Sino'ng Lumikha ng Yoyo? Sino'ng Lumikha ng Moon Buggy? (Kidlat Tahimik, 1979)
English Title: Who Invented the Yoyo? Who Invented the Moon Buggy?
It’ is very tempting to acknowledge Mababangong Bangungot (Perfumed Nightmare, 1977) as an autobiographical account of an ambitious Filipino with a compellingly descriptive name who wakes up from his dreamy infatuation with the West.
A student leader in the University of the Philippines, a Wharton graduate and the son of his home town’s first mayor after the Philippines’ liberation from America, Eric de Guia, the real Kidlat Tahimik, although similar in curiosity and probably in destiny with the character he created, is hardly the poor and uneducated jeepney driver of his first film. Sino’ng Lumikha ng Yoyo? Sino’ng Lumikha ng Moon Buggy? (Who Invented the Yoyo? Who Invented the Moon Buggy?) although set in fictional Yodel Ville, with Kidlat Tahimik, no longer the same jeepney driver of Mababangong Bangungot but a character that is closer to the real man, spending time with children in his mission to launch a chicken to space via a makeshift vessel.
Detouring from those humorous flights of fantasy, Kidlat Tahimik opens up, detailing his personal history and circumstance, blurring further the lines between him and the characters he has created for himself. In that sense, Sino’ng Lumikha ng Yoyo? Sino’ng Lumikha ng Moon Buggy?, more than Mababangong Bangungot or Turumba (1981), his more popular works, represents the closest precursor to the distinct autobiographical wonderments that would define his latter video works. It seems that the film, because of its lengthy title, is a promotion of the inventive qualities of Filipinos which benefitted the entire world.
Without taking away from the unique delights of seeing a grown man treating toddlers as equals in discussions that should not make sense but actually do, the film, while utilizing the often inane resourcefulness of Kidlat Tahimik’s character as a wellspring for comedy, proposes that it is that trait, arguably endemic to Filipinos, that is the secret ingredient to genius.
(This article was commissioned for the programme of the 12th Jeonju International Film Festival)