“Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery)” by Lav Diaz won the Silver Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival in February, amid loud cheers and a rousing standing ovation at the screening of the 8-hour film.
“Hele” won the Alfred Bauer Prize, in memory of the festival head (1951 to 1976), and was cited “for opening new perspectives on cinematic art.”
The lone Philippine entry competed against 18 other entries for the top Golden Bear Prize. Diaz’s film was the longest festival entry.
The Berlin Festival jury president, Meryl Streep, was quoted as saying, “This film. This guy. He changed the molecule system in my body.”
Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis is a black and white film adaptation of Jose Rizal’s novel El Filibusterismo which follows the events of the 1896 Philippine Revolution. The 8-hour long film tackles the search for the body of Andres Bonifacio, the founder of the Philippine revolutionary movement against Spain. The film stars John Lloyd Cruz, Piolo Pascual, Assunta De Rossi, Hazel Orencio, and Ronnie Lazaro.