Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Prologo sa Ang Dakilang Desaparecido (Lav Diaz, 2013)

Lav Diaz's films are noted for their high contrast black and white images. But, I was still surprised with the extreme depth of contrast exhibited in the short film Prologo sa Ang Dakilang Desaparecido. It was like seeing a 3D film. I was waiting for the majestic, sauntering white horse to evict the minion of Emilio Aguinaldo and jump through the screen. 

Take a look at the picture above. It feels like raindrops or a falling leaf will penetrate your computer screen any moment now. Lav's elegant, deep focus images should be seen and experienced in movie theaters. Just avoid the front-row seats or you'll end up blinded like deer caught in blazing headlights.

The English title, Prologue to The Great Desaparecido, reveals the short film to be a teaser to an important film The Great Desaparecido. It is important because the desaparecido referred to is none other than Andres Bonifacio, who was born on the 30th of November 150 years ago.

It is heart-wrenching seeing Gregoria de Jesus scour the boondocks for the remains of her husband. She endured humiliation and possibly rape in order to save her husband but they killed him just the same. The skies burst open as if sympathizing with her. The lush, ambient sounds of the raindrops are starkly contrasted by the piercing silent grief of the Lakambini of the Katipunan. She doggedly looks on for the burial site. It is painful to watch, but you just can't take your eyes off the screen because of the chiaroscuro imagery and the glorious soundscape.

The short film made me shout out the lyrics of a Rock Supremo song by Radioactive Sago Project: 'Hoy Emilio, nasaan ang mga buto?' We might as well change the lyrics to 'Hoy Palparan, nasaan ang mga iskolars?' and 'Hoy Ampatuan, nasaan ang 58th victim?'

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