Monday, 3 October 2016

LFF 2016 PREVIEW: THE WOMAN WHO LEFT


'Dickensian in scope, this is a great achievement from an exemplar of the art'
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

'One of [Lav Diaz's] best'
Lorenzo Esposito, Cinema Scope

'Diaz's formal powers [are] at full strength'
Guy Lodge, Variety

It was set to be Sebastien Lifshitz's The Lives of Therese, taking the place of the penultimate screening of the 23 on my slate at the London Film Festival this month. His Cannes Queer Palm winner was indeed one of my most-anticipated, but much as it's a shame to need to abandon it, it is indeed a need. Lav Diaz's The Woman Who Left is scheduled for its British premiere at the same time, and as the dedicated Diaz fanatic that I am (both Norte, the End of History and From What Is Before were my favourite films at LFF 2013 and 2014 respectively), it was a no-brainer. His second film this year, following his 8-hour A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery, also a prize-winner at Berlin, The Woman Who Left claimed a second major festival award at Venice last month, winning the Golden Lion and marking the single greatest accomplishment for any Filipino film in history. And so the new Film #22 on my LFF visit this year assumes the status of the sole most-anticipated film of the whole bunch. Hoping to catch The Lives of Therese at the next-earliest possible opportunity, but dying to catch The Woman Who Left just next week!