Kosmos und Alptraum
Context Films: Philippine Cinema and Distant Relatives

Even though Kidlat Tahimik could be understood as a cinematic autodidact and a self-supporter, his movies are encompassed in the collusive alignments and affinities that always exist between movies. Some such references are traced in a selection of context films, whereby “context” in Tahimik’s idiosyncratic oeuvre necessarily remains a broad concept.


Gengis Khan

Genghis Khan
Directed by Manuel Conde, Philippines 1950, 88 min, b/w, DCP, original version w/ English subtitles
Print Source: National Film Archives of the Philippines / Film Development Council of the Philippines

Do you know what a bumblebee is? According to the laws of aerodynamics, her body is too heavy for her wings. Yet, no one has ever told the bumblebee that she cannot fly! And, no one has ever told me that I cannot make a movie about Genghis Khan.” - Manuel Conde more


Giliw Ko

Giliw Ko (My Dear)
Directed by Carlos Vander Tolosa, Philippines 1939, 91 min, b/w, DVD, original version w/ English subtitles

Giliw Ko is probably the oldest existent movie from the Philippines and the first-ever production by LVN Pictures, which later went on to become one of the country’s major movie studios. more


Portrait of the artist as Filipino

A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino
Directed by Lamberto Avellana, Philippines 1965, 110 min, b/w, DCP, original version (English)
Print Source: Deutsche Kinemathek /
Film Development Council of the Philippines

Based upon the best-known play by the author Nick Joaquin, who was repeatedly short-listed for a Nobel Prize in literature, A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino combines nostalgia for the extinct, Spanish influenced Manila of the prewar years intermingled with disapproval for the actual state of affairs with its overly American tendencies.


Maynila in the claws of light

Maynila: Sa mga kuko ng liwanag  
(Manila in the Claws of Light)
Directed by Lino Brocka, Philippines 1975, 125 min, col, DCP, original version w/ Engl. subtitles
Print Source: Cineteca di Bologna

Manila in the Claws of Light, the neo-realist metropolitan melodrama that brought Lino Brocka international recognition, was likewise restored by L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna. more


Signed: Lino Brocka

Signed: Lino Brocka
Directed by Christian Blackwood, USA 1987, 85 min, col, 16 mm, original English version w/ German subtitles
Print Source: Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art

In his cinematic portrait, Signed: Lino Brocka, Christian Blackwood genially captures the boundless and distinctive genius of director Lino Brocka, the most famous Filipino filmmaker of his generation. more



Directed by Ishmael Bernal, Philippines 1982, 124 min, col, DCP, original version w/ Engl. subtitles

“There are no miracles! We make the miracles ourselves!”, Elsa calls out in the closing scene of Himala to all those who had believed in her and her healing powers. Ishmael Bernal’s angry parable about a Philippine village transforming into a pilgrimage site is one of the great classics of Philippine cinema. more


Der lachende Stern

Der lachende Stern
(The Laughing Star)
Directed by Werner Schroeter, West Germany/Philippines 1983, 109 min, BluRay, original English version w/ German subtitles

The closeness of pathos and pathology, which Ishmael Bernal brings to life onscreen in Himala, might also have been what attracted Werner Schroeter when he shot The Laughing Star, an essayistic approach to the Philippines during the final phase of the Marcos dictatorship. more


Le fils maudit
Directed by Mohammed Ousfour, Morocco 1958, 35mm, original version w/ English subtitles, 50 min
Print Source: Centre Cinématographique Marocain

Ousfour is considered to be the first Moroccan to shoot a movie in Morocco, a film adaption of Tarzan on 8mm, premièred in 1941 in an inner courtyard in Casablanca. His passion for cinema led him into the most ludicrous cinematic ventures and frequently to financial ruin. more


Contras City

Directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty, Senegal 1968, 16mm, French with English subtitles, 22 min

Badou Boy
Directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty, Senegal 1970, 16mm, French with English subtitles, 59 min

Djibril Diop Mambéty, who passed away in 1998, is for many the most important filmmaker from the African continent, a distinction, however, that alters little in that he remained a marginal figure during his lifetime. more


San Domingo

San Domingo
Directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, West Germany, 1970, 35mm, original version, 138 min

Whoever associates the name of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg with his particularly well-known feature-length dramas about Richard Wagner, Ludwig of Bavaria and Adolf Hitler is in for a surprise with San Domingo, his black-and-white portrait of the German 60s generation. more


Reminiscences from a journey

Reminiscences from a Journey to Lithuania
Directed by Jonas Mekas, USA 1971, 16mm, orignal version, 83 min
Print Source: Arsenal - Insitute for Film and Video Art

In 1971, at the invitation of the Soviet Ministry of Culture, Jonas and Adolfas Mekas participated in the Moscow International Film Festival and availed of the opportunity to visit their family in Birsen in Lithuania. With the support of the German broadcasting network NDR, they each shot a film revolving about this trip into the past. more



A Japanese Village – Furuyashiki-mura
Directed by Shinsuke Ogawa, Japan 1982/83, 16mm, German subtitles, 210 min
Print Source: Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art

The Japanese director Shinsuke Ogawa figures among the rare filmmakers to whom Kidlat Tahimik pays an explicit homage in his oeuvre. more


Le miracle des loups

Le miracle des loups
(The Miracle of the Wolves)
Directed by Raymond Bernard, France 1924, 35mm, French inter-titles with English subtitles, 133 min

When Kidlat Tahimik submitted his debut feature The Perfumed Nightmare in 1977 to the Berlinale Forum, he enclosed a letter addressed to Erika and Ulrich Gregor, in which he plugged another movie. His letter contained a brief introductory note from Henri Langlois, legendary founder of the Cinémathèque française. more