Balikbayan # 1 – Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III, Philippines, 2015, DCP (16:9), colour, 150 minutes. English, Tagalog, Spanish with English subtitles.
Images courtesy Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Marian Stefanowski
Balikbayan #1 – Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III is the ultimate home-movie historical epic and the conclusion of Kidlat Tahimik’s long-cherished dream of making a film about the real history of Enrique of Malacca, who became a slave of Ferdinand Magellan, and who might well have been the first man to circumnavigate the world in 1519-1521. He began shooting the film in the 1980s, and worked intermittently on it for over 35 years until he finally resumed the shooting in 2013. The filmmaker assembles his footage in a powerful work of self-archaeology (the film starts with a box of film rolls being dug up from the ground) in order to reconstitute and share a forgotten story, thus reinstating a rich cultural heritage and fully embodying the essence of the “indi-genius” so important to his artistic and world vision. “The genius of the indigenous culture is still within us. We just have to recognise it, and let it flow out.” (Kidlat Tahimik)
With thanks to Tobias Hering and Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Open City Documentary Festival, Goethe-Institut London.