History Of Philippine Cinema Essay, Research Paper
The youngest of the Philippine arts,
film has evolved to become the most popular of all the art forms. Introduced
only in 1897, films have ranged from silent movies to talkies; black and
white to color. Outpacing its predecessors by gaining public acceptance,
from one end of the country to the other, its viewers come from all walks
of life. Nationwide, there are more than 1000 movie theaters. Early in
the 1980s, it was estimated in Metro Manila alone, there were around 2.5
million moviegoers. As an art form, it reflects the culture and the
beliefs of the people it caters to and most times, is the one who shapes
Philippine film as discussed in this
paper includes films made by Filipino people exhibited in this country
and possibly in other countries from the 1930s to the 1990s. The films
may be silent pictures or talkies, black and white or color. They also
include films such as documentaries, animation, experimental or alternative
films and other types of films.
This paper has three purposes or
objectives. It intends, first of all, to provide a comprehensible background
of the art of film in the Philippines. It provides insights on how the
Philippine film has influenced Philippine culture and vice-versa. This
is done by documenting the important events and important films in the
area of film for the past ninety years. Second, it intends to explain the
different trends and styles common in the Philippine film. And finally,
it concludes with an analysis on how two important events in history, namely
World War II and Martial Law altered the course of contemporary Philippine
However, this paper is limited to
films only from the particular time period of the 1930s to the 1990s. It
fails to give a picture of how films were like ever since it started in
1897. This paper is also severely limited due to the unavailability and
the lack of materials that discuss thoroughly the history of Philippine
film. Film materials for those made during the pre-WWII years are simply
non-existent. Data for this paper was gathered from the essays and reviews
written by the artists and the critics themselves. It goes without saying
that the resources were tested to the limits.
I. The 1930s to 1940s
A. Early Philippine Films
Filipinos started making movies
in 1919. However, it would be important to know that the film industry
in the Philippines began through the initiative of foreign entrepreneurs.
Two Swiss entrepreneurs introduced film shows in Manila as early as 1897,
regaling audiences with documentary films lips showing recent events and
natural calamities in Europe. Not only that but the arrival of the
silent films, along with American colonialism, in 1903 created a movie
market. But these film clips were still novelties. They failed
to hold the audiences? attention because of their novelty and the fact
that they were about foreigners. When two American entrepreneurs made a
film in 1912 about Jose Rizal?s execution, the sensation they made it clear
that the Filipino?s need for material close to their hearts. This heralded
the making of the first Filipino film.
The credit of being the first Filipino
to make a film goes to Jose Nepumuceno, whom historians dub as the ?Father
of Philippine Movies. Nepumuceno?s first film was based on a highly-acclaimed
musical play of that day, Dalagang Bukid (Country Maiden) by Hemogenes
Ilagan and Leon Ignacio.
In those early years of filmmaking,
enormous capital was needed to keep up with the Hollywood industry. Despite
its weak points, Hollywood provided the Philippine film industry with examples
that the early filmmakers followed. It is not surprising that many of those
same genres set so many years ago still appear in contemporary Philippine
films. But it was difficult to match Hollywood style in those days with
the meager capital set aside for the developing film industry. Ironically,
the same people who helped the film industry develop as a form of expression
were the same ones who suppressed this expression.
Early film producers included
wealthy Spaniards. American businessmen and Filipino landlords and politicians.
It is not surprising that?pre-war Philippine movies?were inhibited from
expressing their views that might question the establishment and were encouraged
instead to portray the love and reconciliation between members of different
Starting with Dalagang Bukid, early
films dug into traditional theater forms for character types. twists and
turns in the plot, familiar themes and conventions in acting. This set
the trend of Philippine films based entirely on immensely popular
dramas or sarswelas. Besides providing ready materials, this device of
using theater pieces ensured an already existing market. From the komedya
of the sarswela, the typical Filipino aksyon movie was to develop. The
line dividing the good and the bad in the komedya was religion with the
Christians being the good and the Moors representing the bad. In present
movies, the line that divides the two is now law or class division. The
sinakulo or the passion play was the root of the conventional Filipino
melodrama. The Virgin Mary became the ?all-suffering, all-forgiving Filipino
Mother? and Jesus was the ?savior of societies under threat and the redeemer
of all those who have gone wrong. Another source of movie themes was Philippine
literature. Francisco Baltazar and Jose Rizal, through the classics for
which they were famous, have given the industry situations and character
types that continue to this day to give meat to films both great and mediocre.
