‘Norte’ – The Story of Lav

By , on September 13, 2014

A scene from Norte. Photo from the official Facebook Page of Lav Diaz.
A scene from Norte. Photo from the official Facebook Page of Lav Diaz.

MANILA — Producer Raymond Lee remembers it like it only happened yesterday – the first moment he pitched the idea of a story to Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz.

One day in September 2012, he called up Diaz saying that he has a story that he would like for the latter to read. Lee describes the story as “very Lav.” He was with Diaz in an advocacy filmmaking workshop organized by an artists’ group in Siliman University.

Over coffee, Lee discussed his story to Diaz with his friend the late funnyman Tado. After the meeting, Lav told him, “Let’s shoot now!”

Back then, the movie does not have a title. Rather, it’s just a new “Lav Diaz Film” produced by Lee and Rody Vera. After three months, they decided to name it “Parol.”

Compared with most movies, Lee shared that the shoot for the movie was smooth sailing. For him, it was the easiest, fastest, and lightest 20 days of shooting.

Diaz was the one who sets the pace, and dictates the mood and tone of the movie. They constantly checked with local guides and their staff to see to it that the movie is at par with what they have in mind.

During the shoot, Diaz sat quietly listening to all their ideas and discussions. Later on, he admitted that he was listening to what they had and he tried his best to absorb all their ideas. They were in on the set from late January to late February 2013. No one extended their working hours, left alone for Diaz. He was very particular in all the details – from the inclusion of new scenes, dialogues, and creation of new characters.

Come May 2013, during the gala in Cannes in France, they were all too tensed to sit down on their seats during the viewing. When the end credits started to roll in, the “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” received a long standing ovation. Everybody was up on their feet, while some are in tears. But Diaz was nowhere to be found.

After two minutes of ovation, Diaz was ushered by the programmer. As the audience spots him, the applause became louder. Nobody believed that it took Lee and his team only 20 days to finish such a movie film. They give all credit to Diaz who made everything easy.