Tag Archives: Profession

Empiricals; or the Bearable Heaviness of Having-Been

The following chart is based on a more comprehensive (nearly half a century!) file of my output than what I posted on the Chronologically Arranged Listing of Publications page. That one contains around 350 entries (as of May 2020) while this one counts over 400 in all. [Please click on the image for enlargement.]

11011The discrepancies begin with a different start year, owing to the inclusion of articles I’d delisted in the blog version as juvenilia. One difficulty in the method is that it counts any single publication as one. This could range from short reports to books. The 1990s drought, for example, owes to the fact that I’d been writing academic papers during graduate school – many of which got compiled in an encyclopedia as well as in books of mine, accounting for two years’ sudden spikes – alongside my doctoral dissertation (one final spike, in 2017, stemmed from the printing of a second edition of the aforementioned encyclopedia). I noticed as well that the years when I needed to adjust to non-writing jobs tended, logically enough, to impinge on my productivity, requiring a few couple of years for me to bounce back.

11011What struck me about the chart was the apparent high yield during the late 1980s, exceeding my freelance period of 1980-81. From personal experience, however, it felt like I was doing more writing recently than I ever had before – and again, it all boiled down to the question of the nature of output. With my tenured status in a more supportive non-Philippine educational institution, I was able to devote more time to writing, but these focused on academic articles and an occasional book volume.

11011The surest way of determining productivity would be by performing a word count of each entry and tabulating word output per year. That would of course require the kind of dedication to positivist projects that I can no longer muster. A less difficult means would be to count number of pages instead – a predicament for the articles whose copies I no longer possess, and a challenge that requires patience and obsession and time to spare (none of which I have enough of right now). As of this writing (December 2018), the last two years in the chart still have to transpire, so some of the items being counted are finished works awaiting publication, or planned output that I have announced. I imagine (though I don’t hope) that I might be writing to my end of days, so the definitive version of this study, assuming it’s worth completing, may just have to be undertaken by others.

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Chronologically Arranged Listing of Publications

Warning: you might find this (incomplete but still-growing) section too extensive for casual browsing.

11011A number of entries may appear bloated because of my insistence in tracking where they may have been reprinted; similarly, the reprints would be extended by the acknowledgments of original publication. I do not hold copies any longer of everything listed here. The claim I can make, however, is that each entry existed in a legally definable published format (including on the internet) that I once laid eyes on, if not actually possessed, except for a number of reviews whose non-publication arose from the editor’s backward orientation or the periodical’s inability to come out. When I realized that I would have to leave most of my collected materials behind to commence graduate studies abroad, I endeavored to list everything I had – a wise decision, since nearly the entirety of my possessions were either pilfered or damaged by the time I returned. My work as university faculty similarly inculcated in me the discipline of summarizing my output every yearend.

11011Pointedly missing from this list are three types of mimeographed material, some of which I was able to jot down, as well as news items generated in my capacity as journalism intern or reporter. The latter were contractually anonymized although my initials started appearing as taglines in some of the later published material; but the requirement of writing up to four reports a day, none of which were guaranteed to see print unless a desk editor happened to favor them, resonates in the most disagreeable way with me. Of the mimeo publications, one was legitimate but literally juvenile: my stint as editor-in-chief of the low-end student paper of my public elementary school (during the time when such institutions were markedly superior to private schools, which I had also attended). The other two types, where I first made use of pseudonyms, were juvenile in other senses: college-era fundamentalist-Christian newsletters and orthodox-Marxist underground propaganda, both types of which are, for better or worse, still around, and not much different from each other, if I may speak from experience.

11011To jump to half-decade marks, please click here for: 1980; 1985; 1990; 1995; 2000; 2005; 2010; 2015. To find an entry’s link in the blog, enter the title in the Search box in the footer (for the website version). Or track the source of the article using these means of identification: book titles (including anthologies and conference proceedings) in Books; journal and non-journal titles in Articles; non-journal periodicals after 2016 and independent statements in Remarks; and all other unclassifiable texts in Extras. If you’re searching for any number of commentaries on film, book, or stage titles, I recommend you look them up in Reviews instead, or in Auteurs & Authors if you prefer to search according to artist. For a tentative evaluation of these listings as data entries, I prepared a page titled Empiricals.

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David, Jose Hernani S. “Facing the Drug Abuse Problem.” “Piece of Mind” column. Ang Aninag (July-September 1974): 12.

———. “Of Population Boom and Errata.” “Deliberations” column. Ang Aninag (October-December 1974): 3.

———. “Eva Fernandez.” “Camera On” feature. Ang Aninag (October-December 1974): 5.

———. “Animal Farm: A Fairy Story by George Orwell.” Book review. Ang Aninag. (October-December 1974): 6.

———. “Lidy Nacpil.” “Camera On” feature. Ang Aninag (Christmas 1974): 3.

———. “But for the Lovers by Wilfrido Nolledo” and “Magister Ludi (The Glass Bead Game) by Hermann Hesse, translated by Richard and Clara Winston.” Book reviews. Ang Aninag (October-December 1974): 4.


David, Jose Hernani S. “Trivia.” “Deliberations” column. Ang Aninag (January-February 1975): 3.


David, Joel. “A New Twist to an Old Game.” “Common People” section. Who? [weekly magazine] (May 20, 1978): 6-7.

David, J. Hernani S. “The Student Regent: Work to Do.” “Winning Editorials (Topic: ‘Student Regent, Tuition Fee Hike and Minimum Wage’)” feature. Philippine Collegian [University of the Philippines official weekly student newspaper] (June 16, 1978): 3.

———. “Changes We’d Like to See.” “Innovations” column, “based on the editor’s entry to the layout phase of this year’s editorial exams.” Philippine Collegian (June 16, 1978): 8, 6.

———. “Today’s Press Systems: Four Tunes Western Theorists Sing.” Book review of Four Theories of the Press by Fred S. Siebert, Theodore Peterson, and Wilbur Schramm. Philippine Collegian (June 23, 1978): 3, 6.

———. “Pressed Freedom.” Editorial. Philippine Collegian (June 23, 1978): 8.

———. “Question Time.” “Tugon” column. Philippine Collegian (July 12, 1978): 8.

———. “The Fire Cure.” “Tugon” column. Philippine Collegian (July 20, 1978): 8.

———. “Birds of Omen.” Film review of Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak dir. Celso Ad. Castillo. Philippine Collegian (July 26, 1978): 3, 6. Anthologized in The Urian Anthology 1970-1979, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Manila: Morato, 1983) 268-71.

———. “A Semestral Carol.” “Tugon” column. Philippine Collegian (August 9, 1978): 8.

———. “Low Flight.” “Tugon” column. Philippine Collegian (September 8, 1978): 8.

———. “Youths Stage September 21 Rally.” Interpretive report. Campus Journal [University of the Philippines Institute of Mass Communication semestral laboratory newspaper] (October 2, 1978): 1, 6.

———. “A Clockwork Crimson.” “Tugon” column. Philippine Collegian (October 4, 1978): 12, 10.

———. “Behind Bicutan.” “Tugon” column. Philippine Collegian (November 16, 1978): 8.


David, J. Hernani S. “When Enough is Enough.” “Tugon” column. Philippine Collegian (January 25, 1979): 8.

———. “The Provisional Directorate of the Diliman Commune, Feb. 1-9, 1971: 9 Days that Shook the Campus.” Feature article. Philippine Collegian (February 2, 1979): 7. Revised and published in The Review (February 1981): 6-11.

———. “NPC Under Water.” “Tugon” column. Philippine Collegian (February 2, 1979): 12.

———. “Oil Mighty.” “Tugon” column. Philippine Collegian (February 22, 1979): 8.

———. “Winning Editorials: Student Participation in University Affairs.” Philippine Collegian (March 2, 1979): 7.

———. “Oil Mighty II.” “Tugon” column. Philippine Collegian (April 20, 1979): 4.

David, Jose Hernani Segovia. “The Events in the Diliman Campus on February 1-9, 1971: A Historical Study.” Undergraduate thesis for B.A. Journalism. Bridget Zubiri, adviser. University of the Philippines, April 1979.

David, Joel. “Focus on the BPI Economic Garden.” Feature article. Greenfields 9.11 (November 1979): 40-45; with sidebar “The Plant Propagators,” 44-45.

David, Jose Hernani S., and Miguel Y. Puzon. “Introducing Fiberglass Fishing Boats in the Philippines.” “Research Features” section. Fisheries Today [Fishery Industry Development Council quarterly magazine] (November 4, 1979): 49-50.

David, Jose Hernani S. “Valiant Try.” Film review of Aliw, dir. Ishmael Bernal. Who (submitted November 1979). Anthologized in The National Pastime: Contemporary Philippine Cinema (Pasig City: Anvil, 1990).

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David, Jose Hernani S. “Malou Mangahas: Child of the Seventies.” “Campus” feature. Who [Who? renamed] (January 5, 1980): 32-33, 35.

———. “Rumpus at the International School.” “Campus” feature. Who (January 19, 1980): 1, 7. Original published as “At the International School: A Striking Story,” Philippine Collegian (January 23, 1980): 1, 7.

David, Joel. “A Festival to Forget.” “The Arts” feature, omnibus film review of 1979 Metro Manila Film Festival entries. Who (January 19, 1980): 40, 42.

David, Jose Hernani S. “At the International School: A Striking Story.” Interpretive report. Philippine Collegian (January 23, 1980): 1, 7.

———. “The World According to Aguila.” “Entertainment” feature, film review of Aguila, dir. Eddie Romero. Who (February 2, 1980): 44, 46. Anthologized in The National Pastime: Contemporary Philippine Cinema (Pasig City: Anvil, 1990) 20-23 and in The Urian Anthology 1980-1989, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Quezon City: Tuviera, 2001) 142-45.

———. “A Clockwork Yellow.” “The Arts” feature, film review of The China Syndrome, dir. James Bridges. Who (February 22, 1980): 24-25, 42.

———. “The Night the Critics Gave Out Their Awards.” Interpretive report. Philippines Daily Express (March 4, 1980): 20-21.

———. “Why Aguila Was a Success at the Box-Office.” Interpretive report. Philippines Daily Express (March 6, 1980): 20-21.

———. “The World is a Newspaper.” Column. Tinig ng Plaridel [University of the Philippines Institute of Mass Communication official newspaper] (March 19, 1980): 8. Rpt. in Who (June 7, 1980): 42.

———. “Lighting Up the Countryside: Lesson in Rural Electrification.” Book review of Lighting Up the Countryside: The Story of Electric Cooperatives in the Philippines by Frank H. Denton. Daluyan [Development Academy of the Philippines bimonthly magazine] 80.1 (May-June 1980): 34- 39.

David, Joel. “Cartooning in the Philippines: A Win, Lose, and Draw Proposition.” “The Arts” feature, critical interviews of Willy Aquino, Pol Galvez, and Boy Togonon. Who (May 17, 1980): 27-29.

———. “Star-Building Pays.” Critical interviews of Dr. Rey de la Cruz, Jesse Ejercito, and Douglas Quijano. Times Journal (May 26, 1980): 21, 23.

David, Jose Hernani S. “The World is a Newspaper.” “Essay” feature. Who (June 7, 1980): 42. Originally published in Tinig ng Plaridel (March 19, 1980): 8.

———. “Second Thoughts on Kramer vs. Kramer.” Film review of Kramer vs. Kramer, dir. Robert Benton. Parade [Sunday supplement of Times Journal] (June 8, 1980): 5. Originally titled “Kramer vs. Women.”

———. “Star-Crossed.” Film review of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, dir. Robert Wise. Parade (June 15, 1980): 20.

———. “Palaban Puts Up a Decent Fight.” Film review of Palaban, dir. Eddie Romero. Times Journal (June 28, 1980): 23. Anthologized as “A Decent Fight” in The National Pastime 24-25.

———. “Rural Immersion for Career Executives.” Book review of The Indang Experience by Ledivina V. Cavino and Emma B. Vineza. Daluyan (July-August 1980): 46-48.

David, Joel. “In Bongga: Commercialism Triumphs Again.” Film review of Bongga Ka ’Day, dir. Maryo J. de los Reyes. Times Journal (August 1, 1980): 23.

David, Jose Hernani S. “Rural Organizations: In Search of Foolproof Answers.” Book review of Rural Organizations in the Philippines, ed. Marie S. Fernandez. Daluyan (November-December 1980): 36, 39.

David, Joel. “Just Another Brocka Film.” Film review of Angela Markado, dir. Lino Brocka. Times Journal (November 21, 1980): 28. Anthologized as “Just Another Exercise” in The National Pastime 175-78.

———. “Bernal’s Manila by Night Mangled.” Comparative report on Manila by Night (preview version) and City after Dark (censored version), dir. Ishmael Bernal. Times Journal (December 18, 1980): 25-26. Original published as “Manila by Night under the Knife: Those Scissors-Happy Censors Don’t Know What They’ve Missed,” Who (February 21, 1981): 28-29.


David, Joel. “Local Cinema ’80: New Directions for a New Decade.” Yearend evaluation of Filipino films. The Review (January 1981): 13-17.

———. “Nine Days that Shook the Campus.” Feature article. The Review (February 1981): 6-11. Originally published in Philippine Collegian (February 2, 1979): 7; includes sidebar “A Loss Remembered,” feature on Pastor Mesina, Jr. as recounted by his parents.

———. “A Festival to Forget.” Interpretive report on Manila ’81 Event. The Review (February 1981): 51.

———. “Manila by Night Under the Knife: Those Scissors-Happy Censors Don’t Know What They’ve Missed.” Who (February 21, 1981): 28-29. Original of “Bernal’s Manila by Night Mangled,” Times Journal (December 18, 1980): 25-26.

———, transcriber and introducer. “A Review Exclusive: Manila by Night.” Original screenplay by Ishmael Bernal. The Review (March 1981): 23-41.

———. “Brocka’s Satire is Effective.” Film review of Kontrobersyal, dir. Lino Brocka. Times Journal (April 3, 1981): 21-22.

David, Joel, and Geselle Militante. “Student Activism through the Years.” Feature article. The Review (June 1981): 24-29. Includes as sidebar Roberto Z. Coloma, “The Continuing Myth.”

David, Joel. “The Value of Humility.” “Book shorts” review of Philippine Prehistory: An Anthropological Overview of the Beginnings of Filipino Society and Culture by F. Landa Jocano. The Review (June 1981): 61.

———. “Oversimplifying Class Conflicts.” “The Arts” film review of Burgis, dir. Lino Brocka. Who (August 1, 1981): 16.

———. “Our Critical Condition.” Fictional forum on Filipino film criticism. The Review (September 1981): 41-44. Derived from “How to Become a Film Critic,” Who (November 28, 1981): 27-29.

———. “Pinoy in Gangsterland.” Survey of Filipino gangster films. The Review (October 1981): 10-12.

———. “Hateful Love.” Film review of Endless Love, dir. Franco Zeffirelli. The Review (October 1981): 55-56. Originally titled “Brainless Love.”

———. “Sense (or Its Absence) in Censorship.” The Review (November-December 1981): 11-13.

———. “Exceptions.” Comparative film review of Kamakalawa, dir. Eddie Romero, and Kisapmata, dir. Mike de Leon. The Review (November-December 1981): 44-45. Anthologized in The National Pastime 28-31.