Finally, by the 1930s, a few film
artists and producers dared to stray from the guidelines and commented
on sociopolitical issues, using contemporary or historical matter. Director,
actor, writer and producer Julian Manansala?s film Patria Amore (Beloved
Country) was almost suppressed because of its anti-Spanish sentiments.
This earned him the honor of being dubbed the ?Father of the Nationalistic
Its own share of movie audience and
acclaim for local movie stars were signs that the movie industry from 1919
to the 1930s had succeeded. Despite the competition coming from Hollywood,
the film industry thrived and flourished. When the 1930s came to a close,
it was clear that moviegoing had established itself in the Filipino.
B. Wartime Films and the Effect on
The Japanese Occupation introduced
a new player to the film industry. the Japanese; and a new role for film
The Pacific War brought havoc to
the industry in 1941. The Japanese invasion put a halt to film activity
when the invaders commandeered precious film equipment for their own propaganda
needs. The Japanese brought their own films to show to Filipino audiences.
The films the Japanese brought failed to appeal to audiences the same way
the Hollywood-made movies or the locally-made films did. Later on, Japanese
propaganda offices hired several local filmmakers to make propaganda pictures
for them. One of these filmmakers was Gerardo de Leon.
The war years during the first half
of the Forties virtually halted filmmaking activities save for propaganda
work that extolled Filipino-Japanese friendship, such as The Dawn of Freedom
made by director Abe Yutaka and associate director Gerardo de Leon?Less
propagandistic was Tatlong Maria (Three Marias), directed in 1944, by Gerardo
de Leon and written for the screen by Tsutomu Sawamura from Jose Esperanza
Cruz?s novel?Despite the destruction and hardships of the war, the people?found
time for entertainment; and when movies were not being made or imported?they
turned to live theater?which provided alternative jobs for displaced movie
folk. The war years may have been the darkest in film history.
This period turned out to be quite
beneficial to the theater industry. Live theater began to flourish again
as movie stars, directors and technicians returned to the stage. Many found
it as a way to keep them from being forgotten and at the same time a way
to earn a living.
In 1945?the film industry was already
staggering to its feet. The entire nation had gone through hell and there
were many stories to tell about heroic deeds and dastardly crimes during
the 3 years of Japanese occupation. A Philippine version of the war movie
had emerged as a genre in which were recreated narratives of horror and
heroism with soldiers and guerillas as protagonists?audiences still hungry
for new movies and still fired up by the patriotism and hatred for foreign
enemies did not seem to tire of recalling their experiences of war.
Movies such as Garrison 13 (1946),
Dugo ng Bayan (The Country?s Blood, 1946), Walang Kamatayan (Deathless,
1946), and Guerilyera (1946). told the people the stories they wanted
to hear: the heroes and the villains of the war. The war, however, had
left other traces that were less obvious than war movies that were distinctly
Filipino. As Patronilo BN. Daroy said in his essay Main Currents in Filipino
Cinema. World War II left its scars on the Filipino?s imagination and
heightened his sense of reality.
II. The 1950s to 1970s
A. The Golden Age of Philippine
The 1950s were considered a time
of ?rebuilding and growth. But remnants from the preceding decade
of the 40s remained in the form of war-induced reality. This is seen is
Lamberto Avellana?s Anak Dalita (The Ruins, 1956), the stark tragedy of
post-WWII survival set in Intramuros. The decade saw frenetic activity
in the film industry which yielded what might be regarded as the first
harvest of distinguished films by Filipinos. Two studios before the
war, namely Sampaguita Pictures and LVN, reestablished themselves. Bouncing
back quickly, they churned out movie after movie to make up for the drought
of films caused by the war. Another studio, Premiere Productions, was earning
a reputation for ?the vigor and the freshness? of some of its films. This
was the period of the ?Big Four? when the industry operated under the studio
system. Each studio (Sampaguita, LVN, Premiere and Lebran) had its
own set of stars, technicians and directors, all lined up for a sequence
of movie after movie every year therefore maintaining a monopoly of the
industry. The system assured moviegoers a variety of fare for a whole year
and allowed stars and directors to improve their skills.
