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A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery (2016)

Hele sa hiwagang hapis (original title)
The search for the body of Andres Bonifacio.


Lav Diaz


Lav Diaz
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Piolo Pascual ... Simoun
John Lloyd Cruz ... Isagani
Hazel Orencio ... Oryang / Gregoria De Jesus
Alessandra de Rossi ... Cesaria Belarmino
Bernardo Bernardo ... Lalake / Tikbalang
Joel Saracho ... Mang Karyo
Susan Africa ... Aling Hule
Cherie Gil ... Babae / Tikbalang
Angel Aquino ... Androgynous / Tikbalang
Sid Lucero ... Basilio
Ely Buendia ... Musikero
Bart Guingona ... Kapitan Heneral
Menggie Cobarrubias ... Padre Florentino
Ronnie Lazaro ... Sebastian Caneo
Karenina Haniel ... Aling Rosario


Interconnected narratives on the Philippine Revolution of 1896-1897 against the Spanish characterize, the story of the ballad Jocelynang Baliwag, which became the hymn of the revolution; Gregoria de Jesus' forlorn search for the body of the Father of Philippine Revolution Andres Bonifacio; the journey of our national hero's fictional book characters Simon and Isagani; the role of the Philippine mythical hero of strength Bernardo Carpio and the half-man, half-horse tikbalang/engkanto, and a discourse on the Filipino psyche. Written by PhilStar

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Philippines | Singapore

Release Date:

26 March 2016 (Philippines) See more »

Also Known As:

Hele sa Hiwaga ng Hapis See more »

Filming Locations:

Sorsogon, Philippines See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Endless and strange
10 July 2016 | by BNesterSee all my reviews

Imagine walking into a museum of the Philippines Revolution. It is filled with dioramas or tableaux vivants of famous scenes and people from the revolution, portrayed by actors who act out the events. Each diorama is behind a glass wall: you can only watch from a distance. You walk from one scene to another, spending the same amount of time at each tableau. The museum goes on forever....

That's what watching this film is like. If that sounds like your idea of fun, the A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mysteries is the film for you.

All the scenes are shot in black-and-white with a fixed camera set to middle/long shot. There are no traveling shots, no close-ups, no long distance shots, no zooms, very few slight pans, and no editing. And it goes on forever.

Why did they make the film this way? My guess is that because the revolution occurred at the end of the 19th century, the director was trying to give the impression of what it would have looked like had it been filmed at that time. That was before editing had been invented, when all shots were the same length and just spliced together, and when cameras were only fixed focal length. The only special effect is an overused fog machine (perhaps a metaphor for "the fog of war"?) The actors don't actually act or speak dialogue: instead, they strike poses and declaim in highfaluting literary language. This was, I guess, the style of acting at the time.

I don't know why they didn't go the whole hog, and film it silently with dialogue cards. Perhaps they should have used nitrate stock, which could then burn up in the projector.

It could be that the film gets better as it goes along. I don't know. I escaped after two hours. The film lasts for an unbelievable eight!

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