History Of Philippine Cinema

.. the youth revolt had taught them to distrust” Another kind of youth revolt came in the form of the child star. Roberta (1951) of Sampaguita Pictures was the phenomenal example of the drawing power of movies featuring [these] child stars. In the 60s this seemed to imply rejection of “adult corruption” as exposed by childhood innocence. The film genres of the time were direct reflections of the “disaffection with the status quo” at the time.

Action movies with Pinoy cowboys and secret agents as the movers of the plots depicted a “society ravaged by criminality and corruption” . Movies being make-believe worlds at times connect that make-believe with the social realities. These movies suggest a search for heroes capable of delivering us from hated bureaucrats, warlords and villains of our society. The action films of the 1960s brought into the industry ” a new savage rhythm that made earlier action films seem polite and stage managed.” The pacing of the new action films were fast as the narrative had been pared down to the very minimum of dialogues. And in keeping up with the Hollywood tradition, the action sequences were even more realistic. Another film genre that is perhaps also a embodiment of the revolt of the time is the bomba genre. Probably the most notorious of all, this genre appeared at the close of the decade. Interestingly, it came at a time when social movement became acknowledged beyond the walls of campuses and of Manila.

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In rallies, demonstrations and other forms of mass action, the national democratic movement presented its analysis of the problems of Philippine society and posited that only a social revolution could bring genuine change. The bomba film was a direct challenge to the conventions and the norms of conduct of status quo, a rejection of authority of institutions in regulating the “life urge” seen as natural and its free expression “honest” and “therapeutic” Looking beyond the obvious reasons as to the emergence of the bomba film, both as being an exploitative product of a profit-driven industry and as being a “stimulant”, it can be analyzed as actually being a “subversive genre”, playing up to the establishment while rebelling and undermining support for the institutions. Even in the period of decline, genius has a way of showing itself. Several Philippine films that stood out in this particular era were Gerardo de Leons Noli Me Tangere (Touch me Not, 1961) and El Filibusterismo (Subversion, 1962). Two other films by Gerardo de Leon made during this period is worth mentioning Huwag mo Akong Limutin (Never Forget Me , 1960) and Kadenang Putik (Chain of Mud, 1960), both tales of marital infidelity but told with insight and cinematic import. C.

Films during Martial Law In the 60s, the youth clamored for change in the status quo. Being in power, Ferdinand Marcos answered the youth by placing the nation under martial rule. In 1972, he sought to contain growing unrest which the youth revolt of the 1960s fueled. Claiming that all he wanted was to “save the Republic”, Marcos retooled the liberal-democratic political system into an authoritarian government which concentrated power in a dictators hand. To win the population over, mass media was enlisted in the service of the New Society.

Film was a key component of a society wracked with contradictions within the ruling class and between the sociopolitical elite and the masses. In terms of comparisons, the Old Society (or the years before Martial Law) became the leading symbol for all things bad and repugnant. The New Society was supposed to represent everything good a new sense of discipline, uprightness and love of country Accordingly, the ideology of the New Society was incorporated into local films. ..Marcos and his technocrats sought to regulate filmmaking. The first step was to control the content of movies by insisting on some form of censorship. One of the first rules promulgated by the Board of Censors for Motion Pictures (BCMP) stipulated submission of a finished script prior to the start of filming. When the annual film festival was revived, the censors blatantly insisted that the “ideology” of the New Society be incorporated into the content of the entries.

The government tried to control the film industry while keeping it in “good humor” necessary so that the government could continue using film as propagandistic vehicles. So despite the censors, the exploitation of sex and violence onscreen continued to assert itself. Under martial law, action films depicting shoot outs and sadistic fistfights ( which were as violent as ever) usually append to the ending an epilogue claiming that the social realities depicted had been wiped out with the establishment of the New Society. The notorious genre of sex or bomba films that appeared in the preceding decade were now tagged as “bold” films, simply meaning that a lot more care was given to the costumes. Martial Law declared in 1972 clamped down on bomba films as well as political movies critical of the Marcos administration.

But the audiences taste for sex and nudity had already been whetted. Producers cashed in on the new type of bomba, which showed female stars swimming in their underwear, taking a bath in their camison (chemise), or being chased and raped in a river, sea, or under a waterfall. Such movies were called the wet look.. One such movie was the talked-about Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa (The Most Beautiful Animal on the Face of the Earth, 1974) starring former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz. However, the less-than-encouraging environment of the 70s gave way to “the ascendancy of young directors who entered the industry in the late years of the previous decade..” Directors such as Lino Brocka, best remembered for his Maynila, Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila, In the Claws of Neon Lights, 1975), Ishmael Bernal, director of the Nora Aunor film Himala (Miracle, 1982) and Celso Ad. Castillo, whose daring works portrayed revolt, labor unionism, social ostracism and class division, produced works that left no doubt about their talent in weaving a tale behind the camera. Another welcomed result that came from martial rule was the requirement of a script prior to filming. This was an innovation to a film industry that made a tradition out of improvising a screenplay.

Although compliance with the requirement necessarily meant curtailment of the right of free expression, the BCMP, in effect caused the film industry to pay attention to the content of a projected film production in so far as such is printed in a finished screenplay. In doing so, talents in literature found their way into filmmaking and continue to do so now. CHAPTER III II. The 1980s to the present A. Philippine Films after Marcos It can be justified that immediately after Marcos escaped to Hawaii, films portraying the Philippine setting have had a serious bias against the former dictator.