Critics now clarify that the 50s
may be considered one ?Golden Age? for the Filipino film not because film
content had improved but because cinematic techniques achieved an artistic
breakthrough in that decade. This new consciousness was further developed
by local and international awards that were established in that decade.
Awards were first instituted that
decade. First, the Manila Times Publishing Co. set up the Maria Clara Awards.
In 1952, the FAMAS (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences) Awards
were handed out. More so, Filipino films started garnering awards in international
film festivals. One such honor was bestowed on Manuel Conde?s immortal
movie Genghis Khan (1952) when it was accepted for screening at the Venice
Film Festival. Other honors include awards for movies like Gerardo de Leon?s
Ifugao (1954) and Lamberto Avellana?s Anak Dalita. This established the
Philippines as a major filmmaking center in Asia. These awards also had
the effect of finally garnering for Filipino films their share of attention
from fellow Filipinos.
B. The Decline of Philippine Film
If the 1950s were an ubiquitous
period for film, the decade that followed was a time of decline. There
was ?rampant commercialism and artistic decline? as portrayed on the following:
In the 1960s, the foreign films
that were raking in a lot of income were action pictures sensationalizing
violence and soft core sex films hitherto banned from Philippine theater
screens, Italian ?spaghetti? Westerns, American James Bond-type thrillers,
Chinese/Japanese martial arts films and European sex melodramas. To?get
an audience to watch their films, (the independent) producers had to take
their cue from these imports. The result is a plethora of films?giving
rise to such curiosities as Filipino samurai and kung fu masters, Filipino
James Bonds and?the bomba queen.
The studio systems came under siege
from the growing labor movement which resulted in labor-management conflicts.
The first studio to close was Lebran followed by Premiere Productions.
Next came Sampaguita and LVN. The ?Big Four? studios were replaced by new
and independent producers who soon made up the rest of the film industry.
The decade also saw the emergence
of the youth revolt best represented by the Beatles and the rock and roll
revolution. They embodied the wanting to rebel against adult institutions
and establishments. Certain new film genres were conceived just to cater
to this ?revolt. Fan movies such as those of the ?Tita and Pancho?
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But though we absorbed so much of their culture in their 50-year colonization, American cooking is only now becoming part of Philippine cuisine. Spanish rule had two lasting effects on Philippine society; the near universal conversion of the population to Roman Catholicism and the creation of a landed elite. Unable to extirpate the indigenous pagan beliefs by coercion and fear, Philippine Catholicism incorporates a deep substrate of native customs and ritual. Many words in the Philippine language have Chinese origins. Many words in the Philippine language also appear to have Sa.20. The Filipino Culture
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POLITICAL DYNAMICS TRANSFORMEDClearly, information technology (IT) is dramatically changing the landscape of Philippine politics. Interestingly, Stratfor credits the Internet for its participation in Philippine politics. The idea that someone without anything to gain should comment on Philippine politics prior to a crisis is an alien concept not only in the Philippines, but throughout much of the developing world, which is used to being ignored or manipulated, but not observed," the Stratfor report said. DEMOCRATIZING IMPERATIVEThe Philippine People Power II experience has demonstr.23. Corral Reefs Crisis
This report was done on an article in Newsweek Magazine called "A Growing Coral Crisis", written by Thomas Hayden, October 30, 2000.At a meeting of coral reef scientists, including marine biologist Peter Edmonds of California State University, North Ridge, say that the coral reefs are the most endangered ecosystem on the planet.A quarter of the world's coral reefs are already gone and if global warming and hazardous fishing practices continue by Philippine and Indonesian fishermen all coral reefs as they now exist will be gone in the next 30 years. The concern is that global warming p.24. U.S. Foreign Policy in 1800's
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REEL TO REAL: THE HISTORY OF PHILIPPINE FILMS