———. “How to Become a Film Critic.” “The Arts” feature. Who (November 28, 1981): 27-29. Original of “Our Critical Condition,” The Review (September 1981): 41-44.


David, Joel. “Ragtime (USA), dir. Milos Forman.” Film review. The Review (February 1982): 13.

———. “Man of Iron (Poland), dir. Andrzej Wajda.” Film review. The Review (February 1982): 14-15.

———. “Insurgency in These Islands.” Feature article. The Review (March 1982): 28-31. Includes as sidebar “The 10-Point Program of the National Democratic Front,” rpt. from Southeast Asia Chronicle (May-June 1978).

———. “Holy Pain.” “Literary Folio” short story. Observer. [Sunday supplement of Times Journal, vice Parade] (May 16, 1982): 24-26. Anthologized in The Literary Apprentice 1981-1982 (Quezon City: UP Writers Club, 1982) 142-51.

———. “Waiting for Godard.” Film review of Batch ’81, dir. Mike de Leon. Who (June 16, 1982): 19-20. Anthologized in The National Pastime 32-34.

———. “Naked Debut.” Film review of Hubad na Gubat, dir. Lito Tiongson. The Review (August 1982): 43.

———. “Cinemasex.” Survey of Filipino sex films. Who (August 25, 1982): 20-22.

———. “Philippine Fisheries: A Fish-Eye View.” Feature article. The Review (September 1982): 23-25.

———. “Holy Pain.” Short story. The Literary Apprentice 1981-1982. University of the Philippines Writers Club anthology. Quezon City: UPWC, 1982. 142-51. Originally published in Observer (May 16, 1982): 24-26.

———. “Revolutionary from the Center.” The Review Corner interview with Nilo S. Tayag re the Daop Palad program. The Review (September 1982): 48.

———. “Big Hopes for Short Films.” The First Experimental Cinema of the Philippines’ Annual Short Film Festival [souvenir program] (November 16-21, 1982): 28-31. Rpt. Who (Nov. 24, 1982): 19-20.


ALR Contributor. “Trends: A Fillip for Film Books.” Asiaweek [international weekly newsmagazine; in Literary Review section] (February 25, 1983): 46-47.

David, Joel. “In Defense of Oro.” Opening installment of comparative review of Oro, Plata, Mata, dir. Peque Gallaga, and Moral, dir. Marilou Diaz-Abaya, in Eddie Pacheco’s “Simply Divine” column. Sunday Special, supplement of Times Journal (May 1, 1983): 10. Originally titled “Transcendence” and anthologized in The National Pastime 106-09.

———. “Transcendence.” Concluding installment of comparative review of Oro, Plata, Mata, dir. Peque Gallaga, and Moral, dir. Marilou Diaz-Abaya, in Eddie Pacheco’s “Simply Divine” column. Sunday Special (May 8, 1983): 10. Anthologized in The National Pastime 106-09.

———. “Filipino Films Well-Received in Moscow.” Interview with Ishmael Bernal re Himala. Times Journal (July 10, 1983): 20, 19.

———. “Maestro Bandido: Refreshing Change, Precious Insights.” Film review of Maestro Bandido, dir. Reginald King. Times Mirror, afternoon newspaper of Times Journal (Aug. 15, 1983): 8.

———. “Repression and Rebellion.” Film review of Pedro Tunasan, dir. Celso Ad. Castillo. Jario Scenario, official monthly newsletter of the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines (September 1983): 4.

———. “An Everyday Tragedy.” Feature. Jario Scenario (September 1983): 3, 6.

———. “Dope Godfather: Petty, Deficient.” Film review of Dope Godfather, dir. Junn P. Cabreira. Times Mirror (September 13, 1983): 8.

———. “ECP: Indispensable to Movie Industry.” “Special Report on Film Industry” in Supplement section. Manila Evening Post, afternoon daily newspaper (September 28, 1983): 5.

———. “Pagputi: Birds of Omen.” “The New Cinema” section, film review of Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak dir. Celso Ad. Castillo. The Urian Anthology 1970-1979, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Manila: Morato, 1983) 268-71. Originally published in Philippine Collegian (July 26, 1978): 3, 6.


David, Joel. “Perseverance in a Neglected Dimension.” Interview with soundperson Ramon Reyes. Diliman Review 32.2 (March-April 1984): 66-72. Includes sidebar “Partial Filmography” 69.

———. “Scenario.” Editor’s introduction. SineManila, maiden issue of Experimental Cinema of the Philippines film journal (July-September 1984): 1.

———, introducer and translator. “The Screenplay of ‘Ang Magpakailanman,’” Raymond “Goto” Red, screenwriter. SineManila (July-September 1984): 14-20. Rpt. without credit in Nick Deocampo, Short Film: Emergence of a New Philippine Cinema (Metro Manila: Communication Foundation for Asia, 1985) 143-48.

———. “Critics’ Quarterly Citations.” Report. SineManila (July-September 1984): 44.

———. “Manila Short Film Competition.” Report. SineManila (July-September 1984): 44.

———. “The Critic as Creator.” Interview with Pio de Castro III. Philippine Collegian (December 4, 1984): 4, 7.

Deloso, Rollie. “Review: Misteryo sa Tuwa.” Film review of Misteryo sa Tuwa, dir. Abbo Q. de la Cruz. Bulletin Today (December 28, 1984): 27.

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David, Joel. “Historical Lessons.” Film review of Virgin Forest, dir. Peque Gallaga. Manila Standard (submitted 1985): unpublished. Anthologized in Millennial Traversals, Part I: Traversals within Cinema 60-61. Posted online.

———. “Major Bid.” Film review of Bulaklak sa City Jail, dir. Mario O’Hara. Tinig ng Plaridel (submitted 1985): unpublished. Anthologized in The National Pastime 100-02 and in The Urian Anthology 1980-1989 203-05.

———. “Bulaklak sa City Jail.” Excerpt of unpublished film review of Bulaklak sa City Jail, dir. Mario O’Hara. Ikasiyam na Gawad Urian, MPP souvenir program (March 15, 1985): n.p. Erroneously attributed to “Tinig, a UP publication.”

———. “Search Point.” Personal essay. Ang Aninag (October 1985): 4, 7. Originally titled “Searchpoint.”


David, J. Hernani. “Censorship and Other Compromises.” New Day, weekend supplement of Business Day (September 15, 1986): 13. Anthologized in The National Pastime 40-41.

David, Joel. “Mike de Leon at His Best in Bilanggo sa Dilim.” Film review of Bilanggo sa Dilim, dir. Mike de Leon. New Day (September 22, 1986): 15. Includes sidebar “Mike de Leon Filmography” 15. Anthologized as “Return to Form” (without sidebar) in The National Pastime 35-37 and in The Urian Anthology 1980-1989 256-59.

———. “A Film Writer’s Experience.” Interview with Ricardo Lee. New Day (September 29, 1986): 13.

———. “The Fantasy World of Rey de la Cruz.” Interview. New Day (October 6, 1986): 12, 14.

———. “Underground, in the Heat of the Night.” Interpretive report on Filipino pornographic komiks. New Day (October 13, 1986): 17. Anthologized in The National Pastime 154-57.

———. “Triumph of 16mm. Film.” “Fantalk” column, film review of Damortis, dir. Briccio Santos. New Day (October 20, 1986): 13. Anthologized as “Triumph in 16mm.” in The National Pastime 71-74.

———. “The Business of Pleasure in ’Gapo.” Interpretive report on Olongapo City. New Day (October 27, 1986): 13-14.

———. “Where Have All Horror Films Gone?” Survey of Filipino horror films. New Day (November 3, 1986): 13. Anthologized as “Where Has All the Horror Gone?” in The National Pastime 50-52.

———. “School Lures Film Buffs to Pioneer UP Course.” New Day (November 10, 1986): 13.

———. “Local Cinema in Today’s Mass Media.” Philippines Communication Journal [quarterly publication of the University of the Philippines Institute of Mass Communication] 1 (December 1986): 69-71. Anthologized as “Film Since February 1986” in The National Pastime 120-23.

Legaspi, Jojo. “Epic Grandstanding.” Film review of The Mission, dir. Roland Joffe. National Midweek (December 10, 1986): 40(?).


Legaspi, Jojo. “Exploring the World of Dreams.” Film review of Dreamscape, dir. Joseph Ruben. National Midweek (January 7, 1987): 49.

———. “Ten Years of the Metro Filmfest.” National Midweek (January 28, 1987): 39-40.

———. “Niño’s Comeback.” Film review of Kontra Bandido, dir. J. Erastheo Navoa. National Midweek (February 11, 1987): 41. Anthologized in The National Pastime 86-87.

———. “Waiting for a Renaissance.” 1986 yearend evaluation of Filipino films. National Midweek (February 11, 1987): 42-43.

———. “The Return of the Melodrama.” Film review of Kung Aagawin Mo ang Lahat sa Akin, dir. Eddie Garcia. National Midweek (March 18, 1987): 45. Anthologized as “Return of the Melodrama” in The National Pastime 132-33.

David, Joel. “Film Book Publishing.” Philippines Communication Journal 3 (June 1987): 76-79. Rpt. as “Film Books,” National Midweek (December 9, 1987): 34-35.

———. “Searching for Options.” Film review of Kid … Huwag Kang Susuko!, dir. Peque Gallaga. National Midweek (August 19, 1987): 37-38. Anthologized in The National Pastime 110-11.

———. “Mid-Year in Review.” 1987 mid-year evaluation of Filipino films. National Midweek (August 26, 1987): 41-42.

———. “O’Hara Strikes Again.” Film review of Tatlong Ina, Isang Anak, dir. Mario O’Hara. National Midweek (September 2, 1987): 40-41. Anthologized in The National Pastime 103-05.

———. “Film Education Comes of Age.” National Midweek (September 16, 1987): 31-33.

———. “Secret Love.” Film review of Mga Lihim ng Kalapati, dir. Celso Ad. Castillo. National Midweek (September 23, 1987): 34.

———. “Romero’s Flip-Flop.” Film review of Hari sa Hari, Lahi sa Lahi, dir. Eddie Romero for Philippine version and Hsiao Lang and Chou Lili for Chinese version. National Midweek (September 23, 1987): 35. Anthologized in The National Pastime 26-27.

———. “Gay Days.” Film review of Ako si Kiko, Ako si Kikay, dir. Mike Relon Makiling. National Midweek (September 30, 1987): 33-34. Anthologized as “Gross, Gaudy, & Gay” in The National Pastime 88-90.

———. “Classics for College Kids.” National Midweek (October 7, 1987): 32-33.

———. “Mellow Drama.” Film review of Paano Kung Wala Ka Na, dir. Mel Chionglo. National Midweek (October 14, 1987): 36. Anthologized in The National Pastime 134-35.

———. “Grave Burden.” Film review of Pasan Ko ang Daigdig, dir. Lino Brocka. National Midweek (October 21, 1987): 34.

———. “People Power & Cinema.” National Midweek (October 28, 1987): 36. Anthologized as “People-Power Cinema” in The National Pastime 124-26 and as “People Power and Cinema” in The Urian Anthology 1980-1989 56-59.

———. “Regal Fest.” 1987 Regal Films retrospective National Midweek (submitted November 1987): unpublished.

———. “Movie Worker.” Autobiographical account for cover feature on theme “Ordinary People.” National Midweek (November 4, 1987): 15-16.

———. “Bloody Fine.” Film review of The Untouchables, dir. Brian De Palma. National Midweek (November 11, 1987): 36, 44.

———. “Earthbound.” Film review of Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa, dir. Ishmael Bernal. National Midweek (November 18, 1987): 36.

———. “Child’s Play.” Film review of Takot Ako, Eh!, dir. Mario O’Hara. National Midweek (November 25, 1987): 34-35. Anthologized in The National Pastime 94-96.

———. “Preeminence of Film as Artistic Mass Medium.” Philippines Communication Journal 5 (December 1987): 43-48. Originally titled “Reflections on a National Pastime”; includes sidebar “Filmography of Titles Cited” 48.

———. “Home Sweet Home.” Theater review of Elsa Martinez Coscolluela’s Sa Tahanan ng Aking Ama, translated by Raul Regalado. National Midweek (December 2, 1987): 34-35. Anthologized in The National Pastime 158-60.

———. “Reactions to UP Film Major’s Letter.” “Feedback” section, addressed to “My dear Mr. UP Film Major.” National Midweek (December 2, 1987): 42-43.

———. “Film Books.” National Midweek (December 9, 1987): 34-35. Originally published as “Film Book Publishing” in Philippines Communication Journal 3 (June 1987): 76-79.

———. “Failed-Safe.” Film review of Walang Karugtong ang Nakaraan, dir. Leroy Salvador. National Midweek (December 16, 1987): 33. Anthologized in The National Pastime 136-37.

———. “The Devil to Pay.” Film review of The Witches of Eastwick, dir. George Miller. National Midweek (December 23, 1987): 35-36.


———. “A Festival to Forget.” 1987 Metro Manila Film Festival evaluation. Conjuncture [Institute for Popular Democracy publication] 1.4 (January 1988): 8.

———. “Chauvinist’s Nightmare.” Film review of Kumander Gringa, dir. Mike Relon Makiling. National Midweek (January 13, 1988): 33-34. Inside pages erroneously bear “1987” as year. Anthologized in The National Pastime 91-93 and in The Urian Anthology 1980-1989 136-39.

———. “The Curse of Good Intentions.” 1987 Metro Manila Film Festival evaluation. National Midweek (January 20, 1988): 29-31.

———. “Movie(?) of ’87.” Film review of Film Trilogy on the Theme of Poverty and Prostitution, dir. Rosa ng Maynila. National Midweek (January 27, 1988): 29-30. Anthologized as “Movie(?) of the Year” in The National Pastime 75-77 and in The Urian Anthology 1980-1989 260-63.

———. “Bad Takes for the Film Industry,” Conjuncture 1.5-6 (February-March 1988): 8.

———. “’87 in Review: Quo Vadis?” 1987 yearend evaluation of Filipino films. National Midweek (February 3, 1988): 30-31.

———. “Image-Building.” Film review of Huwag Mong Itanong Kung Bakit, dir. Eddie Garcia. National Midweek (February 3, 1988): 31-32.

———. “Down But Not Out.” Comparative film review of Nektar, dir. Francis “Jun” Posadas, and Tubusin Mo ng Dugo, dir. Pepe Marcos. National Midweek (February 17, 1988): 28-29. Anthologized in The National Pastime 56-58.

———. “Reversals.” Film review of Misis Mo, Misis Ko, dir. Carlos Siguion Reyna. National Midweek (March 2, 1988): 35-36. Anthologized in The National Pastime 138-40 and in The Urian Anthology 1980-1989 238-40.

———. “Renewal of Appreciation.” Film review of Manila by Night, dir. Ishmael Bernal. National Midweek (March 16, 1988): 4-5. Anthologized in The National Pastime 169-71.

———. “Moments of Truth.” Comparative film review of Anak ng Cabron, dir. Wilfredo Milan, and Afuang: Bounty Hunter, dir. Mike Relon Makiling. National Midweek (March 23, 1988): 29-30. Anthologized in The National Pastime 59-61.

