` Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) `

Lav Diaz's "Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis" Wins Silver Bear Alfred Baure Prize at Berlinale

Lav Diaz’s latest epic, "Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery)" has won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer prize at the recently concluded Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale). 

The Silver Bear Alfred Bauer prize is awarded to a film that opens new perspectives. An international jury headed by Meryl Streep handed out the awards on the evening of February 20, 2016.

Present at the awards ceremony were the cast and crew of the film, including director Lav Diaz, producers Paul Soriano and Bianca Balbuena, actors John Lloyd Cruz, Piolo Pascual, Cherie Gil, Alessandra de Rossi, Angel Aquino, Hazel Orencio, Bernardo Bernardo, Susan Africa, and Joel Saracho, amongst others.

The 8-hour film is about the controversial death of Andres Bonifacio, Supreme Leader of the activist group, Katipunan, and founder of Philippine Revolution against Spain. It was May 9, 1897 that Bonifacio was charged with punishment by death. Rival revolutionaries executed him and his body has never been found.

The film revolves around the desperate and harrowing thirty-day search of Bonifacio’s widow, Gregoria de Jesus, to find Andres' body in the mountains. Despite being sick, hungry, angry, lonely, and nearly mad, she searches for the truth behind her husband’s death.

The film uncovers four versions of Bonifacio’s execution story — General Lazaro Macapagal's, one soldier's, a farmer's and a fortune-teller's. The stories are replete with fact, fiction, truths, lies, even myths — in Philippine tradition, there are talks about centaur's blood and Bernardo di Caprio's legendary poisoning of Bonifacio.

The execution of Bonifacio remains a big debacle in the Filipino people's search for truth. The truth has never been resolved; the killers are even heralded as national heroes. But no proper burial was given to Andres Bonifacio.

“Hele” was a co-prodcution between the Philippines and Singapore with producers Ten17P, BCP, Epicmedia, sine olivia pilipinas, Potocol, Akanga Film Asia, Star Cinema, ABS-CBN Productions.


(AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)

Lav Diaz stated that the film was "my attempt to bring the truth out to the nation, the truth that people deserve, even if it means going against what has been taught as the 'right history'. I only hope that this rebellion could mean something for the country."

The film had its world premiere at the Berlinale on Feb. 18, with a second screening the day after.

The Berlinale is a great cultural event and one of the most important dates for the international film industry. It stands amongst the most prestigious film festivals such as Cannes and Venice. More than 330,000 tickets are sold, with more than 20,000 professional visitors from 128 countries, including more than 3,700 journalists attending. Art, glamour, party and business are all inseparably linked at the Berlinale.

Film Development Council of the Philippines