"I have long thought that the name of writing, of deconstruction, of phallogocentrism, etc. must stem from this strange reference to an elsewhere. Childhood, the other side of the Mediterranean, French culture, Europe… It means thought springing from the moment you cross a frontier. Elsewhere, even when nearby, is always beyond a certain limit. But within yourself you have elsewhere in the heart. In the body. And that’s what elsewhere means. If it were elsewhere it wouldn’t be an elsewhere..."
A Brighter Summer Day was the first Taiwanese film I had ever seen and it had left me floored, back at a time when I was wholly ignorant of its history and culture. As I watched more and more Taiwanese cinema, this one film kept echoing and reverberating through my memory, somehow only growing in stature.
About six months later, I decided to finally put my thoughts in writing, and come to terms with how I feel about this…
Filmed over a span of 10 years, running over a period of 10 hours, illuminating the unseen face of a nation spread across its past, present and projected future, this is Evolution of a Filipino Family. This is Lav Diaz. This is cinema at its most potent, mined to its extremes and exploited like never before, fixing a hard gaze on the neglected and abused―the lowest strata of civilized society―like nothing has ever dared to.
Even if the film…