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Lav Diaz’s melancholy, unconventional musical confronts the violence of his country’s past – and, through it, the echoes that persist to this day.

Set in a small town in the Philippines in 1979, Season of the Devil is a tale of government-sponsored militias – ostensibly set up to maintain order, and drawing upon superstition and folklore to justify their acts – ruthlessly targeting political activists, suspected drug traffickers and random civilians. When a magnanimous young doctor disappears from the village, her estranged husband travels there to find answers and face demons, both within and without.

With its dialogue delivered entirely in song, Season of the Devil retains the masterful visuals and patient observation that Diaz (The Woman Who Left, MIFF 2017) is renowned for. Surreal yet rooted firmly in historical abuses of power, his latest film is an elegy for the persecuted, past and present alike.

"A mesmerising film that [towered] over the rest of the Berlinale selection with its uncompromising style and spirited, scathing political criticism." – The Playlist