WHEN THE WAVES ARE GONE
Kapag wala nang mga alonDirected by Lav Diaz
Cast: John Lloyd Cruz, Ronnie Lazaro, Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino
Official Selection, 2022 Venice Film Festival
It’s cop vs. cop in Lav Diaz’s latest: a dark, protracted tale of revenge and crushing cycles of violence. Hermes is one of the top investigators on the force, so talented he’s promoted to academy teacher, so unwavering that he once sent his own mentor to prison. But he’s also the eyes, ears, and trigger of Duterte’s extrajudicial reign of terror, and the atrocities he’s witnessed and perpetuated are now literally mangling his flesh. In his moment of corporeal and spiritual crisis, a ghost from his past returns with a taste for vengeance.
In Diaz’s bleak mirror of society, there is evil and there is worse evil. The possibility of salvation recedes like the low tide, exposing hunting knives and betrayed hearts. As Hermes, John Lloyd Cruz plays a human open wound, while Ronnie Lazaro is the specter in the shadows, the scariest Lav Diaz creation since the double-faced despot in Season of the Devil. For over a decade, Lav has been a champion of digital (Norte, the End of History, SDAFF ’13; From What is Before, SDAFF ’14; The Woman Who Left, SDAFF ’16), allowing him to make the world’s longest narratives without studio interference. With WHEN THE WAVES ARE GONE, Diaz returns to 16mm, composing piercing, gritty images with a material permanence that forbids history from letting terror off the hook. Culminating in a duel to rival any in film history, WHEN THE WAVES ARE GONE aches for the Philippine soul, with stark black and white images capturing moral stains like drying blood darkening on dirt.