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Friday, March 23, 2007

Lav Diaz's Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino @ Cinekatipunan

Lav Diaz: Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino
(Evolution of a Filipino Family)
(10 hours, 43 minutes)

SCREENING STARTS @ 8 AM and ENDS at around 7 PM

"Ebolusyon is the greatest film about the sorrow of
the Philippines. "
-- Gertjan Zuilhof

"The best film of 2005."
-- Olaf Moller, Bert Rebendahl, Mauro Tumbocon,
Jurij Meden, Philip Cheah, Christoph Huber,
Paolo Bertolin, Alexis Tioseco, Roger Garcia,
Lito Zulueta

Lav Diaz: Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino
(Evolution of a Filipino Family) at Cinekatipunan

Cinekatipunan is proud to present Lav Diaz's opus,
Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino. The first of
its kind in Philippine cinema history, EBolusyon takes
us on a Pamilyang Pilipino" spans the years 1971 to
1987, a period of turbulence, brutality, complexity.

The years 1971 and 1972 were the height of radicalism
by the Philippine Left, the onset of the
Muslim-Christian strife in the island of Mindanao and
the eventual declaration of Martial Law by dictator
Ferdinand Marcos. From 1964 up to 1985, the Marcos
regime trampled on human rights, institutionalized
graft and corruption in the bureaucracy, and looted
the national coffers. In 1986, a peaceful uprising
called The People's Power Revolution forced Marcos out
of the country ending his dictatorial rule and
installing Corazon Aquino, widow of the murdered Ninoy
Aquino- Marcos' top political foe, as President.

Against this backdrop is the farming family Gallardo,
whose struggle and condition mirrors the marginalized
population of the Philippines; the sector trapped in a
situation not of their own doing, but born from a
system that could not provide proper social services,
and of a feudal culture that only protected and
empowered the status quo. Central to the story are the
disintegration, displacement and dysfunction caused by
poverty, not just to the family unit but, also, to the
individual members. These and other characters form
the cycle of lives that intertwine and interact as the
nation struggles to survive economically, politically,
sociologically and spiritually.

For those who are familiar with Diaz's works,
"Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino" is "Batang
West Side I". "Batang West Side" tackled the very same
premise, subject and theme but explored it in a very
different time and milieu-the need to critique the
Filipino, examine his condition, confront his past.
"Batang West Side" dealt with our scars, "Ebolusyon…"
explores the infliction of the wound.

"Ebolusyon…" is eleven years in the making.
Pre-production started in December of 1993 in Jersey
City, and began photography on March 8, 1994 in
Lexington, New Jersey. Production was protracted and
independent; shot only when there was money, and if
the crew and actors were available. The Philippine
shoot started in early 1997 in Gerona, Tarlac, and
culminated early April of 2003 in the majestic
mountains of Itogon, Benguet. More scenes were added
last October and November of 2004.

Post production started February of 2004 and finally
stopped January 31, 2005. Different versions of the
film was already shown in various festivals-The Asian
American International Film Festival of New York 2004
(8 hours rough cut on vhs), The Toronto International
Film Festival 2004 (10 hours on digital beta), The
Rotterdam International Film Festival 2005 and
Goteberg Film Festival 2005 (10 hours 43 minutes.

Ebolusyon garnered the Gawad Urian awards for Best
Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Production Design
and the Best Picture plum at the .MOV digital

In deference to the length of the work Ebolusyon will
be screened at Mag:net starting 8 AM and is expected
to end at around 7 PM. All are enjoined and challenged
to watch the film right from the very start. Viewers
are encouraged to bring along pillows. Breakfast,
lunch and dinner is available at Mag:net Cafe.

Lav Diaz: Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino
(Evolution of a Filipino Family) at Cinekatipunan

'Ebolusyon' may trigger a revolution

Posted 08:47pm (Mla time) May 15, 2005
By Lito Zulueta
Inquirer News Service

Editor's Note: Published on page G3 of the May 16,
2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

IN "EBOLUSYON ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino," Raynaldo
(Elryan De Vera) is rescued as an infant from
abandonment by a mentally unhinged woman, Hilda
(Marife Necisito). She takes him back to her family in

the countryside, where he grows up to witness and
suffer the lot of Filipino farmers: enslavement to the
land, getting caught in the crossfire of political
conflicts and severe displacement. He flees and joins
a mining family in the high lands. In his new world,
he discovers that same plaintive reality of loss,
suffering and dislodgement.

Thus, the thread that connects "Ebolusyon" from Lav
Diaz's previous film, "Batang West Side," is
dislocation and bereavement of place. If the Pinoy cop
in America is fleeing his twisted past as a torturer
in "West Side," Raynaldo represents the victim, the
other end of the torture process. The boy rescued from
the dumps by a deranged woman represents the
derangement inflicted by the warped reality of the
Philippines. He won't be like Jacob sold to slavery by
his brothers and later exalted in Egypt. When Raynaldo
returns to his original foster family toward the end
of the movie, he comes full circle. We know his lot
has not vastly changed; in fact, his foster sisters
bring aid to the communist underground on the sly,
just like when he was a boy, his foster uncle (Pen
Medina) stole guns from the military and sold them to
the communists. But Raynaldo knows there will be no
surprises. He will not come unhinged like his beloved
Hilda who rescued him from the garbage dump when he
was a baby. He will abide by the reality.

