Watch: “From What Is Before” by Lav Diaz

Grasshopper is expanding the scope of its blog, Transmissions, by adding features to its curated selection of short films. The first entry is below.

A film by Lav Diaz
338 minutes
Rent: $4.99 | Buy: $17.99

Following the success of his internationally acclaimed, contemporary-set drama Norte, the End of History, Filipino master Lav Diaz returned to one of his enduring themes — the historical rift and ongoing trauma caused by the Marcos regime. From What Is Before is a breathtaking five-and-a-half-hour epic that relates the strange, perhaps supernatural, occurrences that befall a remote village in the Philippine countryside. Shot in luminous black and white, the film offers further proof that Diaz has the extraordinary ability to capture, analyze, and dramatize the complexities of history.

“Hauntingly beautiful. At once a vital work of historical reclamation and a sort of Southeast Asian companion piece to Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon.” — Variety

“Considering that we live in the age of binge-viewing, the prospects of sitting through a five-and-a-half hour movie shouldn’t sound so radical.” – Indiewire


Also available: Lav Diaz’s award-winning short film The Day Before the End.