———. “Form and Function.” Comparative film review of Silent Voice, dir. Mike Newell, and Full Metal Jacket, dir. Stanley Kubrick. National Midweek (April 6, 1988): 30-31.

———. “Komiks Without Pain.” Film review of Saan Nagtatago ang Pag-ibig?, dir. Eddie Garcia. National Midweek (April 13, 1988): 31.

———. “Balancing Acts.” Film review of Hati Tayo sa Magdamag, dir. Lupita A. Kashiwahara. National Midweek (April 27, 1988): 29-30.

———. “Slow Train to Thailand.” Interpretive report on contemporary Thai film scene. National Midweek (July 20, 1988): 20-22.

———. “Studious Studios.” Interpretive report on re-emergence of Filipino studio system. National Midweek (July 20, 1988): 30-31. Anthologized in The National Pastime 126-28.

———. “Progressions, Retrogressions.” Comparative film review of Isusumbong Kita sa Diyos, dir. Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Kapag Napagod ang Puso, dir. Maryo J. de los Reyes, and Nagbabagang Luha, dir. Ishmael Bernal. National Midweek (August 24, 1988): 31-32. Originally titled “Progressions” and anthologized in The National Pastime 141-43.

———. “Bioflicks.” Comparative film review of Operation: Get Victor Corpus, the Rebel Soldier, dir. Pablo Santiago, Balweg: The Rebel Priest, dir. Butch Perez, and Kumander Dante, dir. Ben (M-7) Yalung. National Midweek (October 26, 1988): 29-30. Anthologized in The National Pastime 62-64.

David, Joel. “Perils of Politics.” Film review of A Dangerous Life, dir. Robert Markowitz. National Midweek (submitted November 1988): unpublished. Anthologized in The National Pastime 78-80.

———. “Campout.” Comparative film review of Natutulog Pa ang Diyos, dir. Lino Brocka, Paano Tatakasan ang Bukas, dir. Emmanuel H. Borlaza, and Sa Puso Ko Hahalik ang Mundo, dir. Artemio Marquez. National Midweek (November 9, 1988): 33. Anthologized in The National Pastime 144-46.

———. “Causes for Cerebration.” Comparative film review of Tiyanak, dir. Peque Gallaga and Lorenzo Reyes, and Babaing Hampaslupa, dir. Mel Chionglo. National Midweek (December 21, 1988): 28-29. Anthologized in The National Pastime 53-55.

———. “Perils of Politics.” Unpublished film review of A Dangerous Life, dir. Robert Markowitz. Submitted to National Midweek, 1988. Anthologized in The National Pastime 78-80.


David, Joel. “To Give Critical Support to Filmmakers.” Kultura. Quarterly journal of the Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas. 2.1 (1989): 52-56. Originally titled “Film Reviewing and Film Criticism” and anthologized as “Film Reviewing and Criticism” in The National Pastime 42-47.

———. “Filmfest Flimflam.” 1988 Metro Manila Film Festival evaluation. National Midweek (January 18, 1989): 8-9. Originally titled “Filmfest Flimflammery”; with cover citation and sidebar “MMFF Winners” 9.

———. “Local Cinema ’88.” 1988 yearend evaluation of Filipino films. National Midweek (January 25, 1989): 28-29.

———. “Film-Writing.” Book review of Ricardo Lee’s Si Tatang at mga Himala ng Ating Panahon. National Midweek (February 8, 1989): 27-28. Anthologized in The National Pastime 161-62. Excerpted in Ricky Lee, Si Tatang at mga Himala ng Ating Panahon: Koleksyon ng mga Akda (Quezon City: Writers Studio Foundation, 2009) 11.

———. “Roño’s Rondos.” Comparative film review of Itanong Mo sa Buwan and Si Baleleng at ang Gintong Sirena, dir. Chito Roño. National Midweek (March 1, 1989): 29-30. Anthologized as “Roño’s Rondo,” excluding Si Baleleng review, in The Urian Anthology 1980-1989 236-37.

———. “High-Flying.” Video review of Imelda: Paruparong Bakal, dir. Chito Roño. National Midweek (March 15, 1989): 32. Anthologized in The National Pastime 81-82.

———. “Macho Dancer: Text vs. Texture.” Cover story, film review of Macho Dancer, dir. Lino Brocka. Kultura 2.2 (1989): 26-33. Originally titled “Text vs. Texture” and anthologized in The National Pastime 179-84.

———. “Empire of the (Risen) Sun.” Cover topic, interpretive report on contemporary Japanese film scene. National Midweek (April 12, 1989): 3-7.

———. “An Awakening.” Film review of Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, dir. Ishmael Bernal. National Midweek (April 12, 1989): 32. Anthologized in The National Pastime 172-74.

———. “Short Subjects.” Comparative film review of Mga Kuwento ng Pag-ibig, dir. Jun Cabreira, Luciano Carlos, and Artemio Marquez, and 3 Mukha ng Pag-ibig, dir. Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Lino Brocka, and Leroy Salvador. National Midweek (May 10, 1989): 28-29. Anthologized in The National Pastime 68-70.

———. “Life after Life.” Comparative film review of Mississippi Burning, dir. Alan Parker, and They Live, dir. John Carpenter. National Midweek (June 21, 1989): 29-30.

David, Jose Hernani S. “Ethics First (Rather than Aesthetics).” The National Pastime 190-97. Originally read at the Aspects of Philippine Film panel of the Third International Philippine Studies Conference. Quezon City, 1989.

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David, Joel. The National Pastime: Contemporary Philippine Cinema. Pasig City: Anvil, 1990.

———. “A Second Golden Age: An Informal History.” The National Pastime 1-17. Originally published in Kultura.

———. Reviews and essays. The National Pastime. Originally published in various print outlets.

——— [uncredited]. “After the Revolution.” Film review of Orapronobis, dir. Lino Brocka. National Midweek (January 10, 1990): 28-29. Error in missing credit acknowledged in “Self-Criticism Department” (January 17, 1990): 43. Anthologized in The National Pastime 185-89.

———. “From ‘Sister Stella L.’ to ‘Starzan.’” 1980s Philippine cinema in review. National Midweek (January 24, 1990): 14-16.

———. “Slugged Out.” Comparative film review of Imortal, dir. Eddie Garcia, and Ang Bukas Ay Akin: Langit ang Uusig, dir. Laurice Guillen. National Midweek (January 31, 1990): 30-31. Anthologized in The National Pastime 147-50.

———. “Carnival Cinema.” Exhibition review of Cinevision 2000’s “Adventures of America.” National Midweek (February 7, 1990): 28-29. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 102-05.

———. “…And the First Shall Be the Last.” Film review of The Last Temptation of Christ, dir. Martin Scorsese. National Midweek (March 14, 1990): 31.

———. “’80s Foreign Fare.” 1980s foreign cinema in review. National Midweek (March 28, 1990): 28-29.

———. “No End in Sight.” Film review of Kung Tapos Na ang Kailanman, dir. Lino Brocka. National Midweek (March 28, 1990): 29-30. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 62-65.

———. “Bienvenido Lumbera.” Interview (cover title “Critic in Academe). National Midweek (April 4, 1990): 20-22, 46.

———. “Levels of Independence.” Attempted definition of indie cinema. National Midweek (April 25, 1990): 29-30.

———. “Soldier Blues.” Film review of Casualties of War, dir. Brian De Palma. National Midweek (May 9, 1990): 29.

———. “Ma(so?)chismo.” Comparative film review of Barumbado, dir. Willy Milan, and Kasalanan ang Buhayin Ka, dir. Francisco “Jun” Posadas. National Midweek (May 23, 1990): 30. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 82-84.

———. “Firmament Occupation.” Discussion of star system. National Midweek (May 30, 1990): 29-30. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 114-16.

———. “I.O.U.” Film review of Kahit Singko Hindi Ko Babayaran ang Buhay Mo, dir. Jesus Jose. National Midweek (June 6, 1990): 31. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 85-87.

———. “Men & Myths.” Film review of Bala at Rosaryo, dir. Pepe Marcos. National Midweek (June 6, 1990): 31. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 80-82.

———. “Head Held High.” Film review of Gumapang Ka sa Lusak, dir. Lino Brocka. National Midweek (June 20, 1990): 28-29. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 65-68; and in The Urian Anthology 1990-1999, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010) 148-51.

———. “Record-Breaking Blues.” Originally titled “Blues Hit Parade.” Discussion of blockbusters. National Midweek (June 27, 1990): 28. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 116-18.

———. “Film on Film.” Film review of Big Flick in the Sky, dir. Kenneth M. Angliongto. National Midweek (June 27, 1990): 29.

David, Joel, with Melanie Joy C. Garduño. “The 10 Best Filipino Films.” Cover story, titled “The 10 Best Filipino Films Ever Made.” National Midweek (July 4, 1990): 3-9. Anthologized as “Ten Best Filipino Films Up to 1990” in Fields of Vision 125-36.

David, Joel. “Gloria in Excessus.” Film review of Glory, dir. Edward Zwick. National Midweek (July 4, 1990): 30.

———. “Frontline.” Film review of Born on the Fourth of July, dir. Oliver Stone. National Midweek (August 22, 1990): 30.

———. “Cool Film.” Film review of Hot Summer, dir. Mel Chionglo. National Midweek (September 5, 1990): 29. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 51-53.

———. “Mudslung.” Comparative film review of Ibabaon Kita sa Lupa, dir. Toto Natividad, and Ayaw Matulog ng Gabi, dir. Carlo J. Caparas. National Midweek (September 19, 1990): 31. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 87-89.

———. “Demachofication.” Film review of Kristobal, dir. Francis “Jun” Posadas. National Midweek (September 26, 1990): 30. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 77-80.

———. “Worth the While.” Listing of “memorable” ’80s film scenes. National Midweek (September 26, 1990): 30-32. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 119-24.

———. “World’s Longest Footnote.” “From the author’s forthcoming Anvil Publishing volume, Contemporary Philippine Cinema: Reviews and Criticism [sic – title should read The National Pastime: Contemporary Philippine Cinema].” National Midweek (October 3, 1990): 30. Anthologized as “World’s Longest Prequel” in The National Pastime 198-99.

———. “Film Critics Speak.” “Prepared by Mike Feria, Patrick Flores, and the author as State of Criticism statement of the Young Critics Circle.” National Midweek (October 3, 1990): 32. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 80-82. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 107-09.

———. “Woman-Worthy.” Comparative film review of Kasalanan Ba’ng Sambahin Ka?, dir. Chito Roño, and Hahamakin Lahat, dir. Lino Brocka. National Midweek (October 17, 1990): 28-30. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 74-77.

———. “Classroom as Theater.” Discussion of film education policy. National Midweek (October 17, 1990): 31-32. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 105-07.

———. “Nothing Much about Ado.” Film review of Pido Dida (Sabay Tayo), dir. Tony Cruz. National Midweek (October 24, 1990): 28. Anthologized in The Urian Anthology 1990-1999, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010) 136-37; and as “Family Affairs” in Fields of Vision 69-71.

———. “Updates.” Short discussions of the horror, sex, and action genres; melodrama; performers; formats; and media. National Midweek (October 24, 1990): 30. Anthologized in The National Pastime 65, 151, 97, 83, 163 resp.

———. “Movable Fists.” Comparative film review of Walang Awa Kung Pumatay, dir. Junn P. Cabreira, Iisa-Isahin Ko Kayo, Francis “Jun” Posadas, and Apoy sa Lupang Hinirang, dir. Mauro Gia Samonte. National Midweek (November 28, 1990): 30. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 89-92.

———. “Sedulously Cebuano.” Film review of Eh … Kasi … Bisaya!, dir. Junn P. Cabreira. National Midweek (November 28, 1990): p. unkn. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 97-99.

———. “Film Reviewing and Criticism I,” “Film Reviewing and Criticism II,” & “Film Reviewing and Criticism III.” National Midweek (December 5, 12, & 26 [resp.], 1990): 29, 30, & 29-30 resp. Anthologized as “Film Reviewing and Criticism” in The National Pastime 42-47.


David, Joel. “Sequacious and Second-Rate.” Comparative film review of Pido Dida 2 (Kasal Na), dir. Tony Cruz, and Anak ni Baby Ama, dir. Deo J. Fajardo Jr. National Midweek (submitted 1991): unpublished. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 71-74.

———. “Persistence of Vision.” Film review of Bakit Kay Tagal ng Sandali, dir. Chito Roño. National Midweek (submitted 1991): unpublished. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 47-51.

———. “No End in Sight.” Film review of Kung Tapos Na ang Kailanman, dir. Lino Brocka. National Midweek (submitted 1991): unpublished. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 62-65.

———. “Maryo J. and Mr. de los Reyes.” Comparative film review of My Other Woman and Underage Too, both dir. Maryo J. de los Reyes. National Midweek (submitted 1991): unpublished. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 44-47.

———. “Indigenous Ingenuity.” Film review of Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina?, dir. Gil Portes. National Midweek (submitted 1991): unpublished. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 56-62.

———. “Directors-Editors.” Comparative film review of Kaaway ng Batas, dir. Pepe Marcos, and Angel Molave, dir. Augusto Salvador. National Midweek (submitted 1991): unpublished. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 41-44.

———. “Horse Yearender.” 1990 in review. National Midweek (February 27, 1991): 30.

———. “Class Clamorers.” Comparative film review of Too Young and Shake, Rattle & Roll II, dir. Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes, and Biktima and Ama … Bakit Mo Ako Pinabayaan?, dir. Lino Brocka. National Midweek (February 13, 1991): 28-29. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 92-97.

———. “Great Philippine All-Time One-Shot Awards Ceremony.” National Midweek (February 20, 1991): 28-29. Anthologized as “All-Time One-Shot Awards Ceremony” in Fields of Vision 137-42.

———. “Three Careers.” Comparative film review of Umiyak Pati Langit, dir. Eduardo Palmos, Bago Matapos ang Lahat, dir. Joselito “Abbo” de la Cruz, and Ganito Ba ang Umibig?, dir. Laurice Guillen. National Midweek (March 27, 1991): 28-29. Anthologized in Fields of Vision 37-41.


David, Joel. “Adaptation Comes of Age.” Opera review of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohéme, dir. Rolando Tinio. Manila Standard (submitted 1992). Anthologized in Millennial Traversals, Part II: Expanded Perspectives 1-3. Posted online.

———. “Some Words on Film Awards.” Mediawatch. [N.d. 1992?]: [Pp. undetermined, 3 pp. + 2-p. sidebar titled “List of Film Awards for 1991 Productions].

———. “Black and Blue and Red.” Film review of Bayani, dir. Raymond Red. Manila Standard (July 1, 1992): 19.


David, Jose Hernani S. “Fictions in Flux: Documentary Dimensions of Philippine Cinema.” Paper read at the Documenting Fictions: Documentary Dimensions of the Fiction Film conference sponsored by the Centre Universitaire de Luxembourg American Studies Center, Clark European Center in Luxembourg, Fondation Promomedia, Bibliotheque Nationale, Cinematheque Municipale, and the American Embassy. Luxembourg City, 1993.

———. “Queer Representation in Philippine Cinema.” Paper read at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center sponsored by the Gay Asian & Pacific Islander Men of New York. New York, 1993.


