Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#1 Post by zedz » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:08 pm

If this is going to be the greatest film of 2013, somebody better start up a thread for it.

Not only is this the best film I've seen this year, it's the best-looking as well. Diaz demonstrates a complete mastery of Cinemascope composition that makes this the most impressive widescreen film I've seen since Loznitsa's My Joy. Like that film, the skill doesn't lie in contriving artsy or striking shots for the wide format, but the much more elusive Fordian gift of placing characters intelligently and meaningfully in their surroundings and making every composition look 'right'. This is a long, long film, and it includes some long, long shots, but a lot of those incorporate subtle camera movement and reframing (e.g. gradual tracks in) or the tying together of several distinct compositions in a single shot. There's an exquisite shot at dawn which begins on Eliza's sister waiting at home, then moves to take in the arrival of Eliza in a taxi and the unloading of the fruit and vegetables she's bought at the market, then moves back to the house. At various points the action is occurring in the foreground, midground, background and deep background (all against the incrementally changing light of the dawn), with the camera panning and tracking to reframe it, but at every point the composition is balanced and alive.

In terms of story, this is slow cinema with a lot going on. The same amount of narrative could easily occupy nearly as much screentime in a conventional film, but Diaz creates space by allowing a lot of major events to occur offscreen, since his interest isn't in the big catastrophes, but in how they impact on everyday lives. In short, this is another one of those 'society drives ordinary guy to murderous action' films that seem to be in vogue at the moment (though I don't know if they ever go entirely out of fashion). At Cannes alone, that trope yielded one other masterpiece (Jia's A Touch of Sin), standard issue festival fodder (Heli) and generic crap (Blue Ruin). Where Diaz sets himself apart is spending the time to really explore the impact of that action on his three protagonists, but also balancing it with the rest of their lives. Even if cruel fate and an indifferent justice system destroys your life, you still have to feed your kids. This is an extraordinarily powerful and engrossing film, so I don't want to spoil too much. Just see it.

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FrauBlucher
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#2 Post by FrauBlucher » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:42 pm

Last night I got a chance to this film. It screened at the Eleanor Bunin Theater at Lincoln center in NYC where it just finished playing for one week. Hopefully, it will play around the country. It needs to be seen. It is four enthralling hours plus of brilliant cinema. As Zedz suggested, the shot composition was stunning and masterful. Besides the Fordian framing, I also felt like Diaz complimented Ozu's mise-en scene style by adapting it to his own, especially with the landscape shots. Diaz had many slow, long takes that allowed the viewer to take in the simmering narrative. Even though he allows time to pass and events to happen unseen you still have a palpable feeling for what is going on to these characters. I felt like I was watching people's everyday lives, without it being fake or forced.

It is high on my list for films I've seen so far this year. I as well don't want to spoil. But I look forward to reading views on this when more folks see it.

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newwavefilms
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:55 pm

Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#3 Post by newwavefilms » Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:09 pm

Just to confirm this will be released by us on DVD and Blu-ray Sept 29

shaky
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:52 pm

Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#4 Post by shaky » Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:08 pm

Adrian Martin on Norte, The End of History, and Lav Diaz in general:

http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sigh ... nd-history" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#5 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:51 pm

Cinema Guild just tweeted that this will represent the Philippines for a possible Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film.

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#6 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:18 pm

I hope it gets it. It's frustrating when films like these are not submitted, and moreso when the Academy justifies their reluctance by passing over more challenging fare. (The Turin Horse immediately comes to mind.)

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SpiderBaby
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:34 pm

Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#7 Post by SpiderBaby » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:52 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:Cinema Guild just tweeted that this will represent the Philippines for a possible Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film.
Didn't they say that would be a reason they would go back and release a blu-ray?

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domino harvey
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#8 Post by domino harvey » Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:03 pm

I doubt very much it even makes the short list

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swo17
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#9 Post by swo17 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:18 pm

The chances of CG putting this out on Blu-ray just jumped from 0.00% to 0.01%.

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SpiderBaby
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#10 Post by SpiderBaby » Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:58 pm

swo17 wrote:The chances of CG putting this out on Blu-ray just jumped from 0.00% to 0.01%.
Image

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repeat
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#11 Post by repeat » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:33 am

hearthesilence wrote:I hope it gets it. It's frustrating when films like these are not submitted, and moreso when the Academy justifies their reluctance by passing over more challenging fare. (The Turin Horse immediately comes to mind.)
And, off-topic, it's going to be exceptionally frustrating this time around - when was the last time that such a ridiculously high-standard shortlist could be constructed from the submissions: Bonello, Ceylan, Dardennes, Diaz, Graf, Malmros, Pawlikowski, Pinto, Östlund. (Of course in reality it's going to be more like Ceylan, Dardennes, Dolan, Mundruczó plus five films that no one gives a damn about - but I guess it's an honour to be submitted in the first place!)

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zedz
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#12 Post by zedz » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:45 am

If the Graf is Beloved Sisters, that strikes me as exactly the kind of middlebrow art house pap the Academy would eat up, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if it were nominated, or won. Can't see the Ceylan winning, but it might be the token 'actually good' nom. Diaz will die un-nominated after an astonishing career.

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repeat
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#13 Post by repeat » Fri Sep 26, 2014 7:43 am

Well, while I wouldn't mind trading the reality we're stuck in for one where a sneakily subversive three-hour period piece centering on the private life of a "foreign-language" writer of relatively academic interest outside his own language/cultural area and the social ramifications of the printing press is potential Oscar bait, I guess I can sort of see how it has a fraction of a better chance of accidentally getting nominated than an over four-hour long, relentlessly pessimistic and even more linguistically and culturally "foreign" riff on Dostoyevsky riddled with allusions to local political history! Personally I think Diaz, Graf and Malmros would all deserve a nomination already, but I think all three films will prove too hard to swallow for the committee.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#14 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:55 am

Short lists were such a worthless honor to begin with, and now that even great films are missing out, it's become an added insult.

Have the Dardennes ever made the shortlist? They've never even been nominated! It's ridiculous, honestly I think best foreign language film is the absolute worst category at the Oscars, moreso than any other category it's a poor reflection of what is supposedly the best of what it represents.

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domino harvey
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#15 Post by domino harvey » Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:34 am

They're up this year though so maybe

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zedz
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#16 Post by zedz » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:56 pm

Just reporting back that a quick look at the UK BluRay of this reveals a very handsome transfer with no obvious ill effects from disc-cramming. So: New Wave Films - 1; Cinema Guild - 0.

Oh, and Diaz's next magnum opus From What Is Before is another masterpiece, and probably closer to his previous works than Norte. His classical mise-en scene has retreated to the silent era to gorgeous effect, so where Norte evokes Ford, this film evokes Murnau and Griffith. And I can safely predict that even New Wave won't be able to fit the film onto a single BluRay.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#17 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:20 am

Just saw this at MoMA with Diaz giving a Q&A. Terrible how this film resonates more now than it did in 2014. Despite the bleak story, Diaz actually considers this to be a very hopeful film, and seen from his angle, that felt very reassuring. They screen it again on the 25th (a Sunday) at 2:30pm as part of A New Golden Age: Contemporary Philippine Cinema..

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Reeniop41
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:06 pm
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Re: Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz, 2014)

#18 Post by Reeniop41 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:12 am

What other Philippine films are being shown? Saw this in Bluray last year and has a very profound message! Hopefully more films of his are being considered for the Criterion collection!


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