Kidlat Tahimik at Berlin festival

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Kidlat Tahimik at Berlin festival
More on 'Balikbayan #1' here

In the early 1970s, Eric de Guia, former student leader of the University of the Philippines and just out of Wharton’s School in the other UP, University of Pennsylvania, resigned from his job at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and decided to make a movie.

Mababangong Bangungot (Perfumed Nightmare), came out in 1977 and won the International Critics Award at the Berlin Film Festival. On the strength of that film (he also went on to make 15 others), Eric de Guia, now known as Kidlat Tahimik, became one of the most respected independent filmmakers in the world. (WATCH: Kidlat Tahimik: Hitting the cultural brakes

Thirty-seven years later, Kidlat Tahimik’s Balikbayan#1 aka Memories of Overdevelopment Redux 1 will premiere at the 65th Berlin International Forum of New Cinema, from February 5 to 15.

Kidlat Tahimik, who flew off to Berlin Saturday, February 7, said that his film will not be for competition but will still be part of the festival. 

“I was late in submitting my work and didn’t think much about it. That was until the Indonesian scout for the festival noticed it and wanted to include it,” Tahimik said. He will be with his family (son Kawayan plays the reincarnated Ferdinand Magellan, wife Katrin plays the original Queen Isabella while other sons Kidlat Sr. and Kabunyan played cameo roles), editor Abbie SJ Lara and Chuck Guttierez, in Berlin. 

Balikbayan#1 is the fictionalized story of Enrique de Malacca, whom Tahimik imagined to have been an Ifugao lad who flew using his Ifugao blanket from Cordillera to Cebu. From Cebu, he was sold in Malacca to Ferdinand Magellan.

Because the movie had been in the works for 30 years, it was a testament of Tahimik’s playfulness and editing genius, coupled with his trademark home movie feel and subtle kick to Hollywood capitalism which makes the film wonderful.

It was first shown to a select few in the Singapore Biennale 2013 at the Singapore Art Museum.

Tahimik said that the Singapore version has since changed, with some of the opening shots edited out to bring out the origins of Enrique de Malacca, which was played by Kidlat Tahimik himself. He also said that the role of Lopez Nauyac, the Ifugao elder, was made more pronounced.

The official program for Balikbayan #1 is shown here.  

The film will join 42 others in the main program of the Festival’s International Forum. –

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