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The Woman Who Left (2016)The Woman Who Left (2016)

The Woman Who Left (2016)

A Golden Lion-winning moralistic tale from slow cinema master Lav Diaz

Drama

7.4

movie

Philippines

English, Japanese, Spanish

Challenging, Dark, Long

2016

Lav Diaz

Charo Santos-Concio, John Lloyd Cruz, Kakai Bautista

227 min

Synopsis

After spending the last 30 years in prison, Horacia is immediately released when someone else confessed to the crime. Still overwhelmed by her new freedom, she comes to the painful realization that her aristocratic former lover had set her up. As kidnappings targeting the wealthy begin to proliferate, Horacia sees the opportunity to plot her revenge.

Our Take

7.4
Gerald Cajayon

Based on the short story “God Sees the Truth, But Waits” by Leo Tolstoy, The Woman Who Left is a film about people with nowhere to go. Set in 1990s Philippines, the film follows Horacia, an ex-convict seeking revenge on her former lover who masterminded her unjust 30-year imprisonment. Along the way, she meets various people—a hunchback balut vendor, vagabonds, and an epileptic trans woman, among others—all downtrodden in their own unique ways and united only by their nightly wanderings, with whom Horacia’s true nature is revealed and reconfigured with every encounter.

Lav Diaz’s signature slow cinema minimalism and sharp chiaroscuro lighting allow for a meditative experience, further enhancing the film’s immersive quality. Despite its bleak atmosphere, The Woman Who Left remains hopeful amidst moral quandaries, where things eventually fall into their rightful place, albeit in unexpected ways.

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