A scene from one of my scripts, Ang Uniberso ni Hugo (Hugo’s Universe)
SEQ 70. INT. STUDIO. DAY.
Images from the films of HUGO are running in the background, a wall that seemed clothed by crashed tusks of walruses and narwhals, giving a rather superficial luminance akin to standard commercial movie and television productions; bad, bad lighting really. Annoyed, HUGO points his finger to his back.
Please, could you possibly stop that.
Lady host gestures to the director; running footages stop. Hugo and the host suddenly seem to eerily float on white.
LADY HOST (trying to conceal her irritation)
Ok. When does it actually come… I mean, the film?
An idea comes, the so-called germ. It could be inspired by a vision, an event, an incident, a poem, a novel, a song, a hymn, an anthem, a theory, a news item, a text message, a scent, a curve, the rain, the clouds, the dust, the earth, the sound of a rushing car or just a feeling, an abstraction, pathos, an energy. The initial struggle would be articulation; how to articulate it in the medium. So, I try to follow a storyline, create an outline. I create and follow characters. Zero judgment, they must be pure, primal, elemental. I visualize these dynamics. I watch the film in my head, unlock the kaleidoscope, the juggle, create details to make some verisimilitude, impose a pattern, or address some dialectics to make a sense of a current that can be followed and discoursed upon. Just like a dream. There are threads playing in my head and I follow them, I play with them, I struggle with them, everyday, in my sleep, in my waking hours, when I make love, when I masturbate, when I’m fucked up, about to kill myself. I often carry a pen and a notebook. In case, a good idea comes, I take note, I write it. In the absence of a pen and a notebook, I shall be repeating, till kingdom come, the idea or the image and the imagined in my head like a mantra, like a refrain from a suffocating hit song. I write my dreams, what I can remember. It’s hard to remember dreams, they escape, they burst. But if you write them right after waking up, the images are supreme, sublime, transcendent; it’s poetry. The greatest filmmaker is the being inside of us, the one that dreams, the one who lives inside a dream, the invisible, the one who doesn’t give a fuck. Our physical being, this overt and corporal thing is so fucking conscious. I wish I can only exist in that inside being. I’m in the middle of a dream right now. I’m in a zone. I’m trying to finish a film. I don’t know if I can actually finish it. Filmmaking has no mathematical certainty to me. I’m still trying to find its origins. That makes cinema infinite. Life is mysterious but it is quite precise as death is a certainty. But cinema is the great continuum; it is immortal; it can recreate life; it immortalizes being; there’s no death. I am talking about the greater cinema, a cinema that is not methodical, a cinema that is free. I am talking about the inside being. I am in solidarity with greater cinema; I struggle to be in the domain of the inside being, the invisible filmmaker, the filmmaker who knows nothing. Man, am I making sense at all?
You do, Hugo.
I can’t believe I’m uttering all these nonsensical…
Hugo stops talking. The lady interviewer looks stunned, dumfounded, loses her guard, disabling her knees, her skimpy skirt abandoning, retreating, exposing—
Hugo is staring at the legs.
LADY HOST (composing herself, joining her knees, pulling her skirt down)
HUGO (very low voice)
I’m a fraud.
What was that?
Lav Diaz was born in Cotabato, Mindanao. He works as director, writer, producer, editor, cinematographer, poet, composer, production designer and actor all at once. Since 1998 he has directed twelve films. In 2013, his film NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY was presented at Un Certain regard Cannes Film Festival.