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Lav Diaz’s six-hour feature Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (2012) explores the recent unravelling of chronic trauma in relation to the Philippines and its three-hundred-year-long history of colonialism. Depicting the repeated rape and maltreatment of a young woman, Florentina, Diaz attempts to draw a metaphorical picture of colonial oppression, conquest and an aftermath that is still palpable today, a long period which the film-maker describes as a ‘repeated bashing of the head against the wall.’ Contrary to the aesthetics of contemporary trauma cinema, for instance rapid editing, erratic camera movement and flashbacks, Diaz’s black-and-white feature offers an alternative take on trauma in three different ways. First, there is Florentina’s repetitive recounting of her story, which indicates the temporal loop she is mentally locked in after several rapes, beatings, unwanted pregnancies and questionable methods of abortions; second, a slowness evoked by long-takes and the overall film length, which support the evocation of CTE, a degenerative disease of the brain, which progresses slowly over years and manifests itself predominantly as memory loss and severe headaches; third, there is a juxtaposition of sound and silence in order to evoke moments of rupture for both the main character and the viewer. Based on this analysis of Diaz’s specific ‘aesthetics of trauma’, I argue that Slow Cinema differs from contemporary popular cinema in its treatment of trauma in that the specific aesthetics of slowness allow for a more nuanced representation of trauma.
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A torinói ló/The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr, Hungary, 2011).
Century of Birthing (Lav Diaz, Philippines, 2011).
Death in the Land of Encantos (Lav Diaz, Philippines, 2007).
Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (Lav Diaz, Philippines, 2012).
Independencia (Raya Martin, Phillipines, 2009).
Jiaoyou/Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/France, 2013).
La vida secreta de las palabras ( The Secret Life of Words, Isabel Coixet, Spain, 2005).
Los Muertos (Lisandro Alonso, Argentina, 2004).
Melancholia (Lav Diaz, Philippines, 2008).
Samson and Delilah (Warwick Thornton, Austrlia, 2009).
Stellet Licht/Silent Night (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Netherlands/Germany 2007).
Tatlong Taong Walong Diyos/Three Godless Years (Mario O’Hara, Phillipines, 1976).
- Trauma’s Slow Onslaught: Sound and Silence in Lav Diaz’s Florentina Hubaldo, CTE
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