At last month’s Berlinale I managed to sit down with a pair of compelling filmmakers for a bit of conersation: Lav Diaz and James Benning. Though the Benning piece still needs some time, my thoughts on Diaz’s newest film, Season of the Devil, are now online over at Photogenie.
“Lav Diaz’s latest opens on a paramilitary site, freshly bunkered down and established as local headquarters in what was formerly the elementary school of the small town of Ginto, in the Philippines. After a brief narration establishes that we are in the year 1979 and that what we will see were real events (with a touch of magical realism), we watch female military leader Teniente sit at her desk in silence. She is joined by a frumpy man with a half-burnt face, Ahas. Both serve fanatically under the man behind the madness: Chairman Narciso, whose face is posted on flyers all over town. In what comes as a mild surprise, the first dialog is sung. Teniente and Ahas half-sing of the need for a new belief which they can gift the people of their country. They must find a way to provide some certainty in these uncertain times. Apart from their penchant for singing, they are nearly indistinguishable in appearance and attitude from militias in other Diaz efforts like From What Is Before (2014) and Melancholia (2008)…”
Read the full review here