The youngest of the Philippine arts, film has evolved to become the most popular of all the art forms. Introduced only in 1897, films have ranged from silent movies to talkies; black and white to color. Outpacing its predecessors by gaining public acceptance, from one end of the country to the other, its viewers come from all walks of life. Nationwide, there are more than 1000 movie theaters. Early in the 1980s, it was estimated in Metro Manila alone, there were around 2.5 million moviegoers. As an art form, it reflects the culture and the beliefs of the people it caters to and most times, is the one who shapes their consciousness. Philippine film as discussed in this paper includes films made by Filipino people exhibited in this country and possibly in other countries from the 1930s to the 1990s. The films may be silent pictures or talkies, black and white or color. They also include films such as documentaries, animation, experimental or alternative films and other types of films. This paper has three purposes or objectives. It intends, first of all, to provide a comprehensible background of the art of film in the Philippines. It provides insights on how the Philippine film has influenced Philippine culture and vice-versa. This is done by documenting the important events and important films in the area of film for the past ninety years. Second, it intends to explain the different trends and styles common in the Philippine film. And finally, it concludes with an analysis on how two important events in history, namely World War II and Martial Law altered the course of contemporary Philippine film. However, this paper is limited to films only from the particular time period of the 1930s to the 1990s. It fails to give a picture of how films were like ever since it started in 1897. This paper is also severely limited due to the unavailability and the lack of materials that discuss thoroughly the history of Philippine film. Film materials for those made during the pre-WWII years are simply non-existent. Data for this paper was gathered from the essays and reviews written by the artists and the critics themselves. It goes without saying that the resources were tested to the limits. CHAPTER 1
I. The 1930s to 1940s
A. Early Philippine Films
Filipinos started making movies in 1919. However, it would be important to know that the film industry in the Philippines began through the initiative of foreign entrepreneurs. Two Swiss entrepreneurs introduced film shows in Manila as early as 1897, regaling audiences with documentary films lips showing recent events and natural calamities in Europe. Not only that but the arrival of the silent films, along with American colonialism, in 1903 created a movie market. But these film clips were still novelties. They failed to hold the audiences' attention because of their novelty and the fact that they were about foreigners. When two American entrepreneurs made a film in 1912 about Jose Rizal's execution, the sensation they made it clear that the Filipino's need for material close to their hearts. This heralded the making of the first Filipino film. The credit of being the first Filipino to make a film goes to Jose Nepumuceno, whom historians dub as the "Father of Philippine Movies". Nepumuceno's first film was based on a highly-acclaimed musical play of that day, Dalagang Bukid (Country Maiden) by Hemogenes Ilagan and Leon Ignacio.
In those early years of filmmaking, enormous capital was needed to keep up with the Hollywood industry. Despite its weak points, Hollywood provided the Philippine film industry with examples that the early filmmakers followed. It is not surprising that many of those same genres set so many years ago still appear in contemporary Philippine films. But it was difficult to match Hollywood style in those days with the meager capital set aside for the developing film industry.
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CFP Directory of World Cinema: Philippines
Editor: Paul Douglas Grant
The history of cinema in the Philippines is as much about the history of film exhibition as it is about production. From the early Spanish influence, to the dominance of American films, through the various Golden Ages of Philippine cinema and the dark period of martial law, national cinema becomes a kind of allegory of the complex hybrid history and culture of this immense archipelago. The Directory of World Cinema: Philippines—a contribution to the Intellect series "Directory of World Cinema"—seeks to give a broad yet detailed account of this rich cinematic tradition, which remains largely unknown outside of the Philippines or by non-specialists.
One of the primary aims of this book is to draw attention to the Philippines regional cinematic history by exploring films produced in regions, languages and dialects issuing from among others Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Mindanao and of course Cebu, a once serious contender to Manila's cinematic hegemony.
The volume thus seeks:
500 word contributions on festivals throughout the Philippines (.MOV, Cinema Rehiyon, Cinemalaya, Binisaya Film Festival, Sineng Pambansa, etc.), as these are in large part the loci of exhibition for the regional cinemas.
