Would you watch a movie that is so beautiful and so detailed, even if it has a running time of eight hours? It might seem like a tedious task, but we hope it's one you take on—you won't regret it, and it's not just because it's a Piolo Pascual and John Lloyd Cruz starrer.
Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, Director Lav Diaz’ latest opus has piqued the interest of many, even if it is four times longer than the average movie. Perhaps because of the two dashing men who topbill the film. Or perhaps because it won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Or perhaps because so many celebrities are raving about it. These, and on the most basic level, the fact that Hele succinctly and beautifully relays Philippine history while being a social commentary fit for the times, make it a must watch... even if you have to devote almost all your waking hours in a day to it.
Inspired by Rizal’s novel, the Filipino fantasy-drama film’s premiere is perfect not just for those who want to see El Filibusterismo in a different light, but also serves as a wakeup call in light of our country's present political situation, especially since we will be electing a new president in a few months' time. “It's the greatest political module ever written about this country. It's about nationhood. It's about leadership," Direk Lav said in an interview with Star Cinema.
Here’s what people have to say about Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, which had an advanced screening last March 20 at ABS-CBN’s Dolphy Theater. Film critic Philbert Dy had a lot to say about the film, but this particular tweet best sums up Direk Lav's eight-hour masterpiece:
Many are all praises for the film:
Some even think that Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis' advanced screening is more relevant than the second presidential debates held in Cebu, which happened on the same day and was delayed for an hour:
Even celebrities like Xian Lim and veteran entertainment columnist and talent manager Ethel Ramos were present to show their support for the movie:
Are you ready to take on the #HeleChallenge, and gain a different perspective of Philippine history?
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Banner photograph from the Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis Facebook page