Death in the Land of the Encantos

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Death in the Land of the Encantos

Death in the land of the encantos.jpg
Death in the Land of the Encantos movie poster
Directed by Lav Diaz
Produced by Sine Olivia
Written by Lav Diaz
Starring Roeder Camanag
Perry Dizon
Angeli Bayani
Sophia Aves
Gemma Cuenca
Music by Lav Diaz
Cinematography Lav Diaz
Editing by Lav Diaz
Release date(s) November 29, 2007
Running time 540 min
Country Philippines
Language Tagalog
IMDb profile

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

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

External link




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