And even while he was in power, the militancy of filmmakers opposing the Martial Law government especially after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in 1983, accounts for the defiant stance of a number of films made in the closing years of the Marcos rule. Films such as Lino Brockas Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (My Country: Gripping the Knifes Edge, 1985) were defiant, not in the sense of it being openly stated by in the images of torture, incarceration, struggle and oppression. Marilou Diaz-Abayas Karnal (1984) depicts this in a different way in the films plot wherein patricide ends a tyrannical fathers domination. Mike de Leons Sister Stella L. (1984), was a typical de Leon treatment of the theme of oppression and tyranny.

In 1977, an unknown Filipino filmmaker going by the name of Kidlat Tahimik made a film called Mababangong Bangungot (Perfumed Nightmare). The film won the International Critics Prize in the Berlin Film Festival that same year. Kidlat Tahimiks rise to fame defined the distance between mainstream cinema and what is now known as independent cinema. Beginning with Tahimik, independent cinema and films became an accomplished part of Philippine film. Out of short film festivals sponsored by the University of the Philippines Film Center and by the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines, young filmmakers have joined Kidlat Tahimik in the production of movies that, by their refusal to kowtow to the traditions and conventions of mainstream filmmaking, signify faith in works that try to probe deeper into the human being and into society. Nick Deocampos Oliver (1983) and Raymond Reds Ang Magpakailanman (The Eternal, 1983) have received attention in festivals abroad.

Filmmakers like Tahimik, Deocampo and Red are examples of what we call “alternative filmmakers”. Alternative or independent filmmakers are products of film schools where students are exposed to art films without “the compromises of commercial filmmaking”. B. Contemporary Philippine Film Despite our completion of 100 years of cinema in the Philippines, the same problems plague us now just as it had when film was still a relatively new art form. The phrase “poorly made” is fitting to describe the quality of films being churned out by the film industry year by year.

There have been few exceptions to the rule. Presently, films are primarily made for profit, lacking any qualities to redeem itself. Studies show that Hollywood films, with its high technology and subject matter, are being preferred over local films. It is no wonder for films now are “too profit-oriented..[with] corrupting morals and..dubious values..sticking with formulaic films” Genres that have been present for the past few decades are being recycled over and over again with the same stories. The teen love teams of the fan movie are still present with incarnations of love teams of yesteryears.

Now instead of “Guy and Pip” are “Judy and Wowie”. The bomba film is still present, now having grown more pornographic and taboo. The film Tatlo (1998) comes to mind with its subject matter of threesomes. In Filipino slapstick or komedya, Dolphy has been replaced by younger stars. But even if the films of today have not been quite up to par, “Filipino movies..wields an influence over the national imagination far more intense that all the others combined.” C.

Conclusion The early years of Philippine film, starting from the 1930s, were a time of discovering film as it was at that time still a new art form. Stories for films came from the theater and popular literature being, as they were, “safe”, with the filmmaker being assured of its appeal. Nationalistic films were also in vogue despite early restrictions on films being too subversive. The 1940s and the war brought to Philippine film the consciousness of reality which was not present in the preceding films. Filmmakers dared to venture into the genre of the war movie. This was also a ready market especially after the war.

The 1950s were the Golden Years, a time when films matured and became more “artistic”. The studio system, though producing film after film and venturing into every known genre, made the film industry into a monopoly that prevented the development of independent cinema. The 1960s, though a time of positive changes, brought about an artistic decline in films. The notorious genre of bomba was introduced and from that day forward has been present in the Philippine film scene ever since. The 1970s and 1980s were turbulent years, bringing positive and negative changes.

From the decline in the 60s, films in this period now dealt with more serious topics following the chaos of the Marcos regime. Also, action and sex films developed further introducing more explicit pictures. These years also brought the arrival of alternative cinema in the Philippines. Presently, in the 1990s, we are seemingly engaged in a vicious cycle of genres, plots, characterization and cinematic styles. We are unconsciously, or rather consciously, imitating, copying from the much more popular American films.

And when we are not copying, we are reverting back to the same old styles. From the massacre movies of late, the teen-oriented romantic-comedies and the anatomy-baring sex flicks which are currently so popular, it seems Philippine cinema is on a down spiral. Still, some films been successes and not only financially. Diaz-Abayas Rizal (1998), as an example, was a success both commercially and critically. Hopefully, Philippine cinema in the new millenium would produce films as good and better than the ones before it.

As a conclusion, here is what Patronilo BN. Daroy had to say about the Philippine film industry: Philippine cinema, in short, appears to have reached full circle: it is at the stage of refining and formulating its own conventions and, in the process, getting in close contact with the ferment in the other arts and at the same time, the serious critical attention and concern of people with a broader interest in culture. This is inevitable; as an art form the cinema in the Philippines can no longer remain isolated from the main current of sensibilities and ideas that shape other artistic forms, such as literature, painting, the theater, etc. Neither can it fly from the actuality of social life which, after all, is the source of all artistic expression. I foresee, therefore, a hand towards more serious cinema; the muckrakers will continue, but they will be exposed for what they are and will no longer be definitive of the quality of Filipino films.