Film is commonly perceived as the most enchanting medium of expression today, casting its spell on audiences from all walks of life. For the first time, Lav Diaz, the prolific 2016 Golden Lion award winner (Venice Film Festival) and the 2016 Silver Bear winner (Berlinale) for different films, chooses Singapore as the location for his new screenplay, Henrico's Farm. In doing so, SIFA audiences are offered a rare opportunity to be on a film set and witness one of Southeast Asia's greatest contemporary film auteurs at work.
With Henrico's Farm, Diaz once again hews issues close to his heart, inspired by a real-life encounter with a Filipino migrant worker in Frankfurt. His new film is about the irony of domestics as "lifers", women who serve life sentences away from home and loved ones, embracing alternative homes in alien lands.
The film begins in Frankfurt, where Lailani, now 65, awaits a plane to Manila. She is returning home to the Philippines for the first time in 30 years. En route home, she delays her return by stopping over in Singapore. Her interactions with her fellow Filipinos help her reflect on the nature of her loss, the cycle of sacrifice and longing that marks them all.
Gripped by the fear of returning home to a life she has left behind but is still intricately connected to, she finds moments of enchantment among other lost souls. They have created their ways of living with disenchantment through a Dreamtime that shelters them from the storms of trauma. Henrico's Farm tells an individual and a collective story of sacrifice, struggle, displacement and torment in the world at large.
In Tagalog, with English translation