Following its recent Philippine premiere last month at the UP Film Institute, Lav Diaz’s latest film—a four-hour long ‘rock opera’, Ang Panahon ng Halimaw—will finally be hitting local screens on May 30.
Described by producer Bianca Balbuena as ‘an anti-musical’, Ang Panahon ng Halimaw, a stark subversion of the oft-jovial genre, takes place during the Martial Law era of the Marcos regime.
It focuses on a poet-activist (Piolo Pascual) as he probes into the disappearance of his wife (Shaina Magdayao) while a paramilitary group terrorizes civilians in a remote Philippine village during the late ‘70’s.
Aside from Pascual and Magdayao, the stellar cast also includes several actors from the local theater scene—Pinky Amador (Agnes of God), Bituin Escalante (Himala, isang musikal), Joel Saracho (Buwan at Baril in Eb Major), and Bart Guingona (Blackbird).
Director and writer Lav Diaz also composed the music for the musical, which features over 33 original songs all sung a capella. “The music, the songs for this film came naturally,” Diaz tells Inquirer. “I was holed up in my room in Harvard for eight months working on a book and a screenplay for a film noir.”
The film is rated R13 and will be showing exclusively at the following Ayala Cinemas starting May 30, with English subtitles: Glorietta 4, Trinoma, Market Market, Ayala Fairview Terraces, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Alabang Town Center, and Ayala Center Cebu.
Ang Panahon ng Halimaw was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year. This is Diaz’s second time competing at the Berlinale, with his critically-acclaimed Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis winning the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize last 2016.