Film critics only have good words for Lav Diaz' Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left), and as one of them predicted, it has won the top prize at the 73rd Venice Film Festival.
The movie, which marks ABS-CBN Chief Content Officer Charo Santos-Concio's return to acting, has impressed those who got the chance to see it in its 228-minute long glory.
The Hollywood Reporter's Clarence Tsui praised direk Lav’s imagery and approach to the film, and Santos-Concio’s performance. “Santos has delivered a sturdy performance in which she brings to the fore all the unstable emotional contours of a mentally unraveling avenger,” Tsui said in his review. "Diaz has also taken his conventional ingredients—the literary source, the revenge-noir narrative, the top-billing A-lister—and produced something that is greater than the sum of its parts."
In fact, Tsui was not kidding when he said that Ang Babaeng Humayo "should leave Venice with a few prizes": Direk Lav's latest masterpiece has won the Golden Lion award, the top prize at the 73rd Venice Film Festival. It's the first Golden Lion Prize win not just for the Philippines, but for Asia.
"My head is spinning right now its unbelievable...this is for my country, for the Filipino, for the struggle of humanity," direk Lav said in his acceptance speech.
Other positive reviews for Ang Babaeng Humayo include Variety.com’s Guy Lodge praising Direk Lav’s cinematography, explaining in his review that “the film’s deliberately rambling heft evokes the lingering, far-reaching sorrow of an entire nation.”
"Alternating between deep chiaroscuro strokes in the cobwebbed sites of its heroine’s past to more candid, semi-blurred shooting as she gradually loses her grip on proceedings, no frame here seems carelessly assembled or bereft of perspective," Lodge added.
Screen Daily's Jonathan Romney, for his review, described the film as "a powerful, thoughtful melodrama that pulls you into its world and delivers a number of irresistible emotional coups."
A standing ovation after the viewing is proof to all these positive reviews for the film and why Ang Babaeng Humayo deserved to win the Golden Lion Award:
During the screening, Santos-Cancio was all aglow in this beautiful and elegant white terno designed by Cary Santiago, while John Lloyd looked dapper in his navy blue suit.
While we still have to wait before we get to see Ang Babaeng Humayo locally (it will be shown around the world, and has already premiered in Toronto last September 9), here’s a teaser of the Lav Diaz-directed movie, featuring Santos-Concio’s return to acting:
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Banner photograph from Instagram.com/starcreativestv