Events , San Francisco

Lav Diaz, Batang West Side

“We have to examine our history—more than 300 years of Spanish colonization, almost one hundred years of American intervention, four years of Japanese reign, more than twenty years of Marcos terrorism—all these things destroyed our culture, our psyche. We have to examine that. We have to look back. Batang West Side is that. It is an examination of our past, our future—a collective canvas of what we are as a people, as a nation.” – Lav Diaz

Jersey City cop Juan Mijares pieces together the events leading to the death of Hanzel Harana, a young Filipino found shot in the head on West Side Avenue. Dealing with his own demons and violent past, Mijares conducts a series of interviews with witnesses, friends, relatives, and suspects, in order to learn what happened to the victim after his arrival in the United States. Ultimately, Harana’s life begins to reflect a bleak vision of Filipino destiny abroad and the myth of the American dream.

Running a comparatively brisk (for Lav Diaz) five hours, Batang West Side unspools with the scope and ambition of a classic novel. Shot mostly with available light by cinematographer, Miguel V. Fabie III, Batang West Side is the recipient of many international prizes, including Best Film at the Singapore International Film Festival. Widely considered Lav Diaz’s first major work, Batang West Side recently received a 35mm restoration by the Austrian Film Museum. 

Directed by Lav Diaz, 2001. With Joel Torre, Yul Servo, Gloria Diaz. English, Tagalog, and Filipino with English subtitles. DCP, color, 315 min. The film will be introduced by Joel Shepherd, independent film curator. There will be no intermission. Batang West Side DCP courtesy of the Austrian Film Museum

The screening of Batang West Side is presented in partnership with and takes place at the Roxie Theatre and in conjunction with Pio Abad’s solo exhibition, Kiss The Hand You Cannot Bite that draws from multiple histories of exile, resistance, and displacement, on view at KADIST through August 10, 2019 

Note: this screening takes place offsite at the Roxie Theater. Tickets are required and can be purchased here.