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Monday, March 30, 2020

#LoveFromBAM: Podcasts

While our spaces are dark, you can stay connected to BAM by listening to podcasts featuring some of the artists we’ve welcomed in the past or planned to present this spring. Check out a few of our favorites in this list, which includes descriptions from the podcasts themselves. We’ll update as we hear of more. Happy listening!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Beyond the Canon: Perfumed Nightmare + The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

It is no secret that the cinema canon has historically skewed toward lionizing the white, male auteur. Beyond the Canon is a monthly series that seeks to question that history and broaden horizons by pairing one much-loved, highly regarded, canonized classic with a thematically or stylistically-related—and equally brilliant—work by a filmmaker traditionally excluded from that discussion. This month’s double feature pairs Kidlat Tahimik's Perfumed Nightmare (1977) with Werner Herzog's The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974).

By Richard Bolisay

In May 2017, the Cinematheque Centre Manila screened The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) as part of its Werner Herzog retrospective. In attendance was the Filipino filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik, who briefly appears in the film. In the scene his character, along with Kaspar Hauser, is one of the Four Riddles of the Spheres presented to a curious audience as exotic creatures in a freak show. Called Hombrecito, he is described as “an untamed Indian from the sunny shores of New Spain” and “plays his wooden flute night and day” because otherwise “all the people in town will die.” When the ringmaster says that he speaks Indian, the poker-faced Tahimik stops playing the flute and speaks a local Tagalog saying about criticizing someone: “Bato bato sa langit ang tamaan ay huwag magagalit…” At this moment the Cinematheque audience, engrossed in the seriousness of the period film, roared with laughter, the context of which would obviously not occur to non-Filipino viewers who might interpret the scene as a minor narrative detail, or not recognize Tahimik at all. For the Filipino cinephile, however, this short sketch in one of Herzog’s major films affirms what has long been known of Tahimik: he is a presence that never bores, an artist that can make an audience pay attention.