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2019 Lav Diaz

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #60. 2019 – Lav Diaz

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #60. 2019 – Lav Diaz


The perennial Lav Diaz should be back in 2019 with a sci-fi political drama, provisionally titled 2019. A French-Filipino co-production between France’s ARP and Filipino company Sine olivia pilipinas, the project was also picked as a co-production by Arte France Cinema. Since 1998, Diaz has completed upwards of thirty projects, whose films are often in the range of five to eight hours in running time. The Venice Film Festival primed the international success of Diaz, where his nine-hour 2007 film Death in the Land of Encantos won a Special Mention in the Horizons sidebar, where 2008’s seven-and-a-half-hour Melancholia also played, taking home the Best Film Prize. He would return to Venice in 2016 with The Woman Who Left, winning the Golden Lion. Betwixt his Venice wins, Diaz was programmed in Un Certain Regard in 2013 with his first color feature Norte, the End of History and then went on to win the Golden Leopard in Locarno with 2014’s From What is Before. Berlin opened its arms to Diaz in 2016, where his eight-hour A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery took home the Alfred Bauer award, and he returned to the competition there in 2018 with the political musical Season of the Devil (check out our interview with him).

Gist: Described as a political sci-fi film, based on a screenplay written twenty years ago, Diaz’s latest, which charts the rise of a Filipino despot, now seems a topical immediacy to current conditions.

Release Date/Prediction: With filming set to take place across Taiwan and Vietnam through September and October 2018, there’s no telling where Diaz might land given that post-production doesn’t seem to be a sticking point on his films. He could very well compete for a third time in Berlin, but it’s more likely we will see Diaz bring 2019 to either Cannes (where he might be considered for a comp slot after winning the Leopard and the Lion) or back to Locarno.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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