Death in the Land of the Encantos
|Death in the Land of the Encantos|
Death in the Land of the Encantos movie poster
|Directed by||Lav Diaz|
|Produced by||Sine Olivia|
|Written by||Lav Diaz|
|Starring|| Roeder Camanag|
|Music by||Lav Diaz|
|Editing by||Lav Diaz|
|Release date(s)||November 29, 2007|
|Running time||540 min|
Death in the Land of the Encantos is the English title of Lav Diaz’s Philippine independent film whose original Bicol-language title is Kagadanan sa Banwaan ning Mga Engkanto. A black-and-white film written and directed by Diaz, it is a 9 hour-long film about the experiences and feelings of an emotionally unstable Filipino expatriate upon returning to his hometown after it has been devastated by a typhoon. Conceptualized over a span of six weeks, it was filmed mainly in Bicol and partly in Pila, Laguna. It has been presented in a number of international film festivals, where it has received much critical acclaim.
The story centers on Benjamin Agusan (Gawad Urian nominee Roeder Camanag), a Filipino poet from Bicol, whose muse in his youth was the Mayon Volcano. As the film opens, Agusan has just come back to the Philippines after 7 years of living in Russia, where he had been teaching and writing. In those years, he fell in love, had a son who died, and almost went insane. In an apparently manic-depressive state, he returns to his hometown, which had just been ravaged by a typhoon. Going around his hometown, he is reunited with a number of his old friends and sweethearts and besieged by memories, all the while struggling with his love-hate relationship with his homeland and hometown.
Style and themes
Diaz’s work has been mistakenly labeled a documentary, undoubtedly due to his footage depicting the actual destruction caused by super typhoon Reming (international name: Durian) which on November 30, 2006 ravaged the Bicol region where Diaz had filmed earlier works. He was horrified to see the very areas he had captured on film just weeks before now in ruins. He filmed the same sites again, eventually coming up with a story that drew a parallel between the anguish of the typhoon victims and the despair of Filipinos suffering from the corruption of their government. The film not only shows the destruction caused by the ravages of nature but presents the social and political deterioration of the Philippines. The protagonist’s own emotional and mental instability may be said to reflect the state of the Bicol Region and the Philippine government. In addition, the film deals with broader philosophical theme of the struggle to achieve love, beauty, redemption, and understanding.
- Roeder Camanag as Benjamin Agusan
- Perry Dizon
- Angeli Bayani
- Sophia Aves
- Gemma Cuenca
Film festival screenings
- 2007 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) - competed for Artistic Innovation Award
- Ljubljana International Film Festival
- Rotterdam International Film Festival 2008
- Hong Kong International Film Festival 2008
- Singapore International Film Festival 2008
- FICCO 2008
- Lav Diaz Thailand Retrospective
- Cinema du Reel Homage to Lav Diaz, Paris
- Kino Arsenal Lav Diaz Retrospektive, Berlin
Awards and recognitions
- Orizzonti Special Mention Award in the 2008 Venice Film Festival
- Best Picture, Jogja NETPAC Film Festival 2008
- Silver Hanoman Prize, Jogja NETPAC Film Festival 2008
- Best Cinematography and Visual Design, Young Critic's Circle 2008
- Best Production Design, Gawad Urian 2008
-  Death in the Land of Encantos, Allan Fish
- Top Ten of the Decade, Lukas Foerster.
- Poetic Post-mortem, Nil Baskar
- Death in the Land of Encantos, Northern Portrait
- "Great", Oggs Cruz
- Death in the Land of Encantos, Robert Koehler
- Land of the Dead, Noel Vera
- Death in the Land of Encantos, Ronnie Scheib
- Angeli Bayani’s Multipy Site Angeli Bayani’s Multipy Site
- The Decade of Living Dangerously: A Chronicle from Lav Diaz, by Brandon Wee.
- A Conversation with Lav Diaz, by Alexis Tioseco.
- Death and Melancholia from the Philippines, by Kong Rithdee.
- “Breaks for Venice Screening of 8 Hour Film by Lav Diaz.” In Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 8, 2008. (Accessed October 7, 2008).
- “Death in the Land of Encantos to Compete in Toronto International Film Festival.” In Philippine Entertainment Portal. (Accessed October 7, 2008).
- “Interview with Lav Diaz.” In Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 6, 2007. (Accessed October 7, 2008).