David, Joel. Various entries for Philippine Film, vol. 8 of the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1994): “Aksyon” (with Lynn Pareja) 82-83; “Animation” (with Lynn Pareja) 83-84; “Horror” (with Lynn Pareja) 90; “Komedi” (with Lynn Pareja) 90-91; “Musical” (with Lynn Pareja & Nicanor G. Tiongson) 92-93; “Acting” (with Justino Dormiendo) 96-97; “Cinematography” (with Nick Cruz) 105-07; “Distribution” (with Rosalie Matilac) 112-14; “Production” (with Nick Cruz & Rosalie Matilac) 124-28; “Sound Recording” (with Nick Cruz) 134-36; and “Studies and Training” (with Lynn Pareja) 136-37.

David, Joel. Various entries for Philippine Literature, vol. 9 of the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1994): “Movie Times” 473; “Notes on Philippine Cinema” 475; “Readings in Philippine Cinema” 484-85; and “The Urian Anthology 1970-1979” 495.

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David, Joel. Fields of Vision: Critical Applications in Recent Philippine Cinema. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1995.

———. “The ‘New’ Cinema in Retrospect.” Fields of Vision 1-36. Anthologized in The Urian Anthology 1990-1999, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Manila: University of the Philippines Press, 2010) 58-83.


David, Joel. “A Question of Appositeness: Structuralism to Poststructuralism.” Wages of Cinema: Film in Philippine Perspective (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1998) 3-13.

———. “The Multiple-Character Film Format.” Wages of Cinema 14-25.

———. “Genre Pastiche in the Horror Film.” Wages of Cinema 26-37.

———. “Auteur Criticism: A Non-Recuperative Reappraisal.” Wages of Cinema 38-47. Originally read at the New York University Annual Student Conference (New York, 1994).

———. “A Cultural Policy Experience in Philippine Cinema.” Wages of Cinema 48-61. Originally read at the Socio-Politics of the Cinema of the Philippines panel at the Asian Cinema (Poetics & Politics) Annual Ohio University Film Conference (Athens, 1994).

———. “Viable Lessons From Another Third-World Model.” Wages of Cinema 65-79.

———. “Race as Discourse in Southeast Asia Film Ethnographies.” Wages of Cinema 80-91.

———. “Ideas in Philippine Film: A Critical Survey.” Wages of Cinema. 92-101. Originally read in altered form at the Pelikulang Pilipino: A Review of Contemporary Philippine Cinema forum at Columbia University, sponsored by Liga Filipina and Arkipelago (New York, 1994).

———. “Practice Makes Perfect: Alternative Philippine Cinema.” Wages of Cinema. 102-12. Originally read at the (In)Dependent Film Practice in a Third-World Setting panel of the Society for Cinema Studies Annual Conference (Syracuse, 1994).

———. “A History of the History of a History-To-Be.” Wages of Cinema. 113-28. Originally read at the PeregriNations: The Philippines as a Nation in Cinema panel of the Society for Cinema Studies Annual Conference (New York, 1995).

———. “Gender as Masquerade in the Vietnam-War Film.” Wages of Cinema 131-45. Originally read at the New York University Annual Student Conference (New York, 1995).

———. “Film in the Light of the ‘History’ of Sexuality.” Wages of Cinema 146-56.

———. “Pornography and Erotica: Boundaries in Dissolution.” Wages of Cinema 157-68.

———. “Womanliness as (Masculine) Masquerade in Psychoanalytic Film-Texts.” Wages of Cinema 169-79.

———. “Postcolonial Conundrum: Third-World Film in Perverse Perspective.” Wages of Cinema. 180-200. Originally read at the New York University Annual Student Conference (New York, 1996).

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David, Joel. Wages of Cinema: Film in Philippine Perspective. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1998.


David, Joel. “Philippine Film History as a Site of Postcolonial Discourse.” Geopolitics of the Visible: Essays on Philippine Film Cultures, ed. Rolando B. Tolentino (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2000) 3-12.


David, Joel. Reviews and essays. The Urian Anthology 1980-1989, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Quezon City: Tuviera, 2001). Originally published in various print outlets.


David, Jose Hernani Segovia. Primates in Paradise: The Multiple-Character Format in Philippine Film Practice (New York University, 2002 and Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 2002). UMI 3048810.

David, Joel. “Ten Best Films of All Time” contribution. Sight & Sound, British Film Institute magazine (September 2002): 29. Posted online.


David, Joel. “A Certain Tendency: Europeanization as a Response to Americanization and Other Issues in the ‘Golden-Age’ Studio System.” Paper read at the Sangandaan: Arts and Media in Philippine-American Relations, 1899-2002 conference sponsored by the University of the Philippines and the Filipino American National Historical Society (Quezon City, 2003).

———. “Chosen Few: Minimal Multi-Character Patterns in Recent Filipino Films.” Paper read at the Freeze-Frame: New Issues in Philippine Cinema conference sponsored by the University of the Philippines Visayas Cebu College (Cebu City, 2003).


David, Joel. “Sabel: Heaven in Mind.” Film review of Sabel, dir. Joel C. Lamangan. Philippine Star (July 11, 2004): E6. Posted online. Also posted online at Regalfilms.com. Rpt. as “They Don’t Make Films Like Sabel Anymore,” Philippine Daily Inquirer (July 13, 2004): A23.

———. “They Don’t Make Films Like Sabel Anymore.” Film review of Sabel, dir. Joel C. Lamangan. Philippine Daily Inquirer (July 13, 2004): A23. Also posted online at Inq7.net. Originally published as “Sabel: Heaven in Mind,” Philippine Star (July 11, 2004): E6.

———. “Literalized Communities: The Pinoy Milieu Movie’s Aesthetic and Social Dimensions.” Ramon Cojuangco Professorial Chair lecture read at the UP College of Mass Communication Faculty Colloquia (Quezon City, 2004).

———. “Multiple Choices, Multiple Voices: Critical Possibilities of the Milieu Movie.” Paper read at the 40th Communication Colloquium, Institute for Communication Arts & Technology, Hallym University (Chuncheon, Korea, 2004).

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David, Joel. “Cutthroat Archipelago: Video Piracy in and around the Philippines.” Culture Industry and Cultural Capital: Transnational Media Consumption and the Korean New Wave in East Asia: Conference Proceedings, ed. Kim Shin-dong. Paper read at the Culture Industry and Cultural Capital: Transnational Media Consumption and the Korean New Wave in East Asia conference sponsored by the Institute for Communication Arts & Technology, Hallym University (Seoul, Korea, 2005).

———. “Introduction.” Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives: A Folio by the Feature Writing Class, Fall Semester 2004-2005, School of Communication, Hallym University (Chuncheon: Hallym University, 2005) 3.

———. “Growing Old in New York (or Small World, Big Apple).” Personal essay. The Hallym Post 21 (May 2, 2005): 4.

———. “A Yearning for Tenderness: A Scenario for Korean Cinema.” Paper for “Waves from Korea and Japan in a Cross-Cultural Context” panel at the National, Transnational, and International: Asian Cinema in the Context of Globalization – Centennial Celebration of Chinese Cinema conference sponsored by the Shanghai University School of Film and TV Arts and Technology, Beijing University Department of Arts Studies, and (US) Asian Cinema Studies Society (Shanghai and Beijing, China, 2005).


David, Joel. “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: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 12.4 (2006): 614-17.

———. “Indochine and the Dynamics of Gender.” Proceedings of the Whither the Orient: Asians in Asian and Non-Asian Cinema Conference, Kimdaejung Convention Center, Gwangju, Korea, 28-29 October 2006, ed. Joel David (Seoul: Asia Culture Forum, 2006) 248-72.

———. “Indochine and the Politics of Gender.” Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 12.4 (Winter 2006): 61-93.

———. “Condemned Property: Film Piracy in the Philippines.” Paper read at The Film Scene: Cinema, the Arts, and Social Change conference sponsored by the Film Culture Project of the Department of Comparative Literature, Department of Music, and the Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, 2006).


데이비드, 조엘. “필리핀의 냉전 영화정책” and “Cold-War Film Policy in the Philippines.” 동아시아 냉전문화의 역학: 1960~70년대 냉전기 동아시아 지역의 문화변동과 국민국가의 문화정치학 세미나, 성공회대학교 동아시아연구소, translator unknown (Seoul: Institute for East Asian Studies, SungKongHoe University, 2007) 74-86 and 186-99 resp. Paper read at the Dynamics of Cold War Culture in East Asia: Cultural Changes in the Region during the Cold War in the 1960s-70s and Cultural Politics of the Nation-State conference sponsored by the Institute for East Asian Studies, Sungkonghoe University (Seoul, 2007).


David, Joel. “Awake in the Dark: Philippine Film During the Marcos Era.” Philippine Studies: Have We Gone Beyond St. Louis? ed. Priscelina Patajo Legasto (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2008) 227-43.

———. “The Cold-War and Marcos-Era Cinema in the Philippines.” Paper read at the 8th ASEAN Inter-University Conference on Social Development (Manila, 2008).

———. “Understanding Film.” Paper read at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication Faculty Colloquium (Quezon City, 2008).

———. “The Philippine Culture Industry (with Emphasis on Cinema).” Paper read at the Institute of Asian Studies Colloquium. SungKongHoe University (Seoul, 2008).


David, Joel. “Translating Time: Cinema, the Fantastic, and Temporal Critique [by] Bliss Cua Lim, Durham: Duke University Press, 2009, 246+xiv pages.” Book review. Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 15.4 (Winter 2009): 124-32.

———. “Retrospective: Serbis Review.” Film review of Serbis, dir. Brillante Ma. Mendoza. Philippine Entertainment Portal (May 31, 2009). Posted online.

———. “A New Role for Korea in Asia.” Korea Times (June 2, 2009): 15. Posted online.

———. “Kim Dae-jung & the Aquinos.” Korea Times (August 24, 2009): 4. Posted online.

———. “Boses Is for the World.” Film review of Boses, dir. Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil. Philippine Daily Inquirer (October 16, 2009): F2. Posted online.

———. “Clueless Global Hybrid, Now Showing.” Film review of I Come with the Rain, dir. Tran Anh Hung. Pinoy Voices column. JungAng Daily (November 9, 2009): 11. Posted online.

———. “Heartbreak in Mindanao.” Pinoy Voices column. JungAng Daily (December 14, 2009): 11. Posted online.

———. [“Film-Writing.”] Excerpt of book review. Si Tatang at mga Himala ng Ating Panahon: Koleksyon ng mga Akda by Ricky Lee. (Quezon City: Writers Studio Foundation, 2009) 11. Originally in National Midweek (February 8, 1989): 27-28.

———. “Context: An Introduction.” Hulmahan/Huwaran Atbp.: The Film Writings of Johven Velasco, ed. Joel David (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2009) ix-xiv.

데이비드, 조엘. “냉전시기필리핀의영화정책.” 냉전 아시아의 문화풍경 2: 1960~1970년대, trans. 김수현 (Seoul: Institute for East Asian Studies, SungKongHoe University, 2009) 277-96.

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David, Joel. “A Few Insights into our Asian Casanovas.” Pinoy Voices column. JungAng Daily (January 25, 2010): 11. Posted online.

———. “The Sins of the Fathers.” Viewpoints (formerly Pinoy Voices) column. JungAng Daily (April 12, 2010): 11. Posted online.

———. “2 Guys Watching Avatar.” Viewpoints (formerly Pinoy Voices) column. JungAng Daily (March 8, 2010): unpublished. Anthologized in Millennial Traversals, Part I: Traversals within Cinema 154-57. Posted online.

———. “Sighs and Whispers.” Film review of Biyaheng Lupa, dir. Armando Lao. Philippine Star (May 2, 2010): E2. Posted online.

David, Joel, and Ha Ju-Yong. “A Yearning for Tenderness in Korean Cinema.” Global Makeover: Media and Culture in Asia, ed. Danilo Araña Arao (Quezon City and Seoul: Development Center for Asia Africa Pacific and Asian Media and Culture Forum, 2010) 35-54.

David, Joel. “Orientalism and Classical Film Practice.” Global Makeover: Media and Culture in Asia, ed. Danilo Araña Arao (Quezon City and Seoul: Development Center for Asia Africa Pacific and Asian Media and Culture Forum, 2010) 139-54.

———. “Las edades de oro del cine Filipino: Una reevaluación crítica.” Cinema Filipinas: Historia, teoría y crítica fílmica (1999-2009), ed. Juan Guardiola ([Andalucía]: Juna de Andalucía, Consejería de Cultura Fundación El Legado Andalusí, [2010]) 37-48.

———. “The Golden Ages of Philippine Cinema: A Critical Reassessment.” Cinema Filipinas 217-24.


David, Joel. “Primates in Paradise: Critical Possibilities of the Milieu Movie.” Kritika Kultura 17 (August 2011): 70-104. Posted online.

———. “Punch Tackles Fil-Korean’s Search for Mother.” Film review of Wandeugi, dir. Lee Han. ABS-CBNnews.com (November 28, 2011). Posted online. Rpt. in Chinese News of Las Vegas (November 28, 2011); Filipinos Abroad (November 27, 2011); H3 blog (November 28, 2011); MabuhayCity.com (November 28, 2011); Philippine Times of Southern Nevada (November 28, 2011); Saigon News of Las Vegas (November 28 2011); US News Las Vegas (November 28, 2011); US News Los Angeles (November 28, 2011) – all posted online.


David, Joel. “The Dolphy Conundrum.” The FilAm (July 16, 2012). Posted online. Rpt. as “Kwentong Kapuso: The Dolphy ‘Riddle,’” GMA News Online (July 17, 2012), also posted online.

———. “Introduction.” Guest Editor’s introduction to Forum Kritika: A Closer Look at Manila by Night. Kritika Kultura 19 (August 2012): 6-13. Posted online.

———. “Film Plastics in Manila by Night.” Kritika Kultura 19 (August 2012): 36-69. Posted online.

———, transcription and notes. “Ishmael Bernal’s Manila by Night.” Screenplay, with transcription by Alfred A. Yuson. Kritika Kultura 19 (August 2012): 172-272. Posted online.

———. “The Marcos Dictatorship and the Irreparable Damage to a Family and the Filipino Experience.” Review of Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years, by Susan F. Quimpo & Nathan Gilbert Quimpo. Originally titled “Disorder & Constant Sorrow (A Review of Subversive Lives).” The FilAm (September 18, 2012). Posted online. Rpt. as “The Marcos Regime and Its Impact on the Pinoy Family,” GMA News Online (September 18, 2012), also posted online.

———. “Marilou Diaz-Abaya, 57: Rule Breaker, Risk Taker.” Obituary. Originally titled “The Carnal Moral of a Brutal Miracle.” The FilAm (October 12, 2012). Posted online. Rpt. as “Acclaimed Filmmaker Marilou Diaz-Abaya Was a Rule Breaker,” GMA News Online (October 12, 2012), also posted online.

———. “High Drama and Low Humor in Ricky Lee’s New Fiction about a Cross-Dressing Manananggal.” Review of Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata, by Ricky Lee. Originally titled “The Novel Pinoy Novel.” The FilAm (November 8, 2012). Posted online. Rpt. as “What Republicans Could Have Learned from Ricky Lee’s Amapola,” GMA News Online (November 9, 2012), also posted online.

