Note: Articles “transcribed” and made available in PDF format on this web page are corrected and/or slightly expanded versions of the print versions. As such, they may not entirely correspond with the exact wording in the journal’s published form. In citing passages from the versions I have uploaded here, it would be advisable to refer to both the journal publication as well as the blog version. (Sample citation for the first page of the second listed entry on this page: David 61. Sample reference for the same entry: David, Joel. “Indochine and the Politics of Gender.” Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 12.4 (Winter 2006): 61-93. doi:10.1080/12259276.2006.11666017. Posted at https://joelsky2000.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/indochine.pdf.)
For titles beyond Asian Journal of Women’s Studies, please click here for:
• Diliman Review;
• GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies;
• International Journal of Asian Studies;
• Kritika Kultura;
• Manila Review;
• Philippines Communication Journal;
• Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media, and Society; and
• Southeast Asian Studies.
Asian Journal of Women’s Studies
“Translating Time: Cinema, the Fantastic, and Temporal Critique [by] Bliss Cua Lim, Durham: Duke University Press, 2009, 346+xiv pages.” Book review. Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 15.4 (Winter 2009): 124-32. doi:10.1080/12259276.2009.11666080. Click here to download a PDF transcription.
Abstract: Although filmic discourses on the Vietnam War have been associated with American filmmakers and producers, the last internationally celebrated film release on the subject was French. Fittingly, Indochine (1992) dealt with the French presence in Vietnam and the Vietnamese people’s struggle to free themselves from their colonizers. With the benefit of hindsight, the filmmakers were able to present their film as a critique on the apologetic limitations of US productions, as well as on the hypocrisy of American inattentiveness toward France’s predicament only to be followed by the US attempt to succeed the French as Vietnam’s subsequent colonizing power. The film’s political agenda, however, is ruptured via its use of female protagonists to represent the two warring nations. Where and how this rupture occurs can be better understood using discourses on gender.
Keywords: Vietnam War films; Vietminh; French occupation; gender and nation; spectatorship; masquerade
“A Critical Consideration of the Use of Trauma as an Approach to Understanding Korean Cinema.” Co-written with Ju-Yong Ha. Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia 50.1 (2014): 16-50.
Abstract: A number of reasons have been forwarded to explain the emergence and current dominance of the Korean Wave in film, as well as the larger phenomenon of Hallyu, the term by which the popular-culture Korean wave has been known. Most of these accounts for the New Korean Cinema, the filmic equivalent of the Korean Wave, are tied to attempts to understand other national cinemas in Asia in terms of their respective countries’ encounters with modernization. This paper attempts to (1) provide a historically grounded perspective on why and how film is currently being used in Korea to recapture and revaluate traumatic experiences on the part of both filmmakers and audiences, and (2) to suggest ways in which these uses of trauma may be shifting or eroding.
Keywords: psychoanalysis; realism; auteurism; spectators
“Perseverance in a Neglected Dimension.” Interview with soundperson Ramon Reyes. Diliman Review 32.2 (March-April 1984): 66-72. Anthologized in Millennial Traversals. Includes sidebar “Partial Filmography” 69.
“Queer Shuttling: Korea – Manila – New York.” Queer Film and Video Festival Forum, Take Two: Critics Speak Out section, ed. Chris Straayer and Thomas Waugh. GLQ 12.4 (2006): 614-17. doi:10.1215/10642684-2006-005. Anthologized as “LGBTQ Filmfests” in Millennial Traversals.
“Contestable Nation-Space: Cinema, Cultural Politics, and Transnationalism in the Marcos-Brocka Philippines. By Rolando B. Tolentino. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2014. Pp. 267 + xii. ISBN-10: 971-5427359; ISBN-13: 978-9715427357.” Book review. International Journal of Asian Studies 14.1 (January 2017): 112-15. doi:10.1017/S1479591416000267. Click here to download a PDF transcription.
“Remembering the Forgotten War: Origins of the Korean War Film and Its Development during Hallyu.” Kritika Kultura 28 (February 2017): 112-46. doi:10.13185/KK2017.02807.
Abstract: As the Cold War proxy conflict that provided a happy ending for the Western alliance that fought for the South Korean side, the Korean War became a recurrent and idealized subject for American film productions. A generally overlooked trend, however, is the fact that Korea itself subsequently embarked on a reflective series of cinematic discourses on the war and its aftermath, during the period when the country’s popular culture (eventually dubbed hallyu) began to attract foreign interest. The contrast between post-war Hollywood images and fairly contemporary Korean output regarding the topic provides a starting point for studying issues pertaining to trauma, history, power, knowledge, and difference.
Keywords: Hollywood; world cinema; New Korean Cinema; war-film genre
“Firmament Occupation: The Philippine Star System.” Kritika Kultura 25 (August 2015): 248-84. doi:10.13185/KK2015.02514.