Torment and agony

"Ebolusyon" is a powerful movie. Nominated for best
picture in the 28th Gawad Urian of the Manunuri ng
Pelikulang Pilipino, it is a movie that makes us abide
by the torment and agony that is Philippine history in

the last 30 years. It relives the darkness of martial
law, the dilemmas of the Aquino transition and the
bedlam that constitutes the present. The movie
explains much of the horror, the better for the viewer
to confront it.

Of course, some will say that what connects
"Ebolusyon" to "West Side" is its swollen, distended
limits. While "West Side" is five hours, "Ebolusyon"
lasts 10 hours, approximating roughly the time it took

for Diaz to finish it-more than nine years.

Thus, the most distinctive aspect of "Ebolusyon" is
also the most problematic- its chronological conceit.
How could an important movie that is a veritable
contemporary Philippine epic be so liberal with its
narrative length that it risks losing the audience it
seeks to affect and influence?

The answer is that there's so much liberality and
comprehensiveness in the vision of Lav Diaz, that the
audience can take the calculated risk of sitting
through "Ebolusyon," imbibing its spirit that meanders

through the alleys and byways of Philippine history, a
tortuous path that, to critics of the film, may be
reflected in the movie's rather tortuous length.

But "Ebolusyon" is too significant to be dismissed as
a movie that takes its title too literally. It is an
important contribution to world cinema, signaling both
a refusal to be confined to the two-hour limit of
commercial cinema and an embrace of the artistic
potentials of digital cinema, particularly digital's
capacity to release the artist from the servitude and
conventions of the studio system.

The latter is perhaps the other distinctive aspect of
"Ebolusyon"- the adamant, unabashed adoption of digital
cinema, its limits and possibilities. No wonder, Diaz
could hardly care about time. Digital knows no time;
it just goes on and on. It is a technological stream
of consciousness if there was one. It democratizes
image-recording. And you know what St. Thomas Aquinas
says about democracy: it tends toward anarchy.

It's a technology, too, that creates its audience.
Part of the reason Diaz's work is not your ordinary
two-hour movie is that it is not one: it hasn't been
transferred on celluloid, unlike, for example, Laurice

Guillen's "Santa Santita," which was shot on video but
transferred on film for commercial release.
"Ebolusyon" is therefore not meant to be shown in
theaters. It's meant to be seen in video houses, on a
more intimate setting perhaps, in episodic fashion
probably, like the soap opera that is a funny metaphor
that runs through the movie.

No rush

"Ebolusyon" is clearly not for movie marathoners. It
is a movie that is not to be seen in a rush. Doing so
may make one miss its other conceits. The subplot on
the conspiracy to assassinate the filmmaker Lino
Brocka for agitating the farmers in the land reform
question is one delicious hyperbole. Obviously this is
Lav Diaz's tribute to the power of cinema. Or is he
lamenting that Brocka did not live long enough to
trigger the revolution?

To be sure, some of the film's expansive
peregrinations may reach a dead end, especially the
rather distended episode of Kadyo (Pen Medina) when he
leaves prison: after failing to integrate back to
society, he returns to a life of crime and becomes a
hired killer, but balks at the prospect of killing
Brocka. The conspiracy turns against him, and as he
makes his final bloody crawl to his death, we know he
has been making the final gasp at life all along. He
has been a living dead even without the fatal dagger
wound. There's no need to belabor that.

There's also the historical lapse. After Kadyo informs
us that he received word about the whereabouts of
Raynaldo in 1988, we see him wandering into the
Mendiola massacre, which took place in January 1987.

But never mind. "Ebolusyon" is an artistic rarity. A
film like this only comes once in 10 years.

The 28th Gawad Urian, the critics' prize for
filmmaking excellence will be handed out in colorful
ceremonies on June 4 at the AFP Theater in Quezon
City. Produced by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino
and APT Productions, the awards will be televised on

Held Mondays to Saturdays at Mag:net Café Katipunan,
Cinekatipunan screenings start at 5:30 PM.
While the film screenings are free, viewers are
encouraged to make voluntary contributions for the
honoraria of the featured filmmakers. For questions or
comments about Cinekatipunan write to

Cinekatipunan programs precede Mag:net Café's nightly
holding of Live Performances by well-known and
emerging bands and musicians. Mag:net Café is located
along Katipunan Avenue (fronting Miriam and Ateneo) in
Quezon City.

For more inquiries on Lav Diaz: Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino
(Evolution of a Filipino Family) at Cinekatipunan,
please call 9293191 or

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