BalikBayan #1: Memories of Overdevelopment Redux VI. 1979–2017. Philippines. Directed by Kidlat Tahimik. With Kidlat Tahimik, George Steinberg, Kawayan de Guia, Lopes Nauyac, Katrin de Guia. In Filipino and English; English subtitles. 159 min.
As the ultimate enfant terrible of Philippine cinema, avant-gardist Kidlat Tahimik refuses to settle on anything, whether it’s the telling of a colonial past, or any version of this film, which he’s been making and revising for nearly four decades. BalikBayan, which means “returnee” in Filipino, is partly about the homecoming of the historical figure Enrique of Malacca, a Malay who Tahimik first played and brought to the screen in 1979. As the slave of the 16th-century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan he circumnavigated the Earth, before returning home as a free man. Old footage of Enrique, played by the young Tahimik, is mixed with the fictional story of a mysterious old man, played by the present-day Tahimik, and documentary footage of a contemporary artist community in Baguio, in northern Philippines. In this version, Redux VI, Tahimik continues his quest to reconsider the Philippines’ colonial legacy. Shot on 16mm (1979–1980s) and video (1990s–2017).