This month's Light + Sound Machine screening features Kidlat Tahimik's PERFUMED NIGHTMARE. The screening will take place Thursday, June 20th at 7pm at Third Man Records. Tickets are available for $10 at thirdmanstore.com or for Belcourt members at a discount for $8 via the Belcourt website. All member and non-member tickets will be available via will call, day-of-film, at Third Man beginning at 6pm.
PERFUMED NIGHTMARE, d. Kidlat Tahimik - Philippines, 1977, 93min, 16mm
Perhaps cinema’s most humorous and poignant essay on the cultural chasm between the First and Third Worlds, PERFUMED NIGHTMARE is the quasi-autobiographical account of an acute case of cultural dementia. Kidlat Tahimik, the Philipino-born, American-educated, German-based filmmaker and global citizen casts himself as Kidlat Tahimik, the primitive naif with an awe-struck enchantment with the wonders of the developed world. The semi fictional Tahimik is a taxi (or “jeepney”) driver by day who clutches his transistor radio by night, religiously tuned-in to Voice of America and forever dreaming of the heavens - he’s the president of a fan club for Werner von Braun, the defected Nazi rocket scientist who pioneered the American space program. His filmic diary is a collage of village anecdotes and imagery, presented with varying degrees of ethnographic exoticism and short wave radio chatter. However, his document is interrupted by the appearance of a comically sinister American businessman, offering Tahimik a new life in France, refilling his company’s gumball machines which conspicuously adorn the Parisian city streets. It is here that Perfumed Nightmare evokes a turn towards magical realism, and the illusion-shattering truths of the technology age transform Tahimik into something new - a once “sleeping typhoon”, now awakened and poised to literally blow away the symbols of Western domination, and himself back to his homeland.