———. “Thinking Straight: Queer Imaging in Lino Brocka’s Maynila (1975).” Plaridel 9.2 (August 2012): 21-40.

———. “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. Posted online.


David, Joel. “A Benediction We Deserve.” The FilAm (February 13, 2013). Posted online.

———. “High Five for Ninotchka Rosca’s Sanaysay Anthology.” Originally titled “High Five.” Review of Gang of 5: Tales, Cuentos, Sanaysay ([Los Angeles]: Mariposa Center [for Change], 2012). The FilAm (February 21, 2013). Posted online.

———. “Across the Korean Peninsula, Unease in the Morning Calm.” The FilAm (April 18, 2013). Posted online. Rpt. as “Kwentong Kapuso: Unease in the ‘Land of the Morning Calm,’” GMA News Online (April 19, 2013), also posted online.

———. “Tribute to Bangy Dioquino.” Amauteurish! (Delivered May 2013). Posted online on October 5, 2017.

———. “OFWs in Foreign Cinema: An Introduction.” Guest Editor’s introduction to Monograph Section. Kritika Kultura 21/22 (August 2013): 557-59. Posted online.

———. “Phantom in Paradise: A Philippine Presence in Hollywood Cinema.” Kritika Kultura 21/22 (August 2013): 560-83. Posted online.

———. “Pinoy Film Criticism: A Lover’s Polemic.” The Manila Review 3 (August 2013): 6-8 [n.b.: print edition is erroneously indicated as issue “1”]. Posted online.

———. “On the Job: On the Edge.” Originally titled “On the Edge.” Review of On the Job, dir. Erik Matti. The FilAm (September 12, 2013). Posted online.

———. “The OFW Finds Well-Deserved Recognition in Hollywood (Part 1).” Originally titled “A Desire Named Oscar,” first part. Including review of Ilo Ilo, dir. Anthony Chen. The FilAm (December 4, 2013). Posted online.

———. “Metro Manila and Transit: Ambitious, Impressive (Part 2).” Originally titled “A Desire Named Oscar,” second part. Reviews of Metro Manila, dir. Sean Ellis; and Transit, dir. Hannah Espia. The FilAm (December 4, 2013). Posted online.


David, Joel. The National Pastime: Contemporary Philippine Cinema. Digital edition. Amauteurish, 2014.

———. Fields of Vision: Critical Applications in Recent Philippine Cinema. Digital edition. Amauteurish, 2014.

———. Wages of Cinema: Film in Philippine Perspective. Digital edition. Amauteurish, 2014.

———. “Pinoy Filmfests circa 2013.” The Manila Review 4 (February 2014): 29-32. Posted online.

———. “Phantom Limbs in the Body Politic: Filipinos in Foreign Cinema.” Plaridel 11.1 (February 2014): 35-60.

———. “Norte, a Four-Hour Ideological Tearjerker by Lav Diaz.” Originally titled “Beyond Borders.” Review of Norte, dir. Lav Diaz. The FilAm (March 12, 2014). Posted online.

———. “Sight & Sound ’02.” Inside account of the process of my submission to the decadal poll. Amauteurish! (May 30, 2014). Posted online.

———. “A National Artist We Deserve.” The FilAm (June 21, 2014). Posted online.

———. “Nora Aunor: A National Artist We Deserve.” Rappler (June 23, 2014). Posted online.

David, Joel, and Ha Ju-Yong. “A Revaluation of the Use of Trauma as an Approach to Understanding Contemporary Korean Cinema.” Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia 50.1 (2014): 16-50.

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David, Joel. Millennial Traversals: Outliers, Juvenilia, & Quondam Popcult Blabbery. Original digital edition. Amauteurish, 2015.

———. Millennial Traversals: Outliers, Juvenilia, & Quondam Popcult Blabbery. Part I: Traversals within Cinema – special issue of UNITAS: Semi-Annual Peer-Reviewed International Journal of Advanced Research in Literature, Culture, and Society (May 2015). Posted online.

———. “On Nora Aunor and the Philippine Star System: An Introduction.” Guest Editor’s introduction. Kritika Kultura 25 (August 2015): 46-48. Posted online.

———. “Firmament Occupation: The Philippine Star System.” Kritika Kultura 25 (August 2015): 248-84. Posted online.

———. “Historical Film Depicts Antonio Luna’s Fall and Rise.” Originally titled “Antonio Luna’s Fall and Rise.” Review of Heneral Luna, dir. Jerrold Tarog. The FilAm (October 15, 2015). Posted online.

———. “Alien Abjection amid the Morning Calm: A Singular Reading of Horror Films from beyond Southeast Asia.” Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media, and Society 12.2 (August 2015): 201-23. Posted online.

———. “Intrigues, Maneuvers, Interventions: Screen Images of the Korean War and its Aftermath.” Keynote lecture. 4PKSS: Proceedings of the 4th Philippine Korean Studies Symposium (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Department of Linguistics, 2015): 25-49.


David, Joel. Book Texts: A Pinoy Film Course, original digital edition (Amauteurish, 2016).

———. “Manay Revisits Manila by Night.” Interview with Bernardo Bernardo. Amauteurish! (January 26, 2016). Formerly posted online, now an Appendix in Manila by Night: A Queer Film Classic.

———. “Roads Less Traveled.” Review of Lakbay2Love, dir. Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil. Rappler (February 10, 2016). Posted online.

———. “Annual Filipino Film Production Chart.” Amauteurish! (February 25, 2016). Posted online.

———. Millennial Traversals: Outliers, Juvenilia, & Quondam Popcult Blabbery. Part II: Expanded Perspectives – special issue of UNITAS: Semi-Annual Peer-Reviewed International Journal of Advanced Research in Literature, Culture, and Society (May 2016). Posted online.

———. “How Pop Culture, Social Media Played a Role in Halalan 2016.” Commentary on the 2016 Philippine presidential election campaign. The FilAm (May 15, 2016). Posted online.

———. “Doy del Mundo on a Controversy over Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag.” Interview with Clodualdo del Mundo Jr. Amauteurish! (July 2, 2016). Posted online.

———. “In Ma’ Rosa, Cannes Best Actress Jaclyn Jose Plays a Meth Dealer with Eloquence, Warmth.” Originally titled “Ice with a Face.” Review of Ma’ Rosa, dir. Brillante Ma. Mendoza. The FilAm (July 14, 2016). Posted online.

———. “Searched For, But Not Missing.” Review of Ang Nawawala, dir. Marie Jamora. Amauteurish! (September 1, 2016). Posted online.

———. “Fallout over ‘A Lover’s Polemic’.” Amauteurish! (September 19, 2016). Posted online.

———. “Cold Word Wars: Philippine Film as a Critical Activity.” 2016 FACINE Gawad Lingap Sining Lecture, delivered October 18, 2016 at the Diego Rivera Theater, City College of San Francisco. Amauteurish! (October 19, 2016). Posted online.

———. “The Role of the Film Critic in Cultural Discourse.” Abridged version of “Cold Word Wars: Philippine Film as a Critical Activity.” 2016 FACINE Gawad Lingap Sining Lecture. The FilAm (October 23, 2016). Posted online.

———. “Grains and Flickers.” Remembering/Rethinking EDSA, eds. JPaul S. Manzanilla and Carolyn Hau (Mandaluyong City: Anvil, 2016): 172-87.


David, Joel. Manila by Night: A Queer Film Classic. Queer Film Classics series, eds. Thomas Waugh & Matthew Hayes. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017.

David, Joel. Various entries for Film, vol. 6 of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Manila: CCP & the Office of the Chancellor, University of the Philippines Diliman, 2017): “Aksyon” (with Lynn Pareja, updated by Mesandel Arguelles), 112-13; “Animation” (with Lynn Pareja, updated by Michael Kho Lim), 114-17; “Horror” (with Lynn Pareja, updated by Erika Carreon), 134-35; “Komedi” (with Lynn Pareja, updated by Mesandel Arguelles), 136-38; “Musical” (with Lynn Pareja & Nicanor G. Tiongson, updated by Johann Vladimir J. Espiritu), 139-40; “Acting in Film” (with Justino Dormiendo, updated by Johann Vladimir J. Espiritu), 146-47; “Cinematography” (with Nick Cruz, updated by Elvin Valerio and Clodualdo del Mundo Jr.), 161-64; “Distribution in Film” (with Rosalie Matilac, updated by Albert Almendralejo), 179-82; “Producing for Film” (with Nick Cruz & Rosalie Matilac, updated by Jose Javier Reyes, 196-99; “Sound Recording in Film” (with Nick Cruz, updated by Rica Arevalo), 210-11; and “Training and Education for Film” (with Lynn Pareja, updated by Johann Vladimir J. Espiritu), 213-14.

David, Joel. “Velasco, Johven.” Theater, vol. 9 of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Manila: CCP & the Office of the Chancellor, University of the Philippines Diliman, 2017) 796.

———. “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 (January 2017): 112-15. Posted online.

———. “Vampariah as Subversive Aswang Film.” Originally titled “Peerless Vampire Killers.” Review of Vampariah, dir. Matthew Abaya. The FilAm (January 12, 2017). Posted online.

———. “Remembering the Forgotten War: Origins of the Korean War Film and Its Development during Hallyu.” Kritika Kultura 28 (February 2017): 112-46. Posted online.

호세 에르나니 S. 다비드. “녹슨 팔과 가려운 손가락; 두테르테 대통령의 마약과의 전쟁에 대한 문화적 시각.” 5회 국가폭력과 트라우마 국제회의. Trans. n.a. (Gwangju: Trauma Center, 2017) 103-12.

David, Joel. “Rusty Arms and Itchy Fingers: A Cultural Perspective on President Duterte’s War on Drugs.” The 5th International Conference on State Violence and Trauma. [As “Jose Hernani S. David”] (Gwangju: Trauma Center, 2017) 113-27.

———. “Seeds in the Garden of Letters: A Review of The End of National Cinema by Patrick F. Campos.” Humanities Diliman: A Philippine Journal of Humanities 14.2 (July-December 2017) 153-57. Posted online.

———. “Film May Be Dead, But Film Culture Is Alive and Well.” Review of Respeto, dir. Treb Monteras II. The FilAm (August 18, 2017). Posted online.

———. “Muzzled Bombardments: The Philippine Film Canon and Its Discontents.” Roundtable on the Filipino Film Canon. Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media, and Society 14.2 (November 2017): 221-31. Posted online.

———. “A Certain Tendency: Europeanization as a Response to Americanization in the Philippines’s ‘Golden Age’ Studio System.” UNITAS: Semi-Annual Peer-Reviewed International Journal of Advanced Research in Literature, Culture, and Society 90.2 (November 2017): 24-53. Posted online.


David, Joel. “The Storyline of Ishmael Bernal’s Manila by Night (1980).” Originally drafted for Arsenal Pulp Press’s Manila by Night: A Queer Film Classic. Amauteurish! (February 9, 2018). Posted online.

———. “Parallel Growths.” Kolum Kritika on the 30th Anniversary. Kritika Kultura 30/31 (February-August 2018): 90-91. Posted online.

———. “Farewell Farewell, Bernardo Bernardo” “Toward the End, a Hopeful Outlook for the Philippines.” The FilAm (March 21, 2018). Posted online.

———. “Statement on the Availability of Filipino Films during the Internet Era.” Amauteurish! (April 15, 2018). Posted online.

———. “The Transnational Pastime: An Interview with Joel David.” Interviewed by Paul Douglas Grant. Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media, and Society 14.1 (June 2017): 135-45. Posted online.

———. “Amid the Nightmare of War, a Coming-of-Age.” Review of Balangiga: Howling Wilderness, dir. Khavn. The FilAm (July 16, 2018). Posted online.

———. “Queerness as Defiance in Manila by Night.” Lecture delivered during the launch of Angela Stuart-Santiago’s Pro Bernal, Anti Bio. Amauteurish! (August 7, 2018). Posted online.

———. “The Millennial Traversals of Millennial Traversals.” Lecture delivered during the launch of the University of Santo Tomas’s UNITAS website. Amauteurish! (August 16, 2018). Posted online.

———. “Signal Rock and a Hard Place.” Review of Signal Rock, dir. Chito Roño. Philippine Entertainment Portal (August 17, 2018). Posted online.

———. “Tears Go By.” Review of Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha, dir. Mes de Guzman. All Things Sharon (October 18, 2018). Posted online.


David, Joel. Millennial Traversals: Outliers, Juvenilia, & Quondam Popcult Blabbery. Book Edition (single-volume, back-to-back). Quezon City: Ámauteurish Publishing, 2019.

———. “Theater, Film, & Everything in Between.” Introduction. Two Women as Specters of History: Lakambini & Indigo Child by Rody Vera. Ed. Ellen Ongkeko Marfil (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2019): xiii-xxii.

———. “A Salute to Our Pinay Filmmakers.” Amauteurish! (March 26, 2019). Originally posted March 25, 2019, on Facebook.

———. “Manoy Takes His Leave.” Tribute to the late Eddie Garcia. The FilAm (July 23, 2019). Posted online.

———. “Di/Visibility: Marks of Bisexuality in Philippine Cinema.” Survey article. Journal of Bisexuality 19.3 (September 2019): 440-54. Posted online.

———. “The Barrettos and the Privilege of Behaving Badly.” On the latest saga in the long-running showbiz family scandal. The FilAm (October 28, 2019). Posted online.

———. “Showbiz Babylon: A Tribute-of-Sorts to the Barretto Sisters.” Expanded version of “The Barrettos and the Privilege of Behaving Badly,” published October 28, 2019, in The FilAm. Amauteurish! (October 29, 2019). Posted online.

———. “Comprehensive Pinas Film Biblio: Categorized.” Amauteurish! (December 4, 2019). Posted online.

———. “Comprehensive Pinas Film Biblio: Alphabetized.” Amauteurish! (December 4, 2019). Posted online.


David, Joel, and Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon. SINÉ: The YES! List of 100 Films That Celebrate Philippine Cinema (Mandaluyong: Summit Media, 2020 forthcoming).

David, Joel. “Bringing Theater to the Home.” The PETA Milestone Book Project. Eds. Brenda Fajardo, CB Garrucho, Maribel Legarda, & Beng Cabangon (Quezon City: Philippine Educational Theater Association, 2020 forthcoming).

———. “Authoring Auteurs: A Bibliographical Essay.” In relation to the Comprehensive Pinas Film Biblio posted on December 4, 2019. Amauteurish! (January 18, 2020). Posted online.

———. “The Aunor Effect in Philippine Film Book Publications.” A spinoff of the bibliographical essay “Authoring Auteurs,” posted on January 18, 2020. Amauteurish! (January 28, 2020). Posted online.

David, Joel, and Joyce L. Arriola. “Film Criticism in the Philippines: Introduction to a Symposium.” UNITAS: Semi-Annual Peer-Reviewed International Journal of Advanced Research in Literature, Culture, and Society 93.1 (May 2020): 1-16. Posted online.

David, Joel. “Auteurs & Amateurs: Toward an Ethics of Film Criticism.” UNITAS: Semi-Annual Peer-Reviewed International Journal of Advanced Research in Literature, Culture, and Society 93.1 (May 2020): 17-36. Posted online.

