Norte, the End of History– Movie Review
Director: Lav Diaz
Writers: Lav Diaz, Rody Vera
Stars: Sid Lucero, Angeli Bayani, Archie Alemania
Fabian is top of his class in law school, but he has radical ideas and views on the world. He follows one of these ideals and kills a loan shark and her daughter, who happens to be there at the time. Another man, Joaquin takes the blame for the double murder, and Fabian gets away with his crime. The film follows the story of Joaquin who is wrongly convicted and the repercussions on his family, and Fabian’s attempts to reconstruct his life and find absolution after the murder.
The first point to make about this movie is that it clocks in at an amazing 250 mintues, yes, just over four hours. There’s something bewildering about seeing a film of this scale, as you enter the theatre you are prepared for the mammoth task, and start to view time like you are a giant redwood. The director possibly missed a trick, as it is just short of the length of three films, and lord knows everyone loves a trilogy!
The cinematography of this film is quite stunning and it captures the locations in the Philippines in some detail. There are long scenes with the actors wandering down alleys, or at the beach searching for snails in the water. Each has their own languid easy style, and you feel like you know the landscape when you leave the theatre, like you have traveled to this land. The writer and director Diaz does not set out to let his characters have any easy passage through the film, and we get to see murders, incest, rape and a variety of other crimes. There is such space between them that they feel unexpected. I guess the film would save you an air fare, if you wanted to see and feel the Philipines, but you’d come back with a rather twisted view of what the world out there was like!