Documentary Review: Happy Lamento (2018) by Alexander Kluge and Khavn

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the verb “to lament” is described as “to feel or express great sadness or disappointment about somebody/something”. The word is also regarded as a synonym for “to wail” or “to complain”, giving it a vague negative connotation, for “to lament about a condition” is just complaining about something in words, rather than through actions. Considering this definition, you could say that “Happy Lamento”, a collaboration between German director Alexander Kluge and Filipino director Khavn de la Cruz poses an interesting contradiction, since it is about the happiness or joy of complaining about a condition, as the title suggests.

In general, “Happy Lamento” does not follow a narrative of any kind, and should rather be considered a cinematic collage. Sorted through various chapters with titles like “Moon” or “Circus”, Alexander Kluge interviews friends and colleagues of his, among them writer and dramatist Heiner Müller
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