By Rowena Papasin, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
VANCOUVER, Canada – The crowd at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver eagerly awaited the screening of Kidlat Tahimik’s films — first of which is the multi-awarded “Perfumed Nightmare” or “Mababangong Bangungot”, which talks about the adventures of the young Kidlat and his journey abroad with his beloved jeepney.
Filmed in the 1970s, Kidlat Tahimik’s film sought to awaken his kababayans’ senses, especially when it comes to keeping one identity. Jose Ampeso, retired consul general, said that with long years of being colonized by foreign countries, we should now ask, “Where are we headed as Filipinos?”
It will take Kidlat Tahimik another 30 years to finish his second masterpiece. The film, entitled “Balikbayan Number-One aka Memories of Overdevelopment Redux Three” won the Caligari Film Prize in this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Inspired by the journal of Antonio Pigafetta on the voyage of Magellan.
Kidlat Tahimik said he wanted to tell the story from the eyes of Enrique de Malacca, Magellan’s salve, who is believed to be from Cebu. He related, “They went to Mactan. Enrique knew how to speak Visayan, so he must have come from that island. So the first guy to go around the world is Balikbayan No. 1, Enrique.”
The works of the Wharton Master’s Degree graduate has been compared to Europe’s great film masters like Jean-Luc Godard and has also inspired a new generation of Filipino filmmakers.
But the Father of Independent Filipino Cinema said, “It’s not a question of do I have to influence anybody or do I have to be an inspiration. But let’s say I was able to make films without using typical Hollywood formulas that have sex and violence in them. I was at least able to show that we can make stories, local stories, that need to be seen and heard.”
Kidlat Tahimik, who is now 72, said Balikbayan No. 1 could be his last project.
But he said having swayed young Filipino filmmakers to create movies “outside the Hollywood Box” is more than good enough for him.