Pascal Grenier for Cinetalk.net

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

Golden Lion at Venice International 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, concentrating on emotions and feelings while 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. One of the strongest attraction in Diaz’film is the performance by lead actress Charo Santos-Concio, wonderful in the title role. After a 17-year break from films, she makes a strong comeback.

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

Festival screening:

October 16, 7:00 PM (Cinématheque québécoise)

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