A Filipino in America: 1930s Pelikulang Filipino, Amerikanong Kolonialismo, at Negosiasyon ng Kolonyalidad

| Written by UP Media and Public Relations Office


The Pelikula Lektura: UP Film Institute Philippine Cinema Centennial Lecture Series supported by the Film Development Council of the Philippines continues with the former Dean of the UP College of Mass Communication and the current director of the UP Institute of Creative Writing Dr. Rolando B. Tolentino—February 28, 2019 (Thursday) 9:30 AM at the UPFI Film Center – Cine Adarna in UP Diliman.

Admission is FREE and open to the public. Certificates will be awarded to non-UP Film Institute students and only upon request.

For interested participants, you may register at tinyurl.com/PelikulaLekturaRBT

A Filipino in America: 1930s Pelikulang Filipino, Amerikanong Kolonialismo, at Negosiasyon ng Kolonyalidad (A Filipino in America: 1930s Filipino Films, American Colonialism, and the Negotiation of Coloniality)

The 1930s marked a beginning in the Philippines to transition from a colony into an independent nation via the Tydings-McDuffie Act that provided for a ten-year commonwealth government beginning in 1935. This meant a trial self-rule initially through the Filipinization of the heads of government offices prior to the granting of independence by the U.S. Film provided a focal point in nation-formation, allowing for a coloniality under the supervision of the U.S. and an experimentation in colonial governance for the Philippine elite on the other hand, and the soft-selling of the official nation-formation through film’s evocation of a new media for middle-class decorum, national language policy, and ideological colonial subject transformation of the masses that patronized the movies on the other hand.

In this presentation, I map out the little available materials on the 1930s Filipino films as a successful commercial venture that saw the rise of the first generation studios, and the taking over of the Big Four studios in the late 1930s. The adaption of films provided for a newer popular culture of stars and genres, a devolution of the middle class experience in the expansion of stand-alone moviehouses nationwide, and the popularization of Tagalog as the national local language of choice of the Commonwealth government.

I look into two pioneering filmic texts–the film A Filipino in America (Doroteo Ines, 1938, 32:57 min.) and a critical essay “Ang Pelikulang Tagalog” (The Tagalog Film, 1938) by Teodoro Virrey—as discursive formation of the liminal colonial subject—one that remains colonial even as it transitions to independence and post-independence subjectivities. The texts represent the articulation of a local colonial subjectivity—a diasporic laboring subject in the film, and nationalist local subject in the critical essay—within the larger transitioning nation-formation and transformation of the 1930s era and beyond.

Rolando B. Tolentino is faculty of the UP Film Institute and former dean of the UP College of Mass Communication. He is Director of the UP Institute of Creative Writing where he also serves as fellow. He has taught at the Osaka University, National University of Singapore, and University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include Philippine literature, popular culture, cinema and media, interfacing national and transnational issues. He writes and has published books on fiction and creative non-fiction. He is a member of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Filipino Film Critics Group), Altermidya (People’s Alternative Media Network), and Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-UP).

The Pelikula Lektura: UPFI Philippine Cinema Centennial Lecture Series aims to highlight key historical events and phenomena in Philippine cinema in the last 100 years and reflect upon what history can teach us for the next 100 years of our journey. The lectures will be presented by the leading scholars and respected critics & artists in the roster of the UPFI faculty and lecturers.