Introducing the work of Filipino filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik
The name Kidlat Tahimik immediately connotes contradiction. As an obsessive cultural observer, Kidlat has been exploring his inner cultural contradictions by making his non-commercial films since 1975. Born in 1942 as Eric Oteyza de Guia in Baguio City, he was raised in that American enclave resort town, situated in the heart of the tribal highlands of Igorot Culture. Three decades ago, he began questioning his American education, (a.k.a “my benevolent assimilation”). This had begun with his Maryknoll nuns in primary school; followed by further immersion in high schools in The Philippines with US curricula, ending up in America for a graduate degree (Wharton School MBA). After five years as an economist in Paris, he tore up his MBA diploma in 1972, tuned-in to commune-culture lifestyle, and embraced an anti-Hollywood school of filmmaking. As a self-taught filmmaker, his works are recognized at home and abroad for their primitive style and for their humorous deconstruction of his American education. In Baguio, he is an active artist (film, video-installation, performance), supporting the process/viewpoint of the undiploma-ed artists. In 1997, his Sunflower Film Collective embarked on a project to share user-friendly video technology with tribal people, with the aim that responsibility for cultural documentation rests in their own hands. He lectures at U.P. and Ateneo University, speaks at local/international conferences, contributes articles in Taglish to the Sunday Inquirer.
It is an extremely rare opportunity to hear one of the world’s most under-recognized Third Cinema Movement practitioners speak about his films – his motivations, choice of style, his influences and method of practice. His anti-colonial gaze, evident in his commentary and choice of subject, embraces a love of his culture and the importance of the local who he believes must not be goaded into the global race for ‘uniformity’ of value.
Kidlat Tahimik participates in ‘Encounter’, a lecture series which is part of a large artistic endeavour called ‘Conscious Realities’, initiated and organized by San Art in partnership with Prince Claus Fund.