Almost two decades have passed since Lav Diaz’s film debut and to this day his films still seem like a true miracle. A miracle because despite being works that renounce practically all the standards of the film industry, they are films that have a place within the festival circuit. When the Waves are Gone he continues to maintain the essence of the Filipino filmmaker but seasoned with a slightly more scoundrel and mocking tone than we are used to.
The play pits two of the best police inspectors in the Philippines against each other. On the one hand, Hermes, an exemplary police officer who is soon discovered to have perpetrated an episode of domestic violence, and on the other hand, his mentor, inspector Primo Macabantay, who is released from prison 29 years after Hermes himself betrayed him. for corruption. The film gradually escalates and prepares us for the final duel to which both inspectors arrive in disparate conditions. Hermes, absolutely ravaged by stress-induced psoriasis; and Primo Macabantay completely deranged by a thirst for revenge that makes him a very dangerous madman.
Diaz does not renounce virtually any of his formal convictions. Neither to the length of the feature film (despite being one of the short ones, only three hours), nor to the solemn framings in a fixed camera, nor to the long sequence shots that can be full of dialogue as well as simply showing a character dancing for five minutes. Lav has managed to adapt to a style that he already knows perfectly well and that he has managed to refine over the years. The film, despite having limited resources, is full of splendid shots with enviable black and white photography. A cinema that is not only aesthetically beautiful but also very politically committed. When the Waves are Gone it is once again a stinging satire against the politics and police of an absolutely corrupt country. We need more films from Lav Diaz and even more hours of footage, because he is undoubtedly one of the active filmmakers with the purest and most unique look.