Screened as part of NZIFF 2023

When the Waves Are Gone 2022

Kapag wala nang mga alon

Directed by Lav Diaz Masters

In this haunting, grotesquely comedic thriller from Filipino art cinema hero Lav Diaz, violence, political unrest, and the dire state of a nation are the grand themes behind a tale of rival cops with a mutual death wish.

Aug 10

Light House Cinema Cuba

Aug 12

Light House Cinema Cuba

Philippines In Tagalog with English subtitles
187 minutes B&W / DCP

Director, Screenplay, Editor, Production Designer


Joaquim Sapinho
Jean-Christophe Simon
Marta Vieira Alves
Bradley Liew
Bianca Balbuena 


Larry Manda 


John Lloyd Cruz
Ronnie Lazaro
Shamaine Buencamino
Don Melvin Boongaling 


Venice, Busan 2022; Rotterdam, Sydney 2023


Turning heads with his crime and punishment epic Norte, the End of History (NZIFF 2013), Lav Diaz is a master of long-form cinema whose portraits of Philippine society are as potent as they are prolific. When the Waves Are Gone is made with consummate anger and despair, but also an allegorical surrealism that serves up bizarre humour and searing moral inquiry in equal measure.

Centred on Hermes, a maverick detective disgraced for his uncompromising anti-drug methods, the film charts his exile from crime-riddled Manila to the countryside against the revenge-obsessed Primo, a veteran police officer jailed for misconduct by Hermes a decade earlier. Primo’s release from prison unfolds in strangely horrifying fashion, a botched baptism just one of his errors of judgment along the way to tracking down Hermes. Leading us on this strangely hypnotic journey into darkness, Diaz juxtaposes the absurd derangement of these characters with lengthy and poetic philosophising on a culture of fear and corruption, where the ominous horizons depicted in Lauren Greenfield’s outstanding documentary on Philippines politics, The Kingmaker (NZIFF 2020), are brought grimly into focus. — Tim Wong

“The narrative sweep of this film slowly whisks us away and consumes us, like a storm bearing down on an eerily deserted beach.” — David Katz, Cineuropa