Why Is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow?

Christopher Pavsek, associate professor of film at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, is the author of the forthcoming The Utopia of Film: Cinema and Its Futures in Godard, Kluge, and Tahimik.

(Bakit Dilaw Ang Kulay ng Bahaghari, a.k.a. I Am Furious Yellow). It is impossible to describe Kidlat Tahimik's virtually unknown masterpiece, the diary film I Am Furious Yellow (or Why Is Yellow Middle of Rainbow?), that chronicles Tahimik and his young son's lives as they traverse the tumultuous decade of the 1980s in the Philippines, so let's just list a few of the things you'll see in the course of its three hours (which go by far too quickly): a great democratic revolution deposes a dictator; a massive volcanic eruption covers the world in ash; a huge earthquake levels a whole city and social class distinctions as well; Magellan's slave Enrique circumnavigates the globe (and wins a princess's heart); storms rage over the gorgeous landscapes of the Philippine cordillera and Monument Valley in the U.S. Southwest; the filmmaker and his son hitch a ride with Dennis Hopper in his old Cadillac; and a tooth is pulled out of little boy's mouth by a very big toe. That doesn't even scratch the surface of this vastly rich film, which at once demonstrates just how vital and compelling cinema can be as well as how vital and compelling our very existences can be despite all the disasters and catastrophes-both human-made and natural-that loom from every angle. In an age of rising seas and collapsing economies, I Am Furious Yellow shows us how to be furious at all the injustice in the world, but also how to face that injustice with the utmost joy. There are, indeed, few, if any, films like this in the world.–

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