Balikbayan #1 Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III (image 1)

The globe spanning adventures of Magellan’s indigenous servant shifts the glory from the master to the slave.

Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Balikbayan #1 Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III 2015

Directed by Kidlat Tahimik

An exuberant return for veteran Filipino filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik, this mock historical epic-cum-freeform documentary tells the story of Enrique of Malacca, who was arguably the first person to circumnavigate the earth.

Philippines In English, Spanish and Tagalog with English subtitles
140 minutes DCP
nudity, sexual references

Director

Photography

Boy Yniguez
,
Lee Briones
,
Abi Lara
,
Santos Bayucca
,
Kidlat de Guia
,
Kawayan de Guia
,
Kidlat Tahimik

Editors

Charlie Fugunt
,
Abi Lara
,
Chuck Gutierrez
,
Clang Sison
,
Malaya Camporedondo

Costume designer

Katrin de Guia

Music

Los Indios de España
,
Shanto

With

Kidlat Tahimik
,
George Steinberg
,
Kawayan de Guia
,
Wigs Tysman
,
Katrin de Guia
,
Kabunyan de Guia
,
Danny Orquico
,
Marlies v. Brevern
,
Mitos Benitez

Festivals

Berlin 2015

Elsewhere

This playful picaresque following the 16th-century adventures of a Filipino slave and a hunt for his modern-day counterpart marks a welcome return for one of the great unsung heroes of world cinema and a true pioneer of indigenous filmmaking. Kidlat Tahimik’s decades-in-the-making new film has all the wit and vibrancy of his postcolonial classic Perfumed Nightmare (1977) and makes a perfect (re)introduction to this one-of-a-kind artist.

Portrayed by Tahimik himself, Enrique of Malacca was an indigenous slave who was taken to Europe in the 16th century. After spending time at the Spanish court, he travelled back to the Philippines around Cape Horn on Magellan’s ill-fated expedition. This made Enrique, arguably, the first person to circumnavigate the globe, and the first-ever balikbayan (the Tagalog term for Filipinos who come home after having lived overseas).

Tahimik began shooting Enrique’s story in 1980 and continued off and on for the best part of a decade, before family commitments took priority. Two years ago he decided it was time to return to the story. Instead of being constrained by the early footage, he has radically reimagined his vision by incorporating a contemporary, documentary-like narrative which finds a modern Magellan searching for a modern Enrique, now a shamanic woodcarver (played by Tahimik again). — MM

“A sui generis historical epic, the film freely mixes genres, integrates a variety of formats and features a carousel of actors spanning three generations – it may very well be Tahimik’s magnum opus.” — Giovanni Marchini Camia, Filmmaker