Ang Babaeng Humayo or The Woman who Left (2016, Lav Diaz) Movie Review
Starring: Charo Santos, John Lloyd Cruz
Ang Babaeng Humayo is, without any cuts, nearly four hours long. This three hour and fifty minute black and white film is essentially a revenge tale of a woman to her former lover. But it’s not a typical revenge story focused on delivering the hate towards the opposed; it’s actually revenge dipped with a cascade of humanity and among other things, transcendence.
This film talks about the metaphysical being of a human, what it means and how it means to be one. Revenge in The Woman who Left doesn’t present characters who have completely expressed a dark attitude filled with teeming hate. It doesn’t present a condition in which characters have to be wholly good or rather ideal; this film talks about the reality of human nature and how the physical surface is merely just a dot in the scheme of life.
Being a Lav Diaz film, one would expect long cuts or scenes of characters talking or the frame just focusing on the background, and that’s right. I’ll admit, this film is incredibly slow. But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t captivated the whole way through. That doesn’t mean that I had to check my watch an irrelevant amount of times throughout the duration of the entire movie. In fact, it drew me in. The performances of Charon Santos and John Lloyd Cruz are just fantastic. Santos, who portrayed a character that dealt with thirty years of wronged imprisonment exhibited perfect elegance and a vicious rawness to her acting. Cruz, who portrayed a misunderstood transvestite, had very careful acting which came off as positively natural. Just these two on screen are enough to engross me into this world and as I have mentioned earlier, this metaphysical state. That doesn’t mean to say that everyone else was mediocre. The man who sold balot had a great aura and just every other side character did their part in delivering this terrific film.
With that being said, Ang Babaeng Humayo is glorious. It feels revolutionary at just a small scale, little words and actions changing one’s life. Although I didn’t feel this film to be completely perfect, with a lack of plot and resolution, that barely derailed me from experiencing this momentous movie. Lav Diaz is best at delivering his art through his script, lyrical words flowing together to formulate beautiful sentence structures that means more than it may seem. This film left a message that not only touched me as a viewer, but also as a human being.
Watched September 2016