Abstract: Although vital to the existence of the Philippine movie industry, stardom has rarely garnered scholarly attention apart from the auteurist (film-artist) or biographical modes. Part of the reason is external, in the sense that media-studies approaches to star-text discourses emerged relatively recently, and may still be in the process of further refinement. However, a crucial internal reason is that the primary Philippine example, Nora Aunor, inadvertently affirms the earlier, now-conventional approach by virtue of her singular dominance as both top star and top multimedia performer. This study will track relevant trends in star studies vis-à-vis Philippine scholarly output, and will then look at an extreme example of Aunor-as-auteur by way of demonstrating the predicament her presence has posed for local scholarship.
Keywords: audience; auteurism; Nora Aunor; reflexivity
“Introduction.” Guest Editor’s introduction to Forum Kritika: On Nora Aunor and the Philippine Star System. Kritika Kultura 25 (August 2015): 46-48. doi:10.13185/KK2015.02513.
“Phantom in Paradise: A Philippine Presence in Hollywood Cinema.” Kritika Kultura 21/22 (August 2013): 560-83. doi:10.13185/KK2013.02134.
Abstract: The Philippines’s experience with its last foreign occupant, the US, resulted in an entire clutch of problematic “special relations” that, coupled with the country’s responses to the challenges of self-government, ultimately led to a global dispersal of the population, effectively turning the Philippines into the major Asian nation arguably most reliant on its citizens’ overseas remittances. This paper takes the position that diasporic Filipinos, for a variety of reasons starting with the effectiveness of maintaining unintrusive presences in alien cultures (including the acceptance of menial positions), have possibly developed and have enabled others to perceive them as silent and discreet figures once they step into the circuits of globalized labor exchanges. Not surprisingly, elements traceable to the Philippines and its fraught relationship with America show up in the output of Hollywood. The special instance of a transitional (late-Classical and early new-Hollywood) melodrama, Reflections in a Golden Eye, adapted from a Southern Gothic novel by Carson McCullers, will be inspected for its pioneering depiction of queer postcoloniality in the transplantation of a Filipino male “housemaid” in the troubled middle-American home of a war returnee.
Keywords: globalization; novel-to-film adaptation; queerness; postcoloniality
“OFWs in Foreign Cinema: An Introduction.” Guest Editor’s introduction to Monograph Section. Kritika Kultura 21/22 (August 2013): 557-59. doi:10.13185/KK2013.02133.
Transcription and notes. “Ishmael Bernal’s Manila by Night.” Screenplay, with English translation by Alfred A. Yuson. Kritika Kultura 19 (August 2012): 172-272. doi:10.13185/1388.
“Film Plastics in Manila by Night.” Kritika Kultura 19 (August 2012): 36-69. doi:10.13185/1382.
Abstract: As a sample of Third World cinema, Manila by Night (and by association its director, Ishmael Bernal) endured a reputation for technical inadequacy – an ironic assessment, considering its top-rank status in the Philippine film canon. This paper will attempt to revaluate the movie’s aesthetic stature vis-à-vis movements specific to Third Cinema, focusing on ethnographic filmmaking. First will be an analysis of the film’s visual surface, with a consideration of scene selections/limitations/restrictions, the limiting and liberating aspect of night shooting, and the independent-minded spirit which refused to conform to standards of surface polish in filmmaking, as dictated by critics and practitioners. Second will be a consideration of sound, particularly its director’s successful adaptation of the multi-channel recording system to convey overlapping and even simultaneous lines of dialogue. By this means the paper hopes to argue that, contrary to received impressions, Bernal devoted as much aesthetic deliberation to Manila by Night as he did to its justly celebrated narratological and ideological elements.
Keywords: Philippine cinema; documentary; cinematography; film sound; ethnographic filmmaking; criticism
“Introduction.” Guest Editor’s introduction to Forum Kritika: A Closer Look at Manila by Night. Kritika Kultura 19 (August 2012): 6-13. doi:10.13185/1380.
“Primates in Paradise: Critical Possibilities of the Milieu Movie.” Kritika Kultura 17 (August 2011): 70-104. doi:10.13185/1420.
Abstract: The use of multiple lead characters in cinema is a fairly recent development, although the strategy (and its resultant variety of structures) had been present for some time in theater and literature. The typical Classical Hollywood action-driven narrative operated most efficiently through a singular hero, allowing the audience to undergo the film experience via the process of singular identification. With the breakdown in identificatory requisites popularized by various New Wave and Third Cinema movements, and the consequent assimilation of this trend starting with the New American Cinema, mainstream Hollywood was ready to embark upon a series of multi-character movies, with Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975) serving as watershed text. Interestingly, the production of films with multiple lead characters had been a long-standing staple in the national cinema of the Philippines—a country that itself holds multiple distinctions vis-à-vis the US, starting with its historical status as America’s first (and only Asian) colony. This article will be looking at how a mode of practice that recently emerged on the global scene had been functioning in a relatively obscure national cinema, and how the practice ensured for itself a measure of longevity by distinguishing itself as a popular genre.
