RIP Marilou Diaz-Abaya

It strikes me as really depressing that I only ever post about women directors when they’ve died – Nora Ephron, Vivi Friedman, Sarah Watt, Tatyana Lioznova – and once again, another pioneering woman has passed away.

Marilou Diaz-Abaya, an award-winning Filipino filmmaker, has succumbed to breast cancer at age 57. I had heard of Diaz-Abaya, but never actually saw any of her films. Her 1998 biopic José Rizal is perhaps her most famous and most critically-acclaimed film, but three other films besides that one are available on DVD through Netflix: Karnal (1983), Sa pusod ng dagat (aka In the Navel of the Sea) (1998) and Noon at Ngayon (2003).

I am going to try to be more attentive to female filmmakers in upcoming posts. I had the pleasure of seeing a great new movie, Sister, last week at the Museum of the Moving Image. Director Ursula Meier and two of her young stars – one of whom you may have heard of, Léa Seydoux – were in attendance. It was great to see a woman director in person. I also saw Valerie Faris speak at a Q&A for Ruby Sparks back in July; it has certainly been an interesting season for women behind the camera. Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere and Ry Russo-Young’s Nobody Walks (co-written with Lena Dunham) will be released soon, so I hope to catch those films in theaters. Women directors are far and few between compared to men, so I think it’s important to get an idea of the female perspective. I’m sure that Marilou Diaz-Abaya had her own unique vision.


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