Lav Diaz’s dystopian fable—practically a short by the standards of this master of cinematic duration, clocking in at just under two hours—takes place in an eerily familiar near-future, full of graffitied buildings and plagued by guerilla warfare. In a Philippines kept under lockdown by a heavily contested military regime, poet-cum-freedom-fighter Hesus travels the country fleeing government authorities, daydreaming of a happier childhood, and struggling with his guilt over having carried out a brutal order from his revolutionary superior. An unusual foray into the science fiction genre, Hesus the Revolutionary is still very much of a piece with Diaz’s subsequent work: a film of philosophical rigor and barely muted anger.

Lav Diaz's new film Norte, The End of History is screening in the Main Slate of the 51st New York Film Festival.