———. “My Peque Gallaga Interview.” Commemoration of the recently departed filmmaker. Amauteurish! (May 9, 2020). Posted online.

———. “Peque’s Rage: A Retelling.” Abridgment of “My Peque Gallaga Interview,” printed in Amauteurish! on May 9, 2020. The FilAm (May 12, 2020). Posted online.

———. “Remembering Anita Linda: She Devoted Her Life So Completely to Her Craft that It Defined Her.” Tribute to the late film actress. ABS-CBN News Channel [ANCX, formerly ABS-CBNnews.com] (June 13, 2020). Posted online.

———. “Comprehensive Pinas Film Biblio: Reverse-Chronologized.” Amauteurish! (June 22, 2020). Posted online.

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Showbiz Babylon: A Tribute-of-Sorts to the Barretto Sisters

Pique and pulchritude: Claudine, Gretchen, and Marjorie (left to right), the protagonists of the Barretto family scandal, 2019 edition. (Instagram collage courtesy of ABS-CBNNews.com.) To jump to later sections, click here for: New Blood; Trophy BFs; Weaker Sex; and Notes.

“La dénonciation du scandale
est toujours un hommage rendu à la loi.”
– J. Baudrillard[1]

Since celebrity scandals observe the same cycle of fostering fatigue among the public after a period of intense engagement, don’t be surprised if the latest Barretto family intrigue has mellowed, if not dissipated, by the time you read this. Before the first member of the family emerged on the national stage, “Barretto” used to be better known as the location of a coastal drive along Subic Bay, where girlie bars featuring women from all over the country catered to American GIs willing to spend their precious dollars for rest and recreation (even if they wound up getting neither).

11011This made the Barretto clan locally prominent citizens in so far as any red-light area could bestow respectability. (It might help to remember that the illustrious residents of Malate also reside adjacent to another former red-light district, Ermita.) Hence Gretchen Barretto, or her handlers, did not feel the need to use another family name when she was launched as part of the second batch of mixed-gender Regal Babies. Unfortunately, the rival Viva Films studio had just launched its monstrously successful all-male Bagets batch, and Rey de la Cruz had an all-female troupe, the Softdrink Beauties, claiming whatever (frankly prurient) interest could be generated in good-looking women.

11011So the Regal Babies II were destined for certain oblivion, with a bravely determined Gretchen languishing in supporting roles.[2] She was barely noticeable in Lino Brocka’s Miguelito: Batang Rebelde (1985), for example, banking on her classy features but limited by her narrow range as a performer. By the 1990s, she had shed enough of her premature flab and gained enough height to look alluring enough for male-gaze purposes. Robbie Tan, founder-manager of Seiko Films, profitably deduced that the public had tired of sex sirens who looked and behaved like they came from the wrong side of the tracks. He devised a series of projects that objectified seemingly unattainable porcelain beauties led by Gretchen, turned his outfit into a major player in the process, and made the first Barretto star (Figure 1).[3]

Figure 1. Gretchen Barretto in one of Seiko Films’ early “sex-trip” hits, Abbo Q. de la Cruz’s Tukso: Layuan Mo Ako (1991).

New Blood

Another Barretto quietly took Gretchen’s place as constant second-stringer: Claudine, her younger sister. Unlike her predecessor, Claudine handled her years of relative obscurity as an opportunity to hone her performative skills. Her walk in the sun had a healthier component to it, by conventional moralist standards: she came of age when romantic comedies succeeded in displacing all the other then-profitable local film genres – horror, action, comedy, even her elder sister’s soft-core melodramas – and managed to prove her mettle alongside the peak capability of Vilma Santos, in Rory B. Quintos’s Anak (2000).

11011An accident of fate though propelled Claudine to a stature never attained by Gretchen. It was, unfortunately, a tragedy, the first indication that the Barrettos could only really soar on the wings of bad news. Just as Gretchen became a star by shedding her clothes, Claudine captured the public imagination when she broke up with her buena-familia boyfriend Rico Yan, grandson of a former army chief and ambassador during the presidency of Ferdinand E. Marcos. The heartbroken beau repaired to a Palawan resort, where he failed to awaken on an Easter Sunday, of all days, after a night of heavy drinking (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Claudine Barretto’s Instagram memento of the last note sent her by Rico Yan, posted after the latter died.

11011The public response was hysterical, with Yan’s wake and funeral march overshadowing those of two National Artists for Music, Lucio San Pedro and Levi Celerio. A reporter from the rival of Yan’s home station happened to be at the resort and scooped its competitor, which in turn avenged itself by preventing all other TV stations from occupying vantage points during Yan’s wake. Best of all, for Claudine’s fortune, her co-starrer with Yan, Olivia M. Lamasan’s Got 2 Believe (2002), had just opened in theaters, with Yan’s death catapulting it to record-blockbuster status.

Trophy BFs

This made of Claudine an even bigger star than her Ate Gretchen, and acrimonious vibes from the sisters’ perceived rivalry began getting airtime, with then-incipient social media paying due interest. Gretchen became the constant partner of businessman and media mogul-aspirant Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, while Claudine linked up with and eventually married another alumnus of De La Salle University, Raymart Santiago (of the well-known brood fathered by producer-director Pablo Santiago, preceded in showbiz by his elder brothers Rowell and Randy). Their mother Inday declared her preference for Claudine – a position eroded by her daughter’s on-cam pummeling of one of the roughneck Tulfo brothers (Figure 3) and her later separation from her husband amid speculation of excessive drug use, with Gretchen openly declaring her sympathy for Raymart.

Figure 3. Screen cap of mobile phone video taken by onlooker of Claudine Barretto and Raymart Santiago beating up Mon Tulfo for allegedly recording a quarrel they had with airport personnel.

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11011Which brings us to the latest teapot tempest. The situation could not be more high-profile, with the country’s chief executive, a family friend, attending the wake of the just-deceased Barretto patriarch. Gretchen and Claudine had patched up their differences, and Gretchen attended ostensibly to reconcile with her mother. A third Barretto showbiz aspirant, Marjorie, who never attained the same level of stardom as her younger sisters, refused President Duterte’s admonition to greet Gretchen, alleging that her niece, Nicole, was traumatized by Gretchen spiriting away a lover, businessman Atong Ang.

11011In a sensational tell-all TV interview, a remarkably articulate and sensible-sounding Marjorie acknowledged that after the collapse of her own marriage to Dennis Padilla (actually Dencio Padilla Jr., son of a late well-loved comedian), she bore a love-child to Recom Echiverri, a former mayor of Caloocan City; this was by way of her pointing out that Ang was also very much married, and that Gretchen was thereby being unfaithful to Cojuangco, who similarly was hitched to someone else.

11011Predictably, Gretchen denied any physical relationship between her and Ang (Figure 4), a sufficiently credible assertion when we consider how she never balked at admitting any of her past indiscretions. The clarifications and counter-accusations will continue for some time, until the family arrives at a level of accommodation acceptable to the major players in the current fracas.

11011What conclusions can we draw from the situation? One is that the Barretto sisters are smart and determined enough in stretching their media mileage, notwithstanding the occasional evidentiary recordings of such social slip-ups as Claudine’s fistfight with Mon Tulfo or the screams and hair-pulling (with the Presidential Security Group atypically befuddled) that erupted during Miguel Alvir Barretto’s wake.

11011Marjorie’s subsequent TV interview effectively effaced an earlier scandal caused when her daughter, Julia, admitted boinking hunky star Gerald Anderson, who was supposedly committed to another star, Bea Alonzo.[4] Julia claimed that she had broken up with male starlet Joshua Garcia (just as Anderson’s relationship with Alonzo had supposedly ended), but also subsequently wound up denying that she was the mistress of another elderly entrepreneur, Ramon Ang.

Figure 4. One of Gretchen Barretto’s series of socnet posts mocking the charges made by her elder sister Marjorie and referencing Recom Echiverri.

Weaker Sex

Another conclusion we can make is that males involved in any capacity in this dustup will be better off keeping quiet. Atong Ang appeared in one of those obviously staged “ambush interviews” coddling his legal family while declaring he had never diddled any of the Barrettos. Assuming he was truth-telling, he was also effectively saying (awkwardly, at that) that some of his Barretto friends were lying. The family patriarch, in contrast, was ironically better off reposing in a coffin: even with Gretchen recapitulating her accusation that he had molested her, no one will want to continue speaking ill of the dead.

11011As pointed out by the late film scholar Johven Velasco in his book article on Rico Yan,[5] a number of influential talk-show personalities were penalized by their TV stations, after they revealed that the deceased young star, upon learning that Claudine had allegedly been unfaithful to him, had obtained Ecstasy tablets to counter his depression.

11011An even more significant conclusion that Velasco makes, echoed by social experts looking at the current familial flameout, is that the scandal’s staying power derives from what it says about us, more than about the family itself. It’s women claiming for themselves what moral authorities used to say only men were entitled to: the privilege of behaving badly (“war of the courtesans,” to use a semi-complimentary description by expat artist Therese Cruz). The scope even has the trigenerational impact of classical Greek tragedy, a curse being passed on from parents to children to their children’s children.

11011A fast-declining generation might remember when a similar phenomenon used to command the attention of the media and public, not just in the Philippines but also overseas: the Marcos family saga, from the patriarch’s womanizing and his wife’s philistinic overcompensation, through their rebellious daughter’s romance with an oppositionist scion (including a kidnapping and fall-guy killing that foreshadowed the murder of Benigno Aquino Jr.), to their exile and triumphant return to a country that seemingly, masochistically, has not had enough of their excesses. Thankfully, the worst that the Barrettos can visit on themselves and their public will never be as malevolent as their higher-profile media predecessors had been.


First published October 28, 2019, as “The Barrettos and the Privilege of Behaving Badly,” in The FilAm. An abridged version of this article, titled “Barretto Sisters: The Privilege of Behaving Badly,” was reprinted in the December 2019 issue of The FilAm: Newsmagazine Serving Filipino Americans in New York. (Click on pic below of newsmag version to open PDF file.)

[1] From Jean Baudrillard, Simulacres et Simulation (Paris: Éditions Galilée, 1981): “The denunciation of scandal always pays homage to the law,” trans. Paul Foss, Paul Batton, and Philip Beitchman (Los Angeles: Semiotext[e], 1983).

[2] Incidental disclosure: some time after completing my second undergraduate degree (film, at the national university), I was a freelance production assistant in a Regal Films project, Emmanuel H. Borlaza’s Asawa Ko, Huwag Mong Agawin (1987), a Vilma Santos-starrer that featured the 1960s tandem of Amalia Fuentes and Eddie Gutierrez; Santos played the mistress of Gutierrez (and rival of Fuentes), while her much younger boyfriend was essayed by Gabby Concepcion, an original (first-batch) Regal Baby. A then-deferential and reclusive Gretchen Barretto was cast as one of the older couple’s neglected children.

[3] In much the same way that an early martial law-era pop-culture term, “bold,” was introduced by Regal Films, the country’s longest-running major studio, to distinguish its soft-core entries from the pre-martial law period’s more overtly sex-themed “bomba,” Robbie Tan felt a similar need to distance his productions from the late Marcos-era’s hard-core “penekula films.” Seiko Films did this by first appropriating “sex-trip,” abbreviated as ST, and later introduced an English coinage, “titillating film.” See “Fleshmongering” in Fields of Vision: Critical Applications in Recent Philippine Cinema (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1995), 112-14.

[4] An update, as of late 2020: after having starred in the aptly titled rom-com Between Maybes (dir. Jason Paul Laxamana, 2019), Julia Barretto and Gerald Anderson sent out broad social-media hints that they have remained … conjoined, as it were. Their apparently unsullied contentment may yet prove to be its own scandal, by standing out as the only happy ending in the 2019 Barretto saga.

[5] “Rico Yan: Posthumously Recognized and Constructed,” in Huwaran/Hulmahan Atbp.: The Film Writings of Johven Velasco, ed. Joel David (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2009), 24-38.

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Auteurs & Amateurs: Toward an Ethics of Film Criticism (Lecture Version)

Many thanks to the International Association for Ethical Literary Criticism for inviting me to deliver a plenary lecture on ethical film criticism. I may not also be everyone’s idea of a film critic, especially if you bump into me during more casual occasions than a literary conference. In my own feeble defense, I would begin by mentioning that what we might count as the basic output of a film critic, the movie review, was one of my earliest articles as a campus journalist, over forty years ago (David, “Birds of Omen” 43-45) – but let’s keep that scandalous detail to ourselves, shall we.

11011Since then, my odyssey as a Filipino film critic was marked by a few firsts: first fresh college graduate to be invited to the Filipino film critics circle, first former student activist to work in the Marcos dictatorship’s film agency, first and only graduate of the country’s undergraduate film program (my second degree actually), first to publish a local prizewinning book in film criticism, first Filipino to be accepted to a doctoral film program, first director of the national university’s film institute; although one last first – to teach a graduate course in pornography and feminism – will again be probably not to everyone’s liking or appreciation.

11011I take this personalized narrative-based mode because the lessons I learned about ethical practice in film criticism were hard-earned and initially defiant of then-existing values and ideas. But before we move on to what those insights might be, allow me to point out a problem, more of a kink really, in the expression “ethical practice in film criticism.” What I mean by this is that, contrary to commercial practitioners’ expectations, and in line with the thrust of the conference, film criticism always-already presumes ethical practice. This would be its most vital, though also most obvious, resemblance to literary criticism.

11011I may also need to make clear this early that I depart from the premise of what we term ethical literary criticism in a crucial manner. One way of understanding why this distinction must be made is in the industrial definition of film production as opposed to literary activity. To better comprehend the comparison, let’s consider each sphere during the recent past when media technologies had yet to begin converging in digital formats, and were therefore distinct from one another. In literature, the entire manufacturing activity comprising the use of all types of printing and copying machines, plus binding and distribution systems, can never be fully equated with actual literary production. A significant, unknowable, but possibly greater amount of literature is necessarily created privately, almost entirely by individuals, and an invaluable amount resides in the collection and maintenance of written material, not all of it printed in the still-contemporary sense.

11011Film, on the other hand, is emblematic of what we should really call the post-literary mass medium, in the sense that without the presence of an industry, it would not exist – except, at best, as theater. From beginning to end of the filmmaking process, one or more machines are operated by technical specialists, even in the case of the simplest possible type of production, the home movie. In fact the most distinct type of movie we recognize today, the film event, is premised on industrial spectacularization, with its megabudget appropriation, cast of thousands, reliance on preexisting commodities such as hit prequels or comic books, and global distribution system, with a showcasing of the latest digital-graphic applications as an essential component of its attraction.

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11011My sentimental education regarding this matter proceeded from my stint in the Marcos-era film agency, heightened by my film-school internship, and concretized in the year-long freelance work I conducted, in effect replicating what I did right after completing my first degree, in journalism. Allow me to interject here that freelancing in media is the one thing I would never recommend to any fresh graduate, unless she or he has a masochistic streak. Nevertheless, I had enough of a background in student activism and government service to sustain me with a few overweening delusions: first, that scouting the field for the best option can be done while earning a living; second, that media outfits would be fair enough to reward hard work rooted in academic training; and third and most unreasonable of all, that a free radical could effect some changes significant enough to improve the system.

