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The Filipino Lav Diaz has long since taken over from the Hungarian Bela Tarr the baton of the pioneer of the film style or movement called slow-cinema. This graduate in economics, who entered the film industry as a critic and made his debut as a director at the end of the nineties as a 40-year-old, has been one of the favorites of European critics for years, and he makes films that can last five or eight hours. With “Norte, the End of History” (which lasts a little over four hours), he presented himself in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes festival, and he also won the Golden Lion in Venice and the Golden Leopard in Locarno for some of his other films.

The author has a very recognizable style, and Diaz has been sticking to it for years, and the classic Fyodor Mihajlovich Dostoyevsky, “Crime and Punishment”, served as inspiration for this crime drama. However, unlike Raskolnikov, who in the famous book beat the old moneylender Aljona Ivanovna with an ax and for the next seven days contemplated what to do, surrender or not, because of the crime of the failed law student Fabian (Sid Lucero), someone else will answer. And Fabian will kill the old moneylender, as well as her daughter, who will become a witness to the crime, not only to get her money, but also for the naive reasons of doing something good. That the world is depriving one horrible person who is a parasite on the misfortune of others, but this embittered student who likes to philosophize, moralize and reason, will not think that because of the crime he committed, someone else will suffer.

A good quarter of the film will pass until that key moment of the film, that is, until the murder of the luscious and grotesque moneylender and, coincidentally, her daughter. By then, we will already know well not only Fabian, but also the people who will suffer because of his act. In his place, the poor peasant Joaquin will end up in prison, who lost his job due to his injury and can no longer support his family, his wife Eliza and two children. When they run out of income, Joaquin’s family will be forced to borrow money from the moneylender, and just hours before Fabian will kill the moneylender, Joaquin will engage in a heated argument with her. Of course, because of this, he will not only be the main suspect, but he will soon be sentenced to life imprisonment, and Fabian will try to escape from what he did.

Diaz lets us get to know the characters and understand who they are even before that crucial act, and we follow their fates in the following years. As in his films Diaz is usually both a great researcher of recent history and a critic of the present of the Philippines, so through the character of Fabian and his childish ideas about revolutions, betrayals and countless unpunished crimes, we get to know this exotic country. Just as almost no one throughout history was held accountable for all those massive upheavals, massacres, coups, civil wars, tyrannies and everything else, so Fabian will be convinced that his crime is one of those for which he does not have to be held accountable.

But the knowledge that someone else ended up in prison because of his act and that the existence of a poor, average, typical Filipino family is threatened, will make him think about what he did. He will yearn for redemption, he will begin to despair because he got away unpunished, and by the end he will go to hell completely mentally and continue to do horrible abominations. Just like “Crime and Punishment,” “Norte, the End of History” asks whether you can get away with what you’ve done. Although it is a film that requires a lot of patience, just like the vast majority of what Diaz has made, “Norte” is a perfectly thought out, deep and smart psychological drama with which he refined his already recognizable style to perfection.