Bakit Dilaw Ang Kulay ng Bahaghari (Why is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow?)

Kidlat Tahimik (Eric Oteyza de Guia)

Baguio, Cordillera, Philippines, 1942
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  • Media description: 
    16 mm film transferred to video
  • Duration: 
    174 min.
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Kidlat Tahimik — meaning “silent lightning” in Tagalog; born Eric Oteyza de Guia — is a film-maker and artist, and a forerunner of and driving force behind independent Philippine film. Tahimik defines himself as a product of transcultural influences after growing up in the city of Baguio, which was founded by US powers amid a culturally rich and extensive Indigenous context. The artist’s work depicts daily life in the geopolitical South and casts light upon the values of Indigenous culture over the colonial legacy.
Bakit Dilaw Ang Kulay ng Bahaghari (Why Is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow) surveys the history of the Philippines from 1980 to 1993, interweaving key historical events such as the fall of Ferdinand Marcos’s regime and the assassination of Benigno Aquino, and natural disasters such as the earthquake in 1990 or the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, along with daily scenes from Tahimik’s family life. This amalgamation sees the artist put forward a personal and political account, paying homage to Indigenous communities and their struggle for justice and the right to their land. The film sets forth a critique of US cultural imperialism and explores how decolonial dynamics can offer alternatives to capitalism’s destructive logic. The final images of natural disasters take on a prophetic meaning within the context of the current climate crisis and stress the relevance of certain Indigenous practices and knowledge, which entail sustainable alternatives, for example the capacity for innovation rooted in respect for nature.

Cristina Cámara Bello