Mula Sa Kung Ano Ang Noon
2014 / 338m - Philippines
From What Is Before poster


October 21, 2022


Archetypical arthouse, and no doubt a must for fans of minimalist/slow cinema. This was my first feature-length Diaz film, and it turned out quite a bit better than expected. I'm not the biggest fan of those long/slow arthouse films, but the ambient sounds and stark black & white cinematography worked pretty well for me.

The film zooms in on the zeitgeist of the country during the martial law of 1972. Regular citizens and the government are shown going about their business, often with grim results. It stands in stark contrast with the presentation of the film, but it's exactly that tension that makes it interesting.

I won't defend the runtime (nearly six hours of slow-moving, singular cinema is too much for me) and the arthouse aesthetic isn't the most original, but it is executed very well and after a while, I did get into the groove of the Diaz' film. It's just that it wasn't strong enough to keep me there for the entire runtime.