FNC 2016: THE WOMAN WHO LEFT (PHILIPPINES- LAV DIAZ)

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Pascal Grenier for Cinetalk.net

After  30 years of imprisonment for a crime she didn’t commit, a sixty-year old woman plans on taking revenge on her ex-boyfriend.

Golden Lion at Venice Interntional Film Festival 2016, this  226-minutes long drama from Filipino auteur Lav Diaz is absorbing and powerful. Despite its revenge thematic, it is a story of forgiveness and transcendence rather than vigilantism concentrating on emotions and feelings and avoiding melodrama.  It evolves through various encounters that develop between this sorrowful woman and, notably,   a drunken hunchback ballot-seller and a transvestite male prostitute. A strong point is the performance of the lead actress Charo Santos-Concio. After a 17-year break from films, she makes a strong comeback. She is wonderful in the title role.

The Woman Who Left is a minimalist work shot almost entirely on  large static or master shots, all in beautiful monochrome black & white, .  While its running time and slow pace may put-off some viewers, it is nonetheless a  rewarding and immersive tale of gratitude and reconciliation.

Festival screening:

October 16, 7:00 PM (Cinématheque québécoise)

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