Lav Diaz

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[1]. Lav Diaz. Photo by Ruth Ehrmann on

Lavrente Indico Diaz (born 30 December 1958) is a multi-awarded independent filmmaker (director, writer, producer, editor, cinematographer, poet, composer, production designer and actor) from Cotabato,Mindanao.

He is a key member of the slow cinema movement, the art of cinema film-making that emphasizes long takes, and is often minimalist, observational, and with little or no narrative. He is especially noted for the length of his films, some of which run for up to eleven hours. He had been making films since the late 90s but only became well-known outside of the Philippines after the release of his 2013 film Norte, the End of History. It was an entry to the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. His films, which has six to nine hours runtime, reveal how much others leave out.

His films often tackle the issues regarding the current social and political state of the Philippines. He himself said, “I would go to any extent in my art to fathom the mystery of humankind’s existence. I want to understand death. I want to understand solitude. I want to understand struggle. I want to understand the philosophy of a growing flower in the middle of a swamp.”

His eight-hour Melancholia, a story about victims of summary executions, won the Grand Prize-Orizzonti award at the Venice Film Festival 2008. His work Kagadanan sa Nanwaan Ning mga Engkanto (Death in the Land of Encantos) also competed and represented the country at the Venice Film Festival documentary category in 2007. It was granted a Special Mention-Orizzonti. The Venice Film Festival calls him "the ideological father of the New Philippine Cinema". He recently won the Alfred Bauer Prize for Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery) at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival and the Golden Lion for Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left) at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.


Creative Process

Diaz says that he usually writes his scripts while shooting, letting his creative instincts take over and allowing the story to evolve as filming progresses. He tends not to follow industry conventions, such as using film scores or using quick shots for his scenes. He says that using long takes, aside from giving scenes more pathos or emotional depth, is his way of expressing an important part of his culture: that Filipinos, as Malays, are not governed by the concept of time.


As a young man, Diaz was particularly inspired by Lino Brocka's Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag, describing it as the film that opened his eyes to the power of cinema. Since then, he made it his mission to make good art films for the sake of his fellow Filipinos. His body of work has led critics to call him both an “artist-as-conscience” and the heir to Lino Brocka. Diaz has also been compared to other great Filipino directors such as Ishmael Bernal, Mike de Leon and Peque Gallaga, whose films examined the ills of Filipino society.

Other films that made a big impact on him were Insiang, Kundiman ng Lahi, Matimbang ang Dugo sa Tubig, Galo Gimbal, Nunal sa Tubig, Kisapmata, Salome, and Moises Padilla Story.


  • Ang babaeng humayo, 2016
  • Ang araw bago ang wakas (Short), 2016
  • Hele sa hiwagang hapis 2016
  • Fragment 2015
  • Mula sa kung ano ang noon, 2014
  • Alamat ni China Doll, 2013
  • Ang alitaptap (Short), 2013
  • Prologo sa ang dakilang desaparacido (Short), 2013
  • Norte, hangganan ng kasaysayan, 2013
  • Pagsisiyasat sa gabing ayaw lumimot (Documentary), 2012
  • Florentina Hubaldo, CTE, 2012
  • Siglo ng pagluluwal, 2011
  • Walang alaala ang mga paru-paro (Short), 2009
  • Visitors, 2009
  • Melancholia, 2008
  • Kagadanan sa banwaan ning mga engkanto, 2007
  • Heremias: Unang aklat - Ang alamat ng prinsesang bayawak, 2006
  • Imahe nasyon, 2006
  • Evolution of a Filipino Family, 2004
  • Headless (Pugot), 2004
  • Hesus, rebolusyunaryo, 2002
  • Batang West Side, 2001
  • Hubad sa ilalim ng buwan, 1999
  • Serafin Geronimo: Ang kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion, 1998
  • Galvez: Hanggang sa dulo ng mundo hahanapin kita, 1993
  • Mabuting kaibigan masamang kaaway, 1991

