A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery

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    A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery

    Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis

    Directed by

    Philippines, Singapore


    485 min

    • English
    • Spanish
    • Tagalog


    Berlin IFFKarlovy Vary IFFSan Sebastian IFF

    Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro is considered to be one of the most influential proponents in the struggle against Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines during the late nineteenth century. Today, he is still celebrated as the father of the Philippine Revolution. Director Lav Diaz examines this myth and undertakes another expedition into the eventful history of his native land. The film’s various loosely interwoven narrative threads are held together by an exploration of the role of the individual in history and their involvement in political and social developments. Bonifacio’s widow is searching for her husband’s missing dead body; as she and her followers stumble deeper into the jungle, they become entangled in the dense thicket of their own guilt and responsibility. The Spanish governor tries to play off the various rebel factions and their utopian visions against each other. At the same time, a badly wounded companion of Bonifacio reflects upon the victims a revolution inevitably creates. The film’s high-contrast black-and-white photography makes the journey into the past abstract. Mythology, facts and a vibrant sense of history merge.


    • Alfred Bauer Award - Berlin IFF



    Piolo Pascual
    John Lloyd Cruz
    Hazel Orencio
    Alessandra De Rossi
    Joel Saracho
    Lav Diaz
    Larry Manda
    Lav Diaz


    An extraordinarily rich, ... eventually marvelous postmodern epic.

    Giovanni Marchini Camia, The Film Stage

    Lav Diaz

    Lav Diaz


    Lav Diaz, born in 1958, studied Economics at the University of Notre Dame before attending the Mowelfund Film Institute in Manila. He worked at a music magazine before making his directorial debut, THE CRIMINAL OF MARRIO CONCEPCION (1998). He gained an international reputation through his Philippines trilogy: WEST SIDE KID (2001), EVOLUTION OF A FILIPINO FAMILY (2004) and HEREMIAS (2006). Keeping to the production methods of independent films and boasting of long running times compared to Hollywood conventions, Diaz's films reflect the lives of Filipinos and suggests salvation through social struggle. DEATH IN THE LAND OF ENCANTOS (2007), a nine-hour running film, was picked as a Special Mention at Jeonju IFF in 2008 while MELANCHOLIA (2008), which runs eight hours long, won the Venice Horizons Award at Venice IFF. In 2009, he directed BUTTERFLIES HAVE NO MEMORIES, followed by PROLOGUE TO THE GREAT DESAPARECIDO (2013), selected at Rotterdam IFF, Busan IFF and São Paulo IFF.

    Selected Filmography