This is another unofficial site for Lav Diaz, "...the great Filipino poet of cinema." (Cinema du reel, Paris).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

“Impiyerno: Songs From & Inspired by the Cinema of Lav Diaz” (3rd .mov International Digital Film Festival)

By Pocholo Concepcion

If people believe that life’s purpose is to find happiness, this CD may either comfort them or drive them nuts. The 10 songs in “Impiyerno” are relentless in their narratives of pain, so that in the end one feels fortunate just to be alive.

The story goes that Lavrente Diaz, aka Lav, kingpin of Pinoy alternative filmmaking, was persuaded to record songs he wrote (in his other life as a dabbling musician) by colleague Khavn De La Cruz in time for the 3rd .mov film fest.

The idea is that De La Cruz, festival director and the album's producer, wants to present Philippine independent cinema's links to music and literature, in which case Diaz, whose writer’s roots and passion are fueled by rock ‘n’ roll, is a worthy subject.

The recording session, in true punk DIY fashion, was done in four hours, with all the songs nailed in one take, even as Diaz was coming down with the flu. Such circumstances lend an eerie sense of authenticity to the album’s dreary mood: Diaz’s voice cracks in a few tracks and his overall performance projects a persona who knows desolation like the back of his hand.

In Diaz’s songs, a couple of which (“Paalam,” “Awit ni Patricia”) are heard in his films, recurring images of long, dark, rainy nights abound; various characters contemplate their agonies; some walk away with festering wounds in their hearts. The earliest tune he wrote, “Ina ng Nawawala,” was inspired by a bloody scene: Lean Alejandro’s assassination in 1987.

In one track, “Cold,” a rare positive line is heard: “Something’s good in you.” Though it sounds more like a plea to the dejected.

The album’s statement, Diaz writes in the liner notes, is: “There is no cure to sadness.” But the way Diaz interprets the experience, with a touch of Neil Young on acoustic guitar, and traces of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen on vocals, should take away the frown.

From The Philippine Daily Inquirer

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