Keywords: milieu realism; multi-character films; Philippine cinema
“A Second Golden Age.” Kultura 2.4 (January-March 1990): 14-26.
“To Give Critical Support to Filmmakers.” Kultura 2.1 (April-June 1989): 52-56.
“Macho Dancer: Text vs. Texture.” Cover story, film review of Macho Dancer, dir. Lino Brocka. Kultura 2.2 (July-September 1989): 26-33.
“Pinoy Film Criticism: A Lover’s Polemic.” Anthologized as “A Lover’s Polemic” in Millennial Traversals. The Manila Review 3 (August 2013): 6-8 [n.b.: print edition is erroneously indicated as issue “1” while online edition uses September as month of publication]. Also see “The Original Post of the National University’s Roundtable on Film Criticism” and “Fallout to ‘A Lover’s Polemic’.”
“Preeminence of Film as Artistic Mass Medium.” Originally titled “Reflections on a National Pastime” and anthologized in Millennial Traversals. Philippines Communication Journal 2.5 (December 1987): 43-48.
“Film Book Publishing.” Philippines Communication Journal 1.3 (June 1987): 76-79.
“Local Cinema in Today’s Mass Media.” Philippines Communication Journal 1.1 (December 1986): 69-71. Anthologized as “Film since February 1986” in The National Pastime 120-23.
“Alien Abjection amid the Morning Calm: A Singular Reading of Horror Films from beyond Southeast Asia.” Co-written with Ju-Yong Ha. Plaridel 12.2 (August 2015): 201-23.
Abstract: Although Korean cinema managed to ride the crest of Western appreciation (and appropriation) of Asian horror, Korean horror films had to struggle for recognition within the nation. Horror film production, in fact, was officially downgraded so severely that during certain years, including an extended period starting in the late 1980s, no horror film project was undertaken. This article seeks to look into the causes of the difficulties experienced by horror film production outside Southeast Asia (specifically in Korea), and posits that a hybridic relation with other Asian cinemas – including, as a specialized case, the Philippines’ – has contributed to a stabilization and mainstream acceptance of Korean horror film production since the genre’s revival in the late 1990s. It also attempts an answer to the useful question of the reciprocity of film influences in the larger Asian region: i.e., that as much as East Asian horror has impacted other national film cultures, Southeast Asia, via the Philippines, has also managed to signify as a spectral presence in East Asian cinema.
Keywords: hybridity; Korean horror cinema; folk tales; migrant Filipinos
“Phantom Limbs in the Body Politic: Filipinos in Foreign Cinema.” Plaridel 11.1 (February 2014): 101-26.
Abstract: The Philippines’s experience with its last foreign occupant, the US, resulted in an entire package of fraught “special relations” that, coupled with the country’s problematic responses to the challenges of self-government, ultimately led to a global dispersal of the population, effectively turning the Philippines into the major Asian nation arguably most reliant on its citizens’ overseas remittances. This paper takes the position that diasporic Filipinos, for a variety of reasons starting with the effectiveness of maintaining unintrusive presences in alien cultures (including the acceptance of menial positions), have possibly developed and have enabled others to perceive them as silent and discreet figures once they step into the circuits of globalized labor exchanges. Just as overseas Filipino characters have started being acknowledged in non-Philippine overseas film productions, their presences therein partake of this self-effacing configuration of global citizenship.
Keywords: discourse; OFW films; labor policy
“Media and the Diaspora: A Note from the Editors.” Co-written with Violeda A. Umali. Guest Editors’ introduction to Media and the Diaspora. Plaridel 11.1 (February 2014): i-iv.
“Thinking Straight: Queer Imaging in Lino Brocka’s Maynila (1975).” Plaridel 9.2 (August 2012): 21-40. For source interview, see “Doy del Mundo on a Controversy over Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag.” A scanned PDF of (and short introduction to) the essay that provoked the controversy can be found here.
Abstract: The separation between so-called public political discourse and private identity issues attained recent cultural cutting-edge status in the articulation of gender issues. In view of the artificiality of disciplinary boundaries, this paper seeks to evaluate the potential of queer politics (focused on gay-male practice) within the exploratory terms provided by a major city film, Lino Brocka’s Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (1975), produced during martial rule. The area of application of this analysis will be Philippine popular culture, in consideration of the country’s position as a postcolonized territory that had set up a dictatorial regime to facilitate neocolonial control by the US.
Keywords: Philippine cinema; postcoloniality; Marcos era
“Glimpses of Freedom: Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia [by] May Adadol Ingawanij & Benjamin McKay, eds., Ithaca: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2012, viii+246 pp.” Book review. Southeast Asian Studies 1.3 (December 2012): 529-33.