Lav Díaz is a master in finding beauty in the organic poetry of slowness. From the 625 minutes of 2006’s Evolution Of A Filipino Family to the mere 80 of 2011’s Elegy to the Visitor From the Revolution, the filmmaker bends the intrinsic correlation between pace and running time in his exhaustive studies of the human condition. Díaz’s latest venture, Genus Pan, is yet another comprehensive take on the blurry threshold that divides animals from men. Following a trio of miners attempting to escape the shackles of exploitation through homecoming, the film intertwines trauma and violence to compose a very particular odyssey.

There are certainly moments to be appreciated in Genus Pan, the vast majority composed of the tender, vulnerable exchanges between Paulo (Bart Guingona) and Andres (Don Melvin Boongaling), two men separated by the generational barriers that weigh even heavier when it comes to the practices of longlasting traditional crafts such as mining. Eventually, however, Díaz’s existential quest turns painfully tiresome, aimlessly tiptoeing around issues that never fully reach the philosophical scrutiny it warrants.

Despite its length, Genus Pan ultimately drowns in a blunder of unfinished musings. At its best, it is a woeful reflection on the many political bridges that tightly connect the past and the present in the Philipines, perpetuating a cycle of sorrow that cruelly punishes its people. At its worst, it is an erratic allegory that heavily relies on form over content. 

Placing all his bets on the visual efficacy of contemplation, Díaz crafts a tale that banks on a utopic disposition. Patience, however, runs thin. What begins as a promising study of human nature and the lengths one will go when faced with imminent grief, sadly ends up as a diluted attempt to tell a story that simply fails to compel. 



CAST: Nanding Josef, Bart Guingona, Don Melvin Boongaling 


WRITER: Lav Díaz 

SYNOPSIS: A look at how much human beings are like animals.

About The Author


Rafaela Sales Ross is a proud Brazilian currently living in Scotland. She has a Masters in Film and Visual Culture and has been diving deep into the portrait of suicide on film for a few years now. Rafa, as she likes to be called, loves Harold and Maude, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Kleber Mendonça Filho and pretty much anything with either Ruth Gordon or Javier Bardem in it. You can find her on both Twitter and Letterboxd @rafiews