Batang West Side
2001. The Philippines/USA. Lav Diaz. 315 min.
Introduced by Gil Quito and members of the cast
Saturday, November 9, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
Batang West Side
2001. The Philippines/USA. Written and directed by Lav Diaz. With Joel Torre, Yul Servo, Gloria Diaz. One of the most original voices of contemporary cinema, Filipino writer-director Lav Diaz made his first true masterpiece—the slow-burning, unforgettable crime drama Batang West Side—in 2001, but it has remained out of circulation for years except in bowdlerized form. Today, thanks to a beautiful preservation by the Austrian Film Museum, we are able to rediscover Diaz’s original cut and recognize it as a haunting companion piece to his most recent feature, Norte, the End of History, which was a highlight of this year’s Cannes and New York film festivals. A boy is found murdered on the streets of Jersey City, where Filipino-American teenagers make sense of their lives, or find a means of escape, by fighting in gangs and trafficking in “shabu” (crystal meth). In piecing together the boy’s past through interviews with family and friends, the detective assigned to the case uncovers haunted memories of his own. The subtly devastating Batang West Side evokes the spiritual crisis that afflicts the Filipino diaspora community, with its simmering sense of collective guilt, brooding isolation, and pent-up rage. Preserved by the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna, from the original 35mm negative. The newly color-corrected 35mm print was created by the Austrian Film Museum and Synchro Film & Video laboratory in Vienna, in close collaboration with Lav Diaz—and in memory of Alexis Tioseco (1981–2009) and Nika Bohinc (1979–2009). In Tagalog, English; English subtitles. 315 min.
In the Film exhibition To Save and Project: The 11th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation
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