11011In my short autobiographical account of my stint as production assistant for a mainstream studio, I mentioned a notion I’d hoped for that somehow became a reality: today, graduates of any of the country’s few film programs get hired by film and media outfits on a regular basis (David, “Movie Worker” 13). An even luckier few of these degree-holders manage to skip an on-the-job training process and make local and sometimes global waves with their first few film projects. Yet the lesson that impacted my practice as film critic did not appear in this account I wrote. It was something I formulated later, after returning to film commentary by being designated the resident film critic of a prominent weekly newsmagazine.

11011I will admit that I wished that when I first stated my newly formulated ethical premise, my colleagues hailed me as harbinger of a useful and progressive insight. In reality, I collected a number of verbally abusive responses then, and still do so occasionally today. Strangest of all, for me, is the fact that these almost entirely come from representatives of the national university, bastion of claims to Marxist ideals in the country. My aforementioned premise runs as follows. Because of its industrial nature, film practice enables individuals to support themselves and their families and acquaintances. We kid ourselves if we merely focus on the high-profile examples of celebrities and producers and major creative artists: the majority of people working on any sufficiently busy project would actually be working-class, as I had been when I worked in the industry.

11011When a project ends, one could sense a festive atmosphere, with people simply relieved that the struggles and headaches that they sustained through several weeks, sometimes months or even years, of mostly physical labor, have finally come to an end. Yet on the ground, there would also be palpable anxiety: which upcoming project can they latch onto, in order to be able to continue maintaining a decent source of income? Corollary to this is their hope that the project they just finished earn back its investment, if not become a hit, because this means the producer would be able to bankroll a future film, with the strong possibility of rehiring them.

11011I tracked this logic to its extreme conclusion and realized that its ethical core was solid enough to apply to any kind of project. Even a supposedly aesthetically dubious undertaking, like a genre film, or a socially disreputable effort, like a trash or pornographic entry, still represents a godsend to any impoverished member of the film crew. And if the said dismissible output makes a killing at the box-office, this may be unwelcome news to society’s moral and aesthetic guardians, but it certainly portends nothing but glad tidings for the project’s collaborators – its producers and artists, of course, but its workers as well, silent though they may be.

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11011I was taken aback, and still tend to have the same response, by the magnitude of the hostility exhibited by academe-trained experts whenever I attempted to articulate this critical premise. In retrospect, of course, I can see where my should-be colleagues were coming from. The class-based orientation of orthodox Marxist training behooves them to focus on the role of captains of industry – producers, financiers, investors – and subject their judgment of a film product to the moral depredations wrought by capital. As a consequence, profitability, according to this view, should be its own reward already, so a movie that hits pay dirt ought to meet higher expectations or face critical dismissal. Bound up with this judgmental mindset would be the known political sympathies of the major entities behind the production, as well as the operations of narrative formulas, with genre projects suggesting a questionable set of motives, and “low” or “body” genres confirming the producers’ and filmmakers’ surrender to decadence.

11011The one auspicious and relatively recent development on this front is that a progressive strain in feminist thinking, which we might call the sex-positive anti-censorship school (Kleinhans and Lesage 24-26), has set out to recuperate these modes of practice that once resulted in what we might term film detritus, or types of movies that so-called respectable experts and institutions would have jettisoned from any canon-forming activity; some of the more familiar examples would include pornography, horror, tearjerker melodrama, toilet-humor and slapstick comedy, home and diaristic movies, even advertising and propaganda.

11011This development was affirmed on several institutional fronts during the last few years of the 20th century. For example, of the over 200 titles classified as “condemned” or “offensive” by the US Catholic Church’s Legion of Decency from 1936 to 1978 (Catholic News Service), several showed up in the so-called Vatican Film List (SDG), which were supposedly endorsements to the faithful of nearly 50 titles, presented by the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications on the occasion of cinema’s first centenary in 1995. What this meant was that movies once regarded as immoral by religious standards, were later admired as insightful windows into the human condition. When I was in the process of completing my cinema-studies doctorate, the top-ranked American film schools started announcing courses on US skinflicks of the 1970s, now regarded as a Golden Age in porn production; a previously X-rated film, John Waters’s Pink Flamingos (1972), was an arthouse hit, as was an even earlier entry, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), described as Russ Meyer’s tribute to bosomania. Films with outright pornographic sequences can at present be submitted to compete in the A-list film festivals of Europe, and even win major awards for the effort.

11011What this made evident to me was the fact that in popular culture, no pre-existing judgment is guaranteed to last forever. Just as the historical heroics and Biblical epics and costume dramas that once dominated US Academy Awards are only screened for camp amusement today, and the downgraded B-movies of that same era are now considered essential to studies on the development of film language (Monaco 7-10), so can we indulge in the engaging exercise of identifying which contemporary forms of audiovisual media happen to endure the disapprobation of authorities in government, academe, and corporate-sponsored institutions. Only those among us who still cling to beliefs in eternal verities in approaches to popular culture, will be dismayed by the constant revision and repudiation of standards that mark contemporary evaluations of film and cultural artefacts, and will probably be surprised when today’s so-called trash items become tomorrow’s objets d’art.

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11011I might need to clarify, however, that my insistence on recognizing the cruciality of continuing film-production activity to the sustenance of an industry, does not imply that I desisted from formulating negative commentary during the six-year period when I had to turn in reviews on a weekly basis. What my premise precluded, in my personal practice, was the use of sweeping condemnations like “worst movie ever made,” unless I could mix in tonal shadings of irony or camp. Put another way, anything that could lead to the conclusion that such-and-such a release should never have been made would make me think more than twice: I could just as well be commenting on the potboilers I had worked on, and if they’d never been made, how would I have survived?

11011How then should I evaluate the moral worth of a film that I had to review? The answer to this entailed a two-stage procedure, one building on the other, and once more provoking unusual controversy. The first necessitated a bout of critical self-awareness on my end, a condition that applies as much to resident critics as to contemporary bloggers, especially those who set out to cover sudden concentrations of new or old releases, such as film festivals or retrospectives. When an editor or publisher stipulates that the critic must review everything on a given slate, the latter ought to initiate a constant negotiation regarding which releases are accordant with her level of competence or interest, and which ones lie beyond the scope of her abilities. I was fortunate during my resident-critic years that the movie industry was churning out up to four local releases a week, not to mention the far bigger amount of foreign releases that were being distributed. So picking out a film or two or more, out of five to ten choices, was a far better ratio than the one-to-one requirement imposed by some internet websites on their reviewers.

11011The second stage, as I mentioned, was when troubles would arise – not with my casual readers, but with my self-appointed critics. The method I observed took shape after the usual formal-slash-sociological, form-and-content approaches I used, left more questions than answers in their wake. Mostly these would revolve on another bout of self-doubt: how sure was I that any declaration I made was certain to hold up through an unpredictable future? As an example, a canon-creation project for Philippine cinema, ongoing for nearly a decade already, yielded several surprises when we went through the few major films of the past half-century (David and Maglipon). Among the movies released during the martial-law period of 1972 to 1986, for example, several titles acclaimed for their political daring felt, in retrospect, like melodramas in desperate search of significance. What stood out today, with some of them increasing in stature and integrity, were the honest-to-goodness flat-out melodramas, dismissed by film critics of the time for being flighty, apolitical, decadent, tending toward camp, and produced by a studio suspected of reveling in covert sponsorship from the dictatorial regime.

11011The ideal critical approach would therefore set down any conclusion we can make about a movie as strictly provisional, subject to further developments in cultural and political history. But what about the more problematic film-texts I mentioned earlier – i.e., the movies that enjoyed popular patronage? Would there be a means of presenting findings about these releases without falling into the trap of the high art-vs.-low culture binary? The only method I could think of during the time was to contact actual members of the mass audience. When I’d encounter friendly get-togethers in the congested neighborhoods where I resided, I’d approach the people I knew and chat about the movies they just watched or were planning to watch. Refreshingly, these were people who were unconcerned about my academic intent or the impression they would give about themselves among the intelligentsia. So when I asked them for the reasons behind their choices, they never felt obliged to genuflect before the altar of moral worth or aesthetic significance. What they’d provide instead was a unique though residual form of cultural logic, more helpful in elucidating why any current box-office hit was raking it in, regardless of its critical standing.

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11011Even today, one could see this deplorable and potentially tragic separation between the chattering classes, which would include all of us here, and the mass audience, or the public at large, or what we increasingly recognize as the majority of online netizens. When confronted with the reality of inconsistencies in voters’ choices, our colleagues would tend to explain this away by describing them as uneducated, unsophisticated, devoid of higher moral senses, vulnerable to petty corruption, oblivious to the consequences of their decisions. This type of academically acceptable though horrifically anti-progressive approach was what I attempted to evade via the admittedly casual anthropological research I conducted before setting out to articulate my responses to any contemporary film release during my time as resident critic. Once again, for reasons that I cannot (and prefer not to) fathom at this time, colleagues tended to react violently when I set this out as a prescription.

11011The first time I laid it out, rather than used it as a means of explicating specific popular films, a trend in Philippine cinema was arousing the ire of people across various political divides, even opposing ones. This was during a time, a few years after the world-famous February 1986 “people power” uprising, when the surest guarantee of box-office performance was for any movie to resort to toilet humor (David, “Shooting Crap” 109-10). Characters would be seen on prime-time TV trailers clutching their tummies or butts, rushing to toilet cubicles, with diarrheic sounds emanating from inside and characters in the vicinity responding to what appear to be unpleasant odors. The exponent of this funky trend was a comedian named Joey de Leon, still-popular today, whose latest exploit was a wildly successful comic-romantic setup that played out during the real-time real-life segment of a noontime variety show (Zamora).

11011Gamely accepting the challenge to defend his use of toilet humor on a TV talk show, de Leon found himself confronting the right-wing pro-Church chair of the censors board, as well as a leftist academic famed for being occasionally censored and thrown in jail by the martial-law government of Ferdinand Marcos. During a time when the members of the left-leaning Concerned Artists of the Philippines were conducting a series of rallies to protest post-Marcos censorship policies, this was the one remarkable moment when representatives of both sides came together for a common cause – to castigate de Leon’s reliance on a borderline-obscene strategy for provoking audience laughter. I criticized the spectacle via the following remark:

to question a person on the basis of principle is a simple thing to do, but when that principle happens to enjoy popular support, then the possibility of claiming to be better than the majority, antithetical to the democratic premise of raising questions on their behalf in the first place, emerges. This puts the … “critic” in a position too awkwardly similar to that of the cultural censor, who derives his raison d’être from the perverse notion that the people, even (or especially) in a democracy, could not know what is good for them. (David, “Shooting Crap” 110)

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11011One direct aftermath was that a few years later, I encountered the aforementioned artist-academic during my graduate studies in the US, and got berated by him for violating some code of bourgeois behavior that I could not decipher. I later figured out that it might have been because of the article I had written: I had taken extra care not to mention him by name, but there was certainly no denying the widespread coverage of his full-on theatrical performance as offended moral guardian on live TV. What I could have explained, if he had been able to simmer down and engage in a sober discussion, was that the moviegoers I had talked with certainly did not regard themselves as cultural dupes longing or willing to be taken in by a possibly cynically motivated comic talent. The key lay in the still-prevalent euphoria over the people-power event, when the country’s major artists all focused on projects that would commemorate the ouster of a long-entrenched tyrant and the restoration of democratic institutions.

11011The movie audience responded to these predictable and frankly sanctimonious texts by withholding their patronage of local film releases. As a result, from an average of nearly 170 films produced during the Marcos years, sometimes hitting as high as over 230 productions in one year, the local industry came up with 120 titles the year after people power and barely 100 the year after (David, “Annual Filipino Film Production Chart”); many of these in fact were sex films intended for the minimally policed rural circuit. The country’s most successful studio, Regal Films, managed to persuade audiences to resume their movie-going habit by providing comic fantasies featuring a breakout child actor, Aiza (now Ice) Seguerra (“Aiza Seguerra”). While these appealed to women and child viewers, Joey de Leon found a means of filling the gap for more mature audiences, including males, by seizing on a deliberately uncouth rejection of the spiritualistically inspired religious revivalism induced by what people still refer to today as the “miracle at EDSA.”

11011The difficulty of pursuing this particular configuration of critical framework cum method is further complicated by the stylistic demands it makes on expression. The principle I follow stems from the differentiation between academic writing and criticism. The only Filipino film critic recognized as a National Artist, Bienvenido Lumbera, prescribed an approach to writing criticism that conflated it with scholarship: “the writer must not be imprisoned by cuteness or [snark]. I think that’s a very strong tendency when one is beginning to write, when you fall in love with a manner, an expression, a point that you want to make, and you put that across and sacrifice the object you’re talking about” (Lumbera 72).

11011My own response, as a graduate-studies scholar confronted with the demand to observe an “objective” and “impersonal” presentation of research findings, was to constantly seek ways to query, if not subvert, this requirement, rather than allow an entire arsenal of literary possibilities to go to waste. In doing so, I managed to realize that the process of deconstructive jouissance can operate beyond analytics, via the mechanics of style. In criticism, especially in reviewing for a general readership, the playpen covers a far wider territory. The expressive demands may be greater, but the potential to involve the reader in formally discursive challenges, with the commentary providing a fixed reflexive coordinate to the film or films being discussed, would be worth the extra effort of drafting what we may call the creative critique.

11011The ideal to strive for would be an industrial intervention, where the critic helps articulate, for the artist as well as the audience, the film-text’s historical significance and significations, the development of the project’s auteur or auteurs, the industrial limits posed by budget, technology, and training, and how these may be overcome, and the larger social, political, cultural, regional, and global concerns (if any) where text, auteur, and audience may position themselves in pursuit of further insights or benefits. Such instances of intensive interactions among critics, creatives, and consumers have been few and far between, in the experience of Philippine cinema. Nevertheless, they have been known to happen, and have generally proved fulfilling for all parties concerned. The goal in observing a useful and progressive ethical approach to film criticism would be to ensure that critics’ contributions to the growth and development of cinema become a more-or-less permanent feature of creative cultural activity.

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Works Cited

Aiza [sic] Seguerra.” Wow Celebrities! (August 1, 2008).

Catholic News Service (Media Review Office). “Archived Movie Reviews.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. No date.

David, Joel. “Annual Filipino Film Production Chart.” Ámauteurish! (February 25, 2016).

———. “Birds of Omen.” Philippine Collegian (July 26, 1978): 3, 6. Reprinted in Millennial Traversals: Outliers, Juvenilia, & Quondam Popcult Blabbery (Part I: Traversals within Cinema) in UNITAS: Semi-Annual Peer-Reviewed International Online Journal of Advanced Research in Literature, Culture, and Society 88.1 (May 2015): 43-45.

———. “Movie Worker.” National Midweek (November 4, 1987): 15-16. Reprinted in Millennial Traversals: Outliers, Juvenilia, & Quondam Popcult Blabbery (Part II: Expanded Perspectives) in UNITAS: Semi-Annual Peer-Reviewed International Online Journal of Advanced Research in Literature, Culture, and Society 89.1 (May 2016): 13-16.

———. “Shooting Crap.” National Midweek (April 4, 1990): page(s) unkown. Reprinted in Fields of Vision: Critical Applications in Recent Philippine Cinema (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1995): 109-12.