Awards and recognition

  • Best Actor (Raymond Bagatsing) for The Criminal of Barrio Concepcion– Gawad Urian 1999
  • Silver Screen Award Nominee (2000, Hubad sa Ilalim ng Buwan, Best Asian Feature Film)
  • NETPAC Award – Cinemanila International Film Festival; Best Picture – Singapore International Film Festival; Best Picture and Best Actor (Joel Torre and Yul Servo) – Brussels Independent Film Festival; Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Joel Torre), Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Supporting Actress (Gloria Diaz), Best Supporting Actor (Raul Arellano) Best Music, Best Sound – Gawad Urian 2002 for Batang West Side
  • .MOV Awardee (2003, Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino; Best Picture)
  • Lino Brocka Awardee (2004, Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino)
  • Best Picture – Gawad Urian 2005 for Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino, Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Production Design
  • Jury Prize – Fribourg International Film Festival 2006 for Heremias (Book One: The Legend of the Lizard Princess)
  • Grand Prix Nominee (2006, Heremias, Fribourg International Film Festival)
  • NETPAC Award – Jeonju International Film Festival; Best Picture – Jogja International Film Festival; Special Mention – Orrizonti Price, Venice International Film Festival for Kagadanan Sa Banwaan Ning Mga Engkanto, 2007
  • Gawad Urian Award Nominee (2007, Imahenasyon, Best Short Film)
  • Venice Horizons at the 65th Venice International Film Festival; Best Actress (Angeli Bayani) – Cinemanila International Film Festival for Melancholia, 2008
  • Silver Hanoman (2008, Death in the Land of Encantos, Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival)
  • Young Critics Circle Awardee (2008, Death in the Land of Encantos; Best Achievement in Cinematography and Visual Design)
  • Best Production Design, Dante Perez ("Death int eh Land of Encantos, Gawad Urian 2008)
  • Indie Spirit Award, 2009, Cinemanila International Film Festival
  • Ani ng Dangal Award for Film 2009, The National Commission for Culture and the Arts
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 2010
  • Grand Jury Prize – Cinemanila International Film Festival for Siglo ng Pagluluwal, 2011
  • On Screen Award – Images Festival of Toronto; NETPAC Award and Best Asian Feature – Jeonju International Film Festival for Florentina Hubaldo, CTE, 2012
  • Un Certain Regard – 2013 Cannes Film Festival Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Angeli Bayani) and Best Cinematography – Gawad Urian 2014
  • Prince Claus Award of The Netherlands, 2014
  • Golden Leopard – Locarno International Film Festival; FIPRESCI International Critics' Prize (Locarno 2014); Don Quixote Prize (Locarno 2014); Boccalino de Oro Independent Critics' Award for Best Actress (Hazel Orencio, Locarno 2014); Environment is quality of life Prize (Locarno 2014); Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Editor – Gawad Urian 2015; Grand Prize, Best Ensemble Performance – World Premieres Film Festival 2014 for Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon
  • Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize – Berlin International Film Festival for Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, 2016
  • Golden Lion – Venice Film Festival for Ang Babaeng Humayo, 2016
  • Principal Prize – 62nd International Short Film Festival Oberhausen; Best Feature – 14th Tabor Film Festival for Ang Araw bago ang Wakas, 2016
  • The Radcliffe Fellowship of Harvard University, 2016-2017


External Links

  • [52] Melancholia, Roberto Herrera
  • [53] The Rise of the Indies, Tito Valiente
  • [54] The Death Scene in Ebolusyon
  • [55] Lav Diaz: Evolution of a Political Cinema
  • [56] East Goes West, Philip Cheah
  • [57] Diaz in Bangkok
  • [58] Heremias, A Different Cinematic Experience
  • [59] Hesus,Rebolusyunaryo
  • [60] Hommage
  • [61] An epic death in the land of Encantos, Raissa Falgui
  • [62] Bencana, Manusia, Bangsa, Sinema
  • [63] Sadness and Madness
  • [64] Lav Diaz Poems from "Death in the Land of Encantos"
  • [65] Kunst muss stur sein, von Ekkehard Knorer
  • [66] Twelve Greatest Filipino Films, by Noel Vera
  • [67] To Hell and Back with Lav Diaz, by Eric Caruncho
  • [68] Encantos; a Lav Diaz site
  • [69] An epic death in the land of Encantos
  • [70] Cinematic Highlights of 2007, by Francis Cruz
  • [71] Produskyon ng Alaala, ni Roland Tolentino
  • [72] Regardless of the Motive, by Armida Siguion-Reyna
  • [73] Batang West Side (2001)
  • [74] Death in the Land of Encantos
  • [75] Land of the Dead, by Noel Vera
  • [76] Encantos Revisited, by Juaniyo Arcellana
  • [77] The True Best Picture, by Conrado de Quiros
  • [78] Lav Diaz and the Evolution of a Missing People, by Vinita Ramani
  • [79] Ebolusyon May Trigger a Revolution, by Lito Zulueta
  • [80] Portrait of the Anguished as Filipino, by Noel Vera
  • [81] A Rearrangement of a Troubled Landscape, by Mauro Tumbucon
  • [82] Evolution of a Filipino Family, by The Wily Filipino
  • [83] A Prophet in His Own Land, by Noel Vera
  • [84] Heremias (2006)
  • [85] Hesus, Rebolusyunaryo
  • [86] Batang West Side, by Alexis Tioseco
  • [87] Notes on Encantos, Andrej Sprah, Jurij Meden
  • [88] Pula, Puti at Saka Blu at Marami Pang Korol, A short story by Lav Diaz
  • [89] Reflections on a Shot in Lav Diaz's Heremias, by Alexis Tioseco
  • [90] Best Films of 2007, by Noel Vera
  • [91] Batang West Side, by Vinita Ramani
  • [92] Portrait of the Artist as a Filmmaker, by Dino Manrique
  • [93] Future Tense, by Noel Vera
  • [94] Revolutions..., by Alexis Tioseco
  • [95] The Heretical Prophet, by Jen Tagasa
  • [96] Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay, by Lav Diaz
  • Interview with Lav Diaz
  • 8 hour RP film is best feature in Venice Festival
  • Lav Diaz profile on



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