Watch Storm Children, Book One
- 2 hr 22 min
Storm Children, Book One is a 2014 documentary that sheds light on the challenges faced by children living in one of the poorest and most disaster-prone regions of the Philippines. The film is a poetic and evocative portrayal of the resilience and adaptability of these children, who face natural disasters and economic hardships with stoicism, creativity, and a sense of hope. The film was directed by Lav Diaz, an acclaimed Filipino filmmaker, and was produced by the Independent Association of Filipinos for Nationalism (Bayan, for short). It is the first installment in a series of three films that Diaz made about the lives of children living in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, one of the deadliest typhoons in Philippine history. The film begins with images of a desolate landscape ravaged by the forces of nature - coconut trees bending under the weight of the wind, houses destroyed by the storm, and debris scattered everywhere. We soon see glimpses of the children who inhabit this world: a group of boys playing soccer in the muddy terrain, a girl selling coconuts by the roadside, a young boy fishing in a canal. These children are the storm children of the title - survivors of a typhoon that has uprooted their lives and left them to fend for themselves in a landscape that offers little comfort or security. The film is shot in black and white, and the images are both lyrical and haunting. Diaz uses long takes and static cameras to create a sense of stillness and introspection, allowing the viewer to immerse themselves in the world of the children and to feel the weight of their precarious existence. The film is also punctuated by voiceovers from the children themselves, who talk about their lives, their dreams, and their fears. One of the most striking aspects of the film is the way in which it portrays the resourcefulness of the children. We see them using whatever tools are available to them to make a life for themselves - a piece of wood becomes a makeshift boat, an old tire serves as a plaything, a discarded piece of sheet metal becomes a shelter. The children are not presented as helpless victims but as active agents in their own lives, doing what they can to survive and thrive in the face of adversity. Another theme that runs throughout the film is the importance of community in the lives of these children. We see them banding together to help each other out, sharing food and water and offering comfort and support. The community becomes a source of strength and resilience, a lifeline in a world that is otherwise bleak and uncertain. The film also touches on the role of education in the lives of these children. We see them attending a makeshift school, with a dedicated teacher who works with limited resources to offer them a basic education. Education is presented as a way out of poverty and a means to a better life, but the film also acknowledges the challenges and obstacles that these children face in pursuing their dreams. There are moments of joy and beauty in the film, as we see the children engage in simple pleasures - playing, singing, dancing. But the film never shies away from the harsh realities of their lives. We see them struggling to find food, water, and shelter, and we see the toll that this takes on their physical and emotional well-being. Storm Children, Book One is a powerful and moving portrait of a community in crisis, and of the resilience and fortitude of its youngest members. Diaz's poetic and understated style allows the viewer to enter into the world of these children and to experience their struggles and triumphs on an intimate level. The film is a testament to the human spirit and a reminder of the strength and resourcefulness that can emerge in the face of adversity.