Apart from specialized contributions on these otherwise untapped regions, the volume seeks entries on films and filmmakers that form the canon of Philippine film history, such as: Gerardo De Leon, Mike De Leon, Kidlat Tahimik, Lav Diaz, Raya Martin, Brillante Mendoza, Lino Brocka, Ismael Bernal, Peque Gallaga, Raymond Red, Nick Deocampo, Marilou Diaz-Abaya etc..
Director essays should not exceed 5,000 words.
Film entries are to be 1000 word scholarly reviews. Should a particular film appear to deserve longer treatment such an option can be discussed with the editor.
1000 word explorations of the history of film writing in and on Philippine cinema, such as traditional histories like Nick Deocampo's monumental work or the active Filipino community of film critics/bloggers.
Finally, essays on pre-1940s film exhibition and production in the Philippines are of particular interest, the word count of such essays is negotiable based on the material.
Send queries or contributions to: email@example.com
First rate. Technically sleek. Over and above all. These are phrases often times used to characterize an American film. These generally refer to a film’s sound, photography, acting, story and production design. In short, these American flicks are number one in every film’s aspects. On the other hand, Filipino movies are generally characterized as sloppy and are just perfect to kill time (both for the ones in the production side and the viewers). More often than not, viewers would say that imperfection seems to be the rule for Filipino movies rather an exception. If an American film’s perfection and excellence is brought about by their culture of being what they can be, is this imperfection in Filipino films also reflected upon our Filipino culture? Superior quality is never a criterion for making our Filipino films. These films are often attacked as having thin plots, being weak on logic and motivation, being predictable and its structure being prone to digressions. Who are setting the standards, anyway? Why is the classical American cinema used as the basis for criticizing the Filipino films? Are the Filipino films still at the far end of the American films? Do we still need to go a long way to level up with the so-called perfection that the American films have attained and practiced? For one to really find out, one should know the underlying streaks of Filipino films by heart.
Typically, I would normally agree with the majority’s notion of the Filipino films. But then again, considering every film’s aspects is necessary. Going through such process, several Filipino movies by distinct directors were shown in class. “Pasan Ko Ang Daigdig” by the recognizable Lino Brocka made use of the basic rags-to-riches plot presenting a persistent social issue which continues to plague our country---poverty. Scenes in the film were repeatedly taken in the slum area where Sharon Cuneta, as the lead star, is beggi.
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"I've seen the truth and it makes no sense!" - WhateverPhilippine Histroy
Date Submitted: 02/14/2012 02:43 PM Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.4 Words: 988 Essay Grade: no grades Flag
Excavation in archeological sites proved that during the prehistoric times, Philippines native Negritos came in contact with Malays and Indonesians who left their ancestral home in Southeast Asia by crossing the seas in their sailboats and settling in the Philippine archipelago. Inter-racial marriages took place and out of these emerged the Filipino people.
The population of the Philippines was small when the Spanish arrived in 1521. Starting in the eighth or ninth century, trade between Chinese and the Philippines had already been established. Many Filipino traditions, religious concepts and terms, legends, and artistic elements are of Hindu and Indian origin. Writing found on certain pieces of Philippine pottery bear writing similar to Indian Pali or Sanskrit. It is believed that these elements are a product of trade relationships with Southeast Asian islanders who had direct contact with India.
Arab influences was also felt in the Philippines. In the fifteenth century, Islam spread to the southern part of the Philippine archipelago, the pre-colonial Philippines has no uniform character, however, the diverse ethnic and cultural mix contributes to the Filipino’s unique characteristics.
The Philippines, scientists believed, was once a part of mainland China. According to scientists, during the Ice Age, waters surrounding the Philippines dropped to about 156 feet below the present levels, exposing large bodies of land. These became land bridges connecting the Philippines to the Asian mainland. In February 1976, Dr. Fritjof Voss, a German scientist who studied the geology of the Philippines, questioned the validity of this theory of land bridges. He maintained that the Philippines was never a part of mainland Asia. He claimed it arose from the bottom of the sea and, as the thin Pacific crust moved below it, continued to rise. It continues to rise today. The country lies along great earth faults that extend to deep undersea trenches. The resulting violent.Comments
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