Naked Under the Moon” is a Philippine family tragedy paced to make Arturo Ripstein’s “The Beginning and the End” look like “Run Lola Run” by comparison. Lav Diaz’s ultra-low-budget followup to his intriguing but similarly undisciplined 1999 debut, “The Criminal of Barrio Concepcion,” displays moral commitment and dramatic earnestness at every turn but is undone by threadbare production values and somnambulistic momentum. Local markets may respond, but international outlook is pessimistic.
Fleeing the failure of its business, the Pajaron family retreats to its ancestral home to try again in the charcoal-making trade. Dad Lauro (Joel Torre) , a former priest, is tortured by his loss of faith and the emotional frailty of wife Clara (Elizabeth Oropesa); eldest daughter Lerma (Klaudia Koronel) can’t overcome the bouts of sleepwalking that resulted in sexual abuse by a stranger; and younger sibling Agnes (Isabel Granada) bears the brunt of these woes in silence. Family is tended to by simple-minded deaf-mute Uncle Domeng (Richard Joson). Salient points about faith and guilt are swallowed by meandering plot and bursts of overcalibrated histrionics that disrupt the palpable sense of sorrow. Tech credits are rudimentary.