The Filipino film Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan has figured prominently in worldwide polls listing the Best Films of 2013.
Directed by independent filmmaker Lav Diaz, Norte was cited as one of 2013’s top ten films by the British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound (ranked 9th), La Internacional Cinefila (ranked 6th), and Artforum (ranked 1st, 7th, and 9th by three of the five critics polled by the magazine).
James Quandt, senior programmer at the Toronto International Film Festival, picked Norte as the best film of the year. In a nod to the recent steady outpouring of cinematic gems from the country, the Artforum contributor noted that “Lav Diaz’s Dostoyevskian mini-epic… may prove the greatest work of the Philippine New Wave.”
A loose adaptation of “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the film premiered to a standing ovation and rave reviews in Cannes where it became one of the festival’s highest-rated films, second only to the Palm d’Or winner “Blue is the Warmest Color.” Norte has since been picked up for distribution in France, the US, and the UK. This means it will enjoy a theatrical release in those countries later this year.
Here in its home country, the film initially encountered some difficulty in getting a playdate. A factor that figured in discussions with cinemas is the film’s running time of four hours.
But the length of the film has been more of a plus than a negative to those who have seen it. Time Out New York’s David Fear describes it as “a movie that approaches (a) marathon-length running time yet still makes you wish it were twice as long.”
Wesley Morris, a Pulitzer prize-winning critic, considers the film “an honest-to-goodness masterpiece.” He recalls his encounter with Norte in Cannes: “The lights went down, the movie came up, and I sat there. Two-hundred-fifty minutes later… I stood with tears in my eyes, and clapped as loudly as I ever have for any movie in my life.”
March 11 Trinoma Cinema 4
March 18 Ayala Center Cebu Cinema 2
March 25 Greenbelt 3 Cinema 5
March 31 Glorietta 4 Cinema 1
All screenings start at 6:30PM. The film will be shown with English subtitles. Rated R13 by the MTRCB.