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Kidlat Tahimik's films are not only "messages from the Third World" as PERFUMED NIGHTMAREwas once described, but products and reflections of a world in which globalization had affected the private sphere well before "globalization" became a ubiquitous term. When in this film the construction of a Bavarian onion dome is juxtaposed with that of a jeepney bus through parallel montage or, in the second film TURUMBA (RP 1981, 4. & 12.3.), a Filipino hamlet becomes a sweat shop where Olympia Waldis, the 1972 Munich Olympics mascot, are mass produced, we are watching a hybridization that has long been underway. Haven't we already mentioned Bavaria twice? In 1972, Kidlat Tahimik quit his job at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and went to Munich. His aim was selling Olympic souvenirs to transition himself into an artist’s life. After meeting his future wife, he settled in Bavaria for a few years. For a short while, they lived in a commune in the countryside, where Tahimik met some students from the Munich film school. Soon after they introduced him to their teacher Werner Herzog, who, on the spot, created a bit role for Kidlat Tahimik in "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" (1974). The fact that German audiences first saw him as a nose-flute playing "Indio" is one of the many oddities of Tahimik's Bavarian story, which the artist will share when introducing TURUMBA on March 4th. Perhaps his early work should even be considered as a part of New German Cinema. Before returning to the Philippines with his family, he shot most of WHO INVENTED THE YOYO? WHO INVENTED THE MOON BUGGY? (RP/FRG 1978/82, 2. & 14.3.), in Upper Bavaria, but he only finished the film after he had made TURUMBA. WHO INVENTED THE YOYO?also features the same joy in playing and tinkering around as PERFUMED NIGHTMARE, telling the story of a lederhosen-wearing Filipino who still wants to go to the moon and has all the necessary equipment in his Bavarian farmstead - a zinc bathtub, a disused fodder silo, a hen for animal experiments and enough onions for the thrust. The film is one of the criminally neglected treasures of film history.Perhaps this German premiere will not come too late to convince us that the first man on the moon was a woman.The next two films, TURUMBAand YAN KI - MADE IN HONG KONG (HK/CH 1980, 3.3.), were the beneficiaries of Swiss development aid. At the beginning of OLYMPIC GOLD (RP 1981, 3.3.), the TV version of TURUMBA (last broadcast in October 1981), Tahimik presents a dumbfounded audience with his "bamboo microphone", a metaphor for cultural production in the global South that has cropped up in his work ever since. YAN KI has a Chaplinesque epilogue, in which an industrious tailor played by Tahimik himself is buried under  the products of his own piece work. In both films, the cinematic language fluctuates between grotesque and affection and contrasts in an unintentionally comic way with the German voices of the dubbing artists. Tahimik began his long-term essay project WHY IS YELLOW AT THE MIDDLE OF THE RAINBOW? (RP 1984–1994, 5. & 17.3.) in 1984. How could such a multi-faceted document of the 1980s, the Marcos dictatorship, the Cold War and globalization have been completely ignored in Germany? The film had a similarly protracted genesis as BALIKBAYAN #1, although the phases of the process were demarcated by political events - the assassination of Benigno Aquino, the Yellow Revolution that led to Marcos' departure from power, the withdrawal of US military forces from the Philippines - but also by tornados and power cuts and by the dramas and epiphanies in Kidlat's family on their journeys between Arizona and Ingolstadt. Bearing the title "I Am Furious (Yellow)", an early version of the film was shown in the mid-1980s, but it was then declared a work in progress again after the hopes placed in President Corazon Aquino were not fulfilled and people returned to the streets to protest. Spanning an entire era, the yellow film will be the occasion on 5th March to explore with Kidlat Tahimik himself the central tropes of shorter films that emerged more or less at the same time, or a bit later.  TAKEDERA MON AMOUR (RP/J, 5.3.) was not only the first of Tahimik's many "Japanese films", but also his first "diary film". He described it as follows: "It is a diary of the bamboo connection between the crazy family of a Filipino filmmaker and the conservative family of a Buddhist priest in Japan". It was also seven years in the making (1982–1989) and in the middle Tahimik switched from 16 mm to video, turning the film into a reflection of medium and working conditions. The subsequent shorts program is about the Japan references in Tahimik's films and his idiosyncratic form of the video diary. OUR FILM-GRIMAGE TO GUIMARAS (RP/J 2006), BUBONG. ROOFS OF THE WORLD UNITE! (RP/J 2006), SOME MORE RICE (RP/J 2000) and JAPANESE SUMMERS OF A FILIPINO FUNDOSHI (RP/J 1996, all 5.3.) go backwards into the past, from a "healing ritual" on the island of Guimaras after an oil spill, to a small philosophical tale about the roofs of the world, a homage to Japanese rice farmers and a half-hour essay film that was made in the middle of the entire oeuvre and pools all its characteristics together. In JAPANESE SUMMERS, Kidlat Tahimik discovers an item of clothing on his hips that binds Japan with the Philippines: the loincloth - "fundoshi" in Japanese, "bahag" in Kidlat's language. Like weaver's shuttles, Tahimik's associations flit backwards