Storm Children: Book One Screen 8 articles

Storm Children: Book One

2014

Storm Children: Book One Poster
  • Diaz’s strong affection for these people, for these children, many of whom are his friends, is clear from every frame, but there is a moment in the film, when the children just keep on going through the same garbage pile, systematically unearthing layers of debris while Diaz detachedly looks on, when both ethical and aesthetic imperative start to feel strained and the thematic motif of Sisyphean endurance gives way to pure dispositivism.

  • Through documenting the storm children and their families, Lav Diaz also reconsiders the Philippines’ social history – not through an orthodox chronology of crucial people and events, but via outbursts and disruptions of time-place in all their absurdity and illogicality, via stories of the marginalized and under-represented.

  • Capturing a bereft community in the Philippines in the wake of a devastating storm, it’s short relative to [Diaz's] other epic meditations at a mere 143 minutes, but still in unhurried mode enfolds us in the rhythms of everyday life as it reasserts itself against the stillness of eternal fate.

  • With From What Is Before hardly having receded from the memory, it was an unexpected pleasure to engage with Laz Diaz again so soon, a feeling given additional piquancy by the fact that Storm Children: Book One is a documentary. For this shift in mode for the director is by no means a shift in form, as the same palette of lengthy shots, fascinatingly multi-layered visual compositions and precise dissections of individual locations bears witness to.

  • A movie is an organism, a living being that develops in contact with and in reaction to the surrounding reality, and nothing – least of all “cages of words and numbers” such as screenplays or theoretical distinctions between film genres – should interfere with the gradual process of its growth. Thus, far from being just an occasional, festival-sponsored venture into documentary territory, Storm Children – Book One must be considered a manifesto for Diaz’s samizdat “free cinema”.

  • Late in the film, an interview reveals what the kids are actually doing and why they’re so alone, which Diaz gives his viewers after almost two hours of just allowing us the space and time to watch, experience and think. This is radical reportage and proof of the enduring ability of captured images to open up our perceptual pathways.

  • Arguably uncomfortable is the convergence of the aesthetic glory on display and the desperation and pain it is built upon... Their unusual configuration and co-presentation whip up a whirlpool of genres and styles, including Constructivism, Surrealism, the carnivalesque, sci-fi, verite, minimalism, horror, and tragedy. Not much happens; everything happens.

  • [Diaz] has continued to make his own cinema, image-making in the purest sense, free from the niggling issues that undermined his previous two excursions into narrative features, Norte, the End of History and From What Is Before, while almost entirely eschewing hallmarks of traditional non-fiction filmmaking. It’s a mesmerising, beautiful film that wordlessly transmits its vision while also playing with Diaz’s continual fascination with time and duration.