Connect with us
Lav Diaz When the Waves Are Gone

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021: #97. Lav Diaz’s When the Waves Are Gone

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021: #97. Lav Diaz’s When the Waves Are Gone

When the Waves Are Gone

Perennial Filipino auteur Lav Diaz seems set to debut three new features in 2021, including Henrico’s Farm, Servando Magdamag and what will be his first high-profile co-production with When the Waves Are Gone, the production of which was halted by the pandemic and saw the project entered into Locarno 2020’s The Films After Tomorrow competition. Produced through Epicmedia Production in Manila, Berlin-based Films Boutique (via their Lyon branch), Denmark’s Snowglobe and Portugal’s Rosa Films, Arte Cinema also boarded as co-producer.

Diaz’s infamous running times, which have been known to reach mini-series length in length, has built an impressive reputation through Venice, where 2007’s Death in the Land of Encantos and 2008’s Melancholia received awards out of the Horizons sidebar. In 2016, he won the Golden Lion for The Woman Who Left. Diaz dipped into Cannes in 2013, his Norte, the End of History playing in Un Certain Regard, while 2019’s The Halt went to Director’s Fortnight. Diaz won Locarno’s Golden Leopard in 2014 with From What is Before, and has competed twice in Berlin, with 2016’s A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery and 2018’s Season of the Devil (we interviewed him there). He returned to Venice in 2020 with Genus Pan, which premiered in the Horizons sidebar.

Gist: In what sounds like a gender reversal to the plot of The Woman Who Left, Diaz’s latest concerns a man released from prison for bank robbery after thirty years, desiring to seek revenge on his friend and cohort. Diaz credits the noir narrative is partially based on The Count of Monte Cristo, but departs radically in what promises to be an epic tale of revenge.

Release Date/Prediction: While production was halted in the Philippines, Diaz will resume the bulk of production there but film the climax in Portugal. Considering his output, Diaz will likely pop up at several different festivals this year, but When the Waves Are Gone might bring him back to the Venice competition in 2021 to compete for his second Golden Lion.


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), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

Click to comment

More in Annual Top Films Lists

To Top