, Adele Haenel, Noémie Merlant, Luàna Bajrami
Alamode Film in cooperation with Wild Bunch Germany, release date: 31.10.2019
My life as a Courgette (Ma vie de Courgette)
Switzerland, France 2016
Screenplay: Céline Sciamma
Zoé Heran, Malonn Lévana, Jeanne Disson, Sophie Cattani
Water Lilies (Naissance of the Pieuvres)
Pauline Acquart, Louise Blachère, Adèle Haenel, Warren Jacquin
Photo credits: Céline Sciamma (c) Claire Mathon / Lav Diaz (c) Grandfilm