Cinema Archipelago: A Geography of Philippine Film and the Postnational Imaginary Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2022
  • Palis, Joseph
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Geography
  • The project aims to understand and raise awareness about the power of film to shape geographies and the power of geography to shape films. The purpose of my research is to investigate the constitution of 'national cinema' in the Philippines. The concept of imagined communities by Benedict Anderson will provide a theoretical basis for understanding the relations between film and the concept of the 'national'. The cinematic representation of local cultures, spaces and places and the tenuous concept of national cinema will be investigated and unpacked. The research seeks to investigate how notions of 'national cinema' are constructed through textual readings of selected Philippine films, employing discourse analysis as a method to apprehend meanings embedded in the images and in their reception. Of particular importance is how various constructions of the nation as seen in selected Filipino films enact, re-enact and contest the official narrative of the country. Additionally, the research asks how useful is the 'national cinema' as a conceptual approach to describe not only the various voices within a nation but also outside its geographical borders? Given the recognition of the materiality that Filipinos ascribe to the nation, is a postnational or non-resident cinema possible in the country? The research concerns are thus: (1) The interrogation and investigation of 'national cinema', its constructions, reifications and contestations using insights from interviews and focus group discussions as well as a textual reading of selected Philippine films; (2) How the Third Cinema movement aided the articulation of alternative views of the nation (guerilla film aesthetics, digital filmmaking, queerness; (3) How diaspora mediates the depiction of the archipelago as nation and homeland; and (4) Whether a postnational cinema is possible in the national imaginary.
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  • Kirsch, Scott
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