In preparation for next week’s cinematic epic Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis, I immediately thought of watching one of his many films. Since almost every one of his recent features are lengthy, I decided to introduce myself to him with his short film from 2009. Needless to say, this was a worthy introduction that speaks for itself.
Lav Diaz’s short breathes in on a slow-pacing that lets a creeping intrigue to grow right in. In the span of its run-time, all I could do was stare at its scenic stillness and its detailed backdrops. For 40 minutes, I was roped into a rather excelling slow-burn that rattled me in absorption from Diaz’s inherent vision. The use of black & white coloring contributes dearly and lets us see through a dark lens surrounded with so many innate, intrinsic thrills. All of those elements seen in this short accompanies his style perfectly and is a great introduction for first-time viewers of his works. The economic themes and dark nostalgia are subjected to the plot – letting in a sense of unsettling mystery that is cloaked in any of the many eye-catching sequences it espies.
Amidst those matters, the characters’ moralities are displayed in a serious yet relaxed manner – rendering what the film delivers in the narrative compellingly fair and weighty . In the end, it is safe to say that Diaz’s 2009 short film definitely ropes us in a very time-worthy slow-burn. In spite of the pacing that tests our patience, filmic rewards were just waiting in the alley, and were totally ready to be embraced. Butterflies Have No Memories didn’t ever cease to rattle us in a state of fazing hypnotism from the calmed yet compelling pep of indie cinema – all set in motion by a promising filmmaker that knows how to work things properly.
Catch Diaz’s latest film – Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis in select Philippine cinemas on March 26!