A young Filipino is shot dead in the streets of New Jersey. A policeman of Filipino descent is on the case: an alien in a foreign country, he feels that he is losing his roots. Lav Diaz’s first feature of over five hours, Batang West Side is an existential crime story, a noir reminiscent of classical literature about the inconceivability of evil and human nature. Garage Screen will show the Russian premiere of the restored picture.
A Filipino boy is shot dead in the street under strange circumstances. A policeman with Filipino roots, who is failing to assimilate in a foreign country, takes the case. The investigation leads him deep into the pain-ridden world of the Filipino diaspora in the United States—a world of crime, split identities, and the deep trauma left by years of colonialism and the country’s bloody history.
Batang West Side was Lav Diaz’s first extra-long film that, in many ways, determined the style of his later works. Shot in the USA on a minimal budget and using natural light, it is a cinematic novel and a record of its time created with a perfect sense of rhythm. Starting as a detective story or a contemporary noir, Batang West Side grows deeper and broader as the plot develops, eventually becoming an epic about human weakness in the face of our own nature.
The screening is in Filipino and English with Russian subtitles.
Batang West Side
Director: Lav Diaz
Philippines, USA, 2001, 315 min. 18+