and forwards, intertwining travel encounters and art events, his sons' buttocks, Marilyn Monroe's legs and the bombing of Hiroshima to create an astonishingly solid patchwork film. Sunday 6th March is dedicated to the new film BALIKBAYAN #1. The figure of the slave who outdoes his master is not only the spirit that kept this film alive for 40 years, it also  circulates like a rumor through the other films that Tahimik made in the meantime. A first rough version that was begun in 1980 and was shot with simple, but marvelous, props was called MEMORIES OF OVERDEVELOPMENT (RP 1984, 6.3.). It was abandoned in the end because of a new film. In the two video diaries ORBIT 50: LETTERS TO MY 3 SONS (RP 1992) and CELEBRATING THE YEAR 2021, TODAY (RP 1995) and the one-hour documentary essay BANAL KAHOY (RP/J 2002, all 6.3.) several recurring motifs from Tahimik's films come into their own: the marvelled gaze upon his own family, the idea of cycles and recycling, the fondness for Japanese culture and also his esteem for the Ifugao, a mountain people of Cordillera who have a long history of resistance. The shaman and whittler Lopez, whom we meet in Tahimik's films over and over again and whose artifacts the director likes bringing to screenings, is perhaps less a representative of timeless indigenous wisdom than an ally in a constantly changing struggle. "Context films": Philippine cinema and more distant relatives
Even if Kidlat Tahimik sees himself as a self-contained autodidactic filmmaker, his films are ensnared in the secret agreements and  elective affinities that always exist between films. This selection of "context films" explores some of these references, although "context" has to remain a broad term when it comes to Tahimik's idiosyncratic oeuvre. The selection provides rare occasions to become familiar with five key figures of Philippine cinema who preceded Tahimik or were his contemporaries, as in the case of Ishmael Bernal and Lino Brocka. A highlight of this small "retrospective within a retrospective" is certainly Manuel Conde's GENGHIS KHAN (RP 1950, 13.3.). If it is possible to draw any conclusions from this one film about an entire oeuvre, Conde must have been one of the great masters of Philippine cinema, but unfortunately most of his films have been lost. With a tiny budget, he was able to tell the story of the Mongol leader in a style that evokes Dreyer's "Passion de Jeanne d'Arc", Eisenstein's Mexico fragments and Orson Welles' Shakespeare adaptations. We will screen a print recently restored by the Film Development Council of the Philippines, which was the country's centerpiece at last year's Venice Biennale. GILIW KO (RP 1939, 19.3.) is thought to be the oldest Philippine film still in existence, a treasure that only survived on DVD. Antonio leads a jazz orchestra in Manila. While on a visit to his family's hacienda, he discovers his step-sister's singing talents and persuades her to try her luck as a singer in the capital. The bamboo radio that a worker on the hacienda builds in his free time and the bamboo orchestra that plays at a wedding point to metaphors like the bamboo camera that Kidlat Tahimik would operate in his films four decades later. The colonial history of the Philippines, which saw the US replace the Spanish in 1898, triggered peculiar contradictions in cinema. GILIW KO contrasts the plantation system inherited from the Spanish but now considered "native" with jazz and urban nightlife, while Lamberto Avellana plays the Spanish heritage against the vices of greed and opportunism from the US in A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST OF THE FILIPINO (RP 1965, 19.3.). The film was based on a successful play by Nick Joaquin, in which a prominent, aging painter barricades himself in his studio in Manila's old town - cared for by two unmarried daughters and besieged by money-grabbers trying to get their hands on the inheritance. The film's style can be aptly described by the title of a collection of short stories by Joaquin - Tropical Gothic. A print restored by L'Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna will be screened. Also restored in Bologna, Manila in the Claws of Light (RP 1975, 18.3.), is a neorealist urban melodrama that brought Lino Brocka international acclaim. A young "provinciano" arrives in the Philippine capital looking for his disappeared girlfriend and makes ends meet with odd jobs and prostitution. The contemporaries Kidlat Tahimik and Lino Brocka occupy the two extremes of independent Philippine cinema but both draw their creative energy from the rebellion against the injustice of the regime. Christian Blackwood captured Brocka's generous open genius in his like-minded portrait SIGNED: LINO BROCKA (USA 1987, 18.3.) Brocka is shown making one of the commercial films with which he financed his socio-critical works. In long interview sequences, he talks about growing up in the post-war Philippines, how he found his way to film, his homosexuality and the political activism which landed him in jail for a short while during the Marcos dictatorship. In the final scene of HIMALA (RP 1982, 12.3.), Elsa tells all those who believed in her healing powers that: "There are no miracles! We make miracles ourselves." Ishmael Bernal's angry parable of a village that becomes a place of pilgrimage became a great classic of Philippine cinema that evokes the heretical films of Pier Paolo Pasolini and Fernando Arrabal. It was one of the Philippines' most successful films in the 1980s and the first to run in the Berlinale's