The first major epic in the oeuvre of Lav Diaz (b. 1958) is a powerful contemporary portrait of the Filipino diaspora in New York and New Jersey: A Filipino-born detective investigates the murder of Hanzel Harana, a Filipino teenager, and must plod along with tenacity to break through the wall of silence surrounding the boy's death. The trail of the designer drug "shabu" runs through the film like a bloody trickle, but Diaz delegates the accounts of crime, domestic violence, and the discontent in the souls of his characters to the background for the most part, instead relying on the hypnotic portrait of a decaying life as a symbol of alienation from home. The more we learn about the protagonists, the more complex, intangible, and contradictory our image of them becomes.
Batang West Side - USA/Philippines 2001 - Written and directed by: Lav Diaz - Cinematography: Miguel V. Fabie III - Music: Joey Ayala - Cast: Joel Torre, Yul Servo, Priscilla Almeda, Gloria Diaz, Arthur Acuņa - Produced by: Hinabing Pangarap Productions & JMCN Productions - Premiere: December 15, 2001 (Cinemanila International Filmfestival)
The Boy Who Chose the Earth - Philippines 2018 - Written and directed by: Lav Diaz - Cast: Sid Mikes Garcia, Satya Paningbatan - Produced by: Sine Olivia Pilipinas for Viennale
About the film
The film has no illusions of heroism. We have no intention of bragging that we are special. We simply wish to contribute to the development and growth of the long-awaited new direction of Philippine Cinema. We wish to help (even if just a little) in its overthrow, and ultimate change.At the same time, we are also unafraid to create a different impression among people; it's all part of the process. The Philippines has been left too far behind in world cinema (meaning not Hollywood but WORLD CINEMA, where the startling new works of Iranian and Taiwanese filmmakers can be found). It is a new age, and we need courage to innovate and create. We need to begin developing a National Cinema, a cinema that will help create a responsible Filipino people. That is the vision that inspired Batang West Side.
DVD features (2-disc DVD)
- Batang West Side I 2001, 146'
- 20 pages bilingual booklet
- Batang West Side II 2001, 143'
- The Boy Who Chose the Earth 2018, 2'
Edited by: Österreichisches Filmmuseum
DVD authoring: Tobias Dressel, Gunther Bittmann
DVD supervision: Eszter Kondor
First Edition May 2022