Tessa Maria Guazon
Diablo (Cinemalaya, Sampay Bakod Productions, Cartagina Productions)
Directed by Mes de Guzman
Diablo unleashes a spell. Exploring the anxiety and anticipation of waiting, de Guzman succeeds to paint an enduring image of motherly love. He surveys varied forms of stillness, taking us through unchanging landscapes, immersing us in the well worn routines of daily life and reliving for us enduring rituals of hope. The film ruminates on the nature of good and evil and its manifestations.
In Diablo, de Guzman finally masters fluidity missing in his other films. Well lit and beautifully shot, story and locale fuse poetically evoking metaphors of death and life, of endings and beginnings but in a manner so subdued it can be likened to the faintest movement of clouds shrouding a midday sun.
Beginning with a seemingly displaced scene of a demonic possession, we are quietly led from the depths of a cave to the vacuous interior of an old mansion, and finally to the hollow warmth of mercenary love. Narrative is patiently stitched together, segments of the story carved like niches into which perceived resolutions are effortlessly placed. We are drawn into the film because we are made to guess the fleeting shadows, the sounds the house makes, the all-seeing eye of Nana Lusing and her nightly companion, indeed whether the film is any genre that is at all familiar. This evasiveness is Diablo’s lure. A
*Notable cinematography and production design / Sound design / Direction