Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
For those who favour cinema that accumulates its power slowly, this new film by the Filipino director Lav Diaz was the one to relish at Cannes this year.
“Norte, the End of History grapples with big abstract themes – justice, the nature of evil, guilt, fate, love – but keeps them firmly rooted in the concrete particulars of Philippine society. A drop-out law student grows ever more twisted in his take on life, airing political views that could be construed as fascist and deliberately alienating friends and family. Another man, decent and simple, seems incapable of providing for his impoverished family. When the student murders the pawnbroker who lends them both money, as well as her daughter, the other man is mistakenly jailed for the crime.There are clear nods to Dostoevsky, but the student’s descent into ever more horrific depths is only one element, beautifully counterpointed with the imprisoned man’s spiritual awakening, his wife’s struggle to cope without him and raise their children, and their continued love for each other despite the hand they’ve been dealt. The episodic, unpredictable narrative proceeds by way of a series of stunning long takes, all visually and spatially perfectly choreographed.
It’s a mesmerising experience that grows deeper and broader the longer it goes on.” — Kieron Corless, Sight & Sound
“The film that really excited me [at Cannes] in a way that others didn’t is the four-hour Lav Diaz film Norte, the End of History, which I felt was extraordinary… Using those four hours to take a narrative in unexpected directions, it was beautiful and unexpected.” — Jonathan Romney, Film Comment