Kidlat Tahimik: Filipino CineSpace Explorer

Web Slides Jpegs 10-21-02
Co-Presenter: Aurora Picture Show

This program is made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National endowment for the Humanities.

Aurora Picture Show joins Houston Cinema Arts Festival in hosting Kidlat Tahimik, “the father of the new Filipino cinema.” Aurora’s screening will be supplemented with a live performance and an installation by the director, addressing the situation of Third World filmmakers vis-à-vis Hollywood. In Perfumed Nightmare and Who Invented the Yoyo? Who Invented the Moon Buggy?, Tahimik’s character aspires to build a Third World competitor to NASA, the Hollywood of space programs. Tahimik will also screen his epic film diary of the 1980s, Why is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow (a.k.a. I Am Furious Yellow), considered by many critics and filmmakers to be his masterpiece.

Perfumed Nightmare tells the story of a villager, Kidlat, who would like to experience the shimmering wonders of the First World and travel to even more distant worlds. As the president of the local Werner von Braun fan club, Kidlat dreams of Cape Canaveral and plans to start his own space program. Addressing issues of globalization, exile, and postcolonial identity with humor and charm, Perfumed Nightmare excited many with the new possibilities of an indigenous Third World political cinema.

There is little in Tahimik’s early biography to indicate the career he would eventually choose. He was born Eric de Guia in Baguio in 1942 to an engineer and a woman who would be the first female mayor in the Philippines. After receiving a master’s degree from the business school at Wharton, he worked for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris in 1968. Uninspired by the research he was called upon to perform, he left his job to sell memorabilia at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Afterwards, rather than returning home, he joined an artists’ commune in Munich and eventually attracted the attention of Werner Herzog, who cast him in a small part in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974). Under Herzog’s tutelage, he took up filmmaking and premiered Perfumed Nightmare at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival. The film quickly traveled the world, championed in the U.S. by Francis Ford Coppola and Susan Sontag.

Since then, Tahimik has created a string of documentaries and one fiction feature film, all of which demonstrate his love of wordplay both silly and sophisticated and his ability to blend politics and the imagination in surprising and revealing ways.

David Pendleton, Harvard Film Archive

Perfumed_Nightmare_Film_by_Les_Blank_Flower_FilmsTHE PERFUMED NIGHTMARE plus live performance and installation by Kidlat Tahimik
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 7:00 P.M.
AURORA PICTURE SHOW

WHO INVENTED THE YOYO? WHO INVENTED THE MOON BUGGY?
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 4:00 P.M., FREE
SHE WORKS FLEXIBLE

WHY IS YELLOW THE MIDDLE OF THE RAINBOW?
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 1:00 P.M., FREE
SHE WORKS FLEXIBLE