competition. The proximity between pathos and pathology that Bernal draws attention to might also have attracted Werner Schroeter when he made DER LACHENDE STERN (FRG/RP 1983, 15.3.), an essayistic rapprochement to the Philippines in the final phase of the Marcos dictatorship. An abundance of highly interesting historical material, in part shot by the director himself, in part found footage, is edited together to create a portrait of a schizophrenic society. The film contrasts with Kidlat Tahimik's open and improvised film structures of the same era. The famed Japanese director Shinsuke Ogawa is one of the few to whom Kidlat Tahimik pays direct homage in his work. He made a name for himself with documentaries about the political movements of the 1960s and 70s and became legendary with a cycle of documentaries about a mountainous village in Zao, where he found traces of Japan's entire history, from early crustaceans to the disaster of the Second World War to the post-war economic miracle. We will show FURUYASHIKI VILLAGE (J 1983, 10.3.), the first of these cinematic adventures where time is slowed down. Mohammed Ousfour and Djibril Diop Mambéty are two filmmakers from the African continent who probably knew as little about Tahimik as he did about them, yet here he finds himself in their company. Ousfour is thought to be the first Moroccan to make a film in Morocco, an 8mm adaptation of Tarzan that premiered in a courtyard in Casablanca in 1941. His passion for cinema drove him to undertake ludicrous cinematic adventures, as well as to ruin many a time. LE FILS MAUDIT (MA 1958, 11.3.) is one of just a handful of his films that are still available; it is a film animated by the free spirit of the silent movie era about a young man neglected by his family who inevitably turns to crime. For many, Mambéty, who died in 1998, was Africa's most important filmmaker, which does nothing to change the fact that he was marginalized while still alive. His first two films - CONTRAS' CITY (Senegal 1969) and BADOU BOY (Senegal 1970, both 11.3.) - particularly evoke Kidlat Tahimik's early works. Both filmmakers admire the cleverness of children, love brightly-colored rickety shared taxis and put their heroes on a pedestal so as to be able to make fun of them better. "Sweet France apparently can't stand the sun!" While  CONTRAS' CITY is a brilliant expressionist de/montage of a post-colonial city, BADOU BOY can be described as a Dakar symphony running the gauntlet to the rhythm of funk. Made a long way away from Dakar but at the same time, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's SAN DOMINGO (FRG 1970, 16.3.) is a feature film about an anarchist commune in rural Bavaria. The title of course brings Kleist  to mind, but the first shots also evoke Wagner and Ludwig II of Bavaria when a blond Eros makes his way through a thicket of palm leaves. Then, Munich's palm house is revealed and the soundtrack of Amon Düül II kicks off. "The rockers from the Munich suburbs" and the "members of the Rote Zelle Germanistik" are announced in the credits and you get an idea of the direction the film is going in, but then you cannot get over the amazement about everything that comes together - kissing, fighting, kidnapping and blackmailing. Filmed by the cameraman Christian Blackwood, also featured in our program with SIGNED: LINO BROCKA, this is a journey through time to the Bavaria that Kidlat Tahimik experienced in the early 1970s. Same time, also somewhere rural, but somewhere else entirely: In 1971, Jonas and Adolfas Mekas made the most of an invitation to a film festival in Moscow to visit their childhood village in Lithuania for the first time since they had fled the German occupiers. They each made a film about the trip and we are showing Jonas MekasREMINISCENCES FROM A JOURNEY TO LITHUANIA (USA 1971, 14.3.), not only because it - like Kidlat Tahimik's films - deals with exile, travel and return, but because it is also related to Tahimik's travelogues in its openness to chance and its resilient humor. Moreover, Mekas' journey leads to Germany, wrought of course with memories of forced labor and four years surviving in a "displaced persons" camp. The oldest context film that will help to illustrate Kidlat Tahimik's universe is Raymond Bernard's silent classic LE MIRACLE DES LOUPS (F 1924, 7.3.). Why? When Kidlat Tahimik sent PERFUMED NIGHTMARE to the Forum in 1977, he suggested that the film, which the Cinémathèque française had in store (there was a letter by Henri Langlois in the envelope), be shown to accompany the screening of his film because Georgette Baudry had played a crucial role in it. In Tahimik's film (like in real life), Georgette Baudry had an egg stand at a Paris market. In Bernard's epos, which at the time drew comparisons with Griffith, it was she who was responsible for the "miracle of wolves" that gave the film its title and not Yvonne Sergyl whose double she played. Baudry cosied up with the wolves in a key scene that is as breathtaking today as it was then. Forty years too late, Kidlat Tahimik's wish to pay homage to the Paris egg-seller is being fulfilled. Cosmos and Nightmare: The Films of Kidlat Tahimik was made possible by funding from the Capital Cultural Fund and the Goethe-Institute of Manila. The curators of the program were Tilman Baumgärtel and Tobias Hering. Part of the project is an open studio talk with Kidlat Tahimik at the independent film school filmArche on March 9th (www.filmarche.de). (tb/th)

Funded by:

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