David, Joel, and Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon. SINÉ: The YES List of 100+ Films That Celebrate Philippine Cinema. Summit Media, 2019 (forthcoming).

Greydanus, Steven D. “The Vatican Film List.” DecentFilms: Film Appreciation and Criticism Informed by Christian Faith. No date.

Kleinhans, Chuck, and Julia Lesage. “The Politics of Sexual Representation.” Jump Cut 30 (March 1985): 24-26.

Lumbera, Bienvenido. “Critic in Academe.” Interview. National Midweek (April 4, 1990): 20-22, 46. Reprinted in Millennial Traversals: Outliers, Juvenilia, & Quondam Popcult Blabbery (Part II: Expanded Perspectives) in UNITAS: Semi-Annual Peer-Reviewed International Online Journal of Advanced Research in Literature, Culture, and Society 89.1 (May 2016): 65-74.

Meyer, Russ (director). Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Scriptwriter Jack Moran. Performed by Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Ray Barlow, Susan Bernardo, Mickey Foxx, Dennis Busch, Stuart Lancaster, Paul Trinka. EVE Productions, 1965.

Monaco, James. The New Wave: Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette. Oxford University Press, 1976.

Waters, John (director & scriptwriter). Pink Flamingos. Performed by Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivan Pearce, Mink Stole, Danny Mills, Edith Massey, Channing Wilroy, Cookie Mueller, Paul Swift. Dreamland, 1972.

Zamora, Fe. “Netizens Go Gaga over AlDub.” Philippine Daily Inquirer (August 17, 2015).

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The First Glory Awards (2017): A Mini-Album

It’s difficult to tell a complicated story, especially one that involves a lot of other individuals and a major formative institution. This will be an attempt to recount a series of occurrences, some of them subjective in nature. It began when the Alumni Association of my alma mater, the College of Mass Communication of the University of the Philippines, announced its own counterpart of the university-wide Alumni Awards. Since the event was sponsored by the family of the CMC’s founding Dean, Gloria David Feliciano (unrelated to me), it was going to be rather awkwardly named the Glory Awards. There were supposed to be ten selections for the first edition, and since I kept up with news about the college via social network, I caught the call for nominees the day it came out.

11011When a former editor and journalism-school classmate of mine contacted me about it, I was inclined to say no. I’d already been feted at the previous year’s FACINE Film Festival in San Francisco, and to me that was a signal honor. Several senior film critics from the Philippines hold loads of distinctions from all over, but none of their life-achievement prizes specified film criticism and scholarship, until FACINE’s Gawad Lingap Sining [Art Nurturer Award] spelled it out for me. I even prepared an extensive lecture, the festival’s first in nearly a quarter-century since its founding, delivered at the City College of San Francisco’s auditorium (famed for its Diego Rivera mural).

11011But my colleague, Daisy Catherine Mandap, told me to do it for the sake of old friends, since it would be an occasion to get our batch together at the UP Journalism Club. I said I’d do it mainly for her, gathered the materials, forwarded them, and forgot all about it. In late October I got word that I had won, and the number of awardees was reduced from ten to eight, making it an even rarer prize. I conveyed my willingness to participate, bought a roundtrip ticket to attend the November 11 ceremony, and tried to refocus on the several writing assignments that spilled over from the spring-semester half-sabbatical that made writing in Manila such a pain in the neck because of internet sluggishness, lack of support for authors, and overpriced cost of living. The motherboard of my three-year-old state-of-the-art laptop died from too many stops and starts and reinstallations, and I was reduced to making even older netbooks try to do the same tasks. (I could only buy a replacement machine in Korea, where my credit card could allow for installment payments.)

11011Three real-world factors blindsided me as I mentally conditioned myself for the awards ceremony. First, the faculty dormitory where I’d stayed since arriving about a decade ago for my tenure-track position announced that it was shutting down for renovation by the end of the year, and would be reopening as a university hotel. That meant I had to prepare to find my own housing for the first time in Korea, with all the concomitant complications that involved (starting with exorbitant down-payment fees). Then the results of my annual physical exam at the university hospital arrived, indicating that the gallbladder stone that I’d been, well, maintaining for a decade or so suddenly and inexplicably doubled in size, approaching what the doctor described as a “danger” threshold. My physician told me how fortunate I was that the condition remained benign through my sabbatical, since he knew the manifold troubles I would confront by requiring a surgical procedure in the Philippines.

11011The surgeon assigned to foreign-language patients responded to my request for a laparoscopy by specifying the day right before the Glory Awards event. It was supposed to be an outpatient procedure, but I couldn’t imagine myself rushing from the hospital to the airport, wounds still fresh, and going onstage and hobnobbing with folks while checking for bloodstains on my shirt. So I requested, urgently, a week’s delay at the hospital – then the third “development” occurred: the organizers of an out-of-town Korean conference on Asian culture, to which I had made a long-standing commitment to participate, contacted me to say that it would happen … during the weekend after the Glory Awards, the same period I had planned to have my postponed operation. When I revised my request for another hospital date, I knew that the staff could have taken this as another of my endless shifts in schedules, and hesitated to respond to my request, considering all the difficulties (from additional tests to scheduling assistants) that this particular arrangement entailed.

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11011But this was not entirely the reason I felt inclined to postpone my roundtrip to Manila. As the day of the event approached, the reality that the institution I used to work with, from which I felt estranged, crept up and slowly, steadily engulfed me. The fact that Daisy Mandap considered my nomination and win her personal mission as a friend was key to this sentiment. A few years earlier, the college called for nominees for its ballyhooed Gawad Plaridel [Plaridel Award] for the category of community journalism. The last time I worked with Daisy (who’d gone to law school after journalism), at the now-defunct Business Day, she assisted in the collective-bargaining efforts of the employees’ union, continuing to represent them even after they decided to go on strike. As a new hiree, I could not qualify for union membership – and needed the income to repay my undergraduate student loans. Daisy told me it wouldn’t be an issue for her and her allies, which was all the assurance I could ask for. I wound up leaving anyway, because of an exploitative arrangement that a TV host had with the publication, cornering me as a personal researcher while plagiarizing my reports wholesale – including weird structural touches I would introduce to see if the program would still follow, and of course it did (the fact that the episodes I wrote won various local and global awards for the host was instrumental in developing my contempt for pretentious, privileged, hypocritical socialites).

11011Business Day solved its union troubles by shuttering the newspaper and reopening it under a different-though-recognizable name, BusinessWorld, but Daisy found herself blacklisted by the publishers of major local dailies, including the very person who became the first winner of the Gawad Plaridel. She and her husband, Leo Deocadiz, left for Hong Kong, and set up The Sun, a publication with its own foundation aimed primarily at assisting Overseas Filipino Workers. I managed to convince her that we could argue for OFWs as a transient, foreign-based community, and she responded with plans of how to use the Gawad Plaridel prize money for the education of OFW members and their children. She of course became the frontrunner for that year’s award, but after the deadline for announcing the winner came and went, I knew (from a couple of decades of working in the college) that something unsavory was afoot.

11011A few days later the evidence rolled out. All the nominees were declared undeserving, and a new category (in fact an old one), print journalism, was announced, immediately after which a winner – a friend of mine and, more significantly, of the college officials – was declared. I would not begrudge anyone a prize that she or he deserved, but I also believe that those who’ve had their share of recognition don’t need to be grasping for more. The officials happened to belong to an award-giving organization masquerading as a film critics group, and the Plaridel roster wound up affirming the same set of winners that the supposedly separate group (whose chair that year was also dean of the college) had selected. Something like saying that my mother’s choices are excellent because my father opts for them too, although it’s best if you don’t realize that they’re married.

11011This was the reason why the acceptance speech that the Glory Awards organizers asked me to draft kept detouring into a rejection announcement. In the end, with my surgery schedule still unresolved, my exchanges with the awards team approaching conflict territory, and my admissions of dismay worrying my closest friends, I decided to cancel the trip and pay the penalty fee that the airline warned me it would charge. The ceremony went well, from all appearances, and I was deeply moved by friends’ expressions of support. I may be able to admit that I might have been glad to attend, but I’m even surer that, with my killjoy mind-set, the people at the event were much better off without me. I only note here what I told some social-media friends: that unlike Daisy and many others, I’ve been too good at bridge-burning, and a day for reckoning with all that will surely come my way in future. The college, to begin with, is and is not its alumni association, although to my mind, several people now considered senior faculty deserve as harsh a treatment as history will be able to bestow on them – with Daisy’s Gawad Plaridel case just one in a long list of depredations.

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11011Meanwhile, to fulfill the post’s title, here be the (unnecessarily extensive) nomination document, as well as a few highlights from the event (kindly click on any of the pics for an enlargement):

Philippine Star announcement (above, left; photo by Jun R. Cortez); Pelikulove greeting (above, right; courtesy of Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil).

Personalized notebooks from Ruby Villavicencio Paurom.

Present Glory Awardees (above, left; photo by Joy Buensalido); absent Glory Awardee’s friends (above, right), comprising, left to right, Leo Deocadiz, Daisy Mandap, Ruby Villavicencio Paurom (photo owner), and Bayani Santos Jr.

Lower set of pics above, left to right: Martin Posadas Marfil, Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil, Bayani Santos Jr., Marianne Dayrit Sison, Ruby Villavicencio Paurom, Daisy Catherine Mandap, & Reggie Madriaga Capuno (all photos by Tita C. Valderama).

University of the Philippines Journalism Club circa late 1970s (from the collection of Martin Posadas Marfil).

Video prepared by Alex Arellano;
soundtrack by Noisy Neighbors Inc.;
narrated by JB Tapia


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Source Exchange for Review of Respeto

This is the exchange from which I drew certain insights and quotes for my review of Respeto. It was initiated on Facebook Messenger, and continued via email. Monster Jimenez answered initially, quoting excerpts from my FB Messenger queries; then after a response from me, Treb Monteras II included his remarks in Monster’s aforementioned response. To make this extensive first set of answers easier to follow via internet browser, I indented my queries and used boldface for Treb Monteras’s interjections.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 11:50:41 AM

Hi Joel, I’m looping in Treb in case he wants to pitch in.

From FB Messenger

Hi Monster, si Joel David. I’m drafting a review of Respeto, which I saw twice as part of my preparation. It’s for Cri-en Pastor’s The FilAm, a New York-based online mag. I hope you don’t mind if I ask you some questions, since Cri-en’s expecting my article any time soon. First is regarding research or immersion: was there anyone in the production team who resided, or grew up, in Pandacan? If not, how did the project achieve its familiarity with the place?

It was never really rooted in Pandacan, but I remember Treb really had this location in mind since he passed Doc’s bookstore all the time. It was always going to be Navotas or Manila. But we prioritized Manila because Navotas gets flooded easily plus it’s really faaaar.

I was late for a meeting with the Respeto team when Waze forced me to take a different route to Makati. That’s how I saw this corner sari-sari store that eventually became Doc’s Bookstore.

From FB Messenger

The FlipTop fans I brought with me during my 2nd viewing identified the same guy that some filmmaker friends said was the director (the person who “choked” during his turn at the mike), but they called him by a rapper name. So Treb Monteras raps, or competes, or is a FlipTop enthusiast?

Yes OG Birador is our director. Treb Monteras is a big hiphop guy and the main reason why I joined in the first place because I know he’s the only guy who could do this na “legit.” He knew he had to do it because no rapper would be willing to “choke” even if it’s just fiction.

I’m not a rapper but I used to organize hiphop events back in the early 2000s, but the scene was very different then from what we have now.

From FB Messenger

Did the project participants go over previous depictions of the local rap scene, specifically Tribu? I’m asking because I noticed a distinct difference in the handling of gender issues, with Tribu seemingly unaware of the sexism that it depicted. Respeto I thought had a better sense of gender dynamics, since both protagonists (Hendrix and Doc) were feminized in terms of their power relations. How prominent was the question of gender politics in the pursuit of the project’s completion?

I love Tribu! But it was never part of the conversation in terms of reference or anything that informed our production. Gender politics was definitely part of the conversation and it’s difficult to process because it’s still dominated by men who think like machos, or at the very least are unaware of their prejudice. So Treb was open enough to let me raise those questions and we tried to address them when we could.

I have yet to see Tribu. Thankfully, from the very start Monster was very vocal about sexism. Candy’s rape almost wound up on the cutting room floor. We didn’t take it out because it is very essential to Hendrix’s emotional journey. It took us two weeks to fine-tune that scene.

From FB Messenger

Treb Monteras had done some short films before, and you worked on a documentary, if I’m not mistaken. Were these formats crucial to the making of Respeto?

I don’t think Treb has done any narrative before. He’s done over 300 music videos. I’m a documentary filmmaker, yes. I think it’s safe to say that anything we do helps how we think about our creative work. Treb’s massive work in music videos has helped him for sure. The guy thinks in terms of music and beat, but he is also a natural storyteller. I think in terms of story and narrative, and having written and made films my whole career, I’m obsessed with narrative. But we do share the same political leanings and we wanted to make a movie that meant something to both of us.

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From FB Messenger

Sorry to be troubling you with questions like these, but I couldn’t find any official internet source that addresses these issues in the film. As a matter of procedure, I always take the trouble to inquire further about a work before I comment on it; I used to get a lot of flak for doing this (during the time when critiques of “intentional fallacies” and declarations of “the artist is dead” were fashionable), but I think I’ve convinced some friends that it works out better. In case you might have some queries about my output, please feel free to go over my archival blog, Ámauteurish!

From FB Messenger [sent later]

Sorry as well for one more follow-up query: the political content in the film tends to skew to a critique of some policies of the Duterte regime. (My FlipTop companions, who were pro-RDD, liked the movie immensely nevertheless.) It also appears that the Doc character had a left background but never rejected it; he presumably ended his activist commitment because of the trauma of torture that he and his family underwent. If the movie were pro-left (the orthodox wing), then it would be pro-admin up to a point; if it were left but not pro-RDD, then its critique would be harsher. Does Respeto have an ideological orientation that can be pegged to any of the currently existing political groups?

For me, it wasn’t so much a system of ideas that we were looking for. When I received a draft of the film when Treb asked me to join him, it ended on a much more triumphant note. The movie was first conceptualized by Treb many years ago, before I or anyone outside of Davao really understood who Duterte is. The drug dealing and corrupt police were already part of the story then, but when we started working on the film this year, as we kept on revising the script, we arrived at a natural conclusion: this can’t end on a good note. We have right now, in our bloodied hands, a systemic societal problem that allows no one to exit. Nobody escapes and poetry is not enough. We place the story where violence is so ingrained in their narratives, there is no longer the shock but is part of their everyday life. PRRD is sitting on that chair so yes he is definitely a big part of this problematic system.

Hope this helps!

[Sgd.] Monster Jimenez
Managing Director
Arkeofilms | THIS SIDE UP

[Sgd.] Treb Monteras II

Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 7:46:48 PM

OK, this is tremendous. I’m being (typically) pressured to finish the review ASAP. I’m usually given a 1,500-word maximum – which I tend to exceed up to 2k words. I think you should engage the services of a journalist so you can get your answers in the open, for the enlightenment of the public. It also better helps audiences prepare to view the material. I could help spin this off into a workable Q&A but I’ve got too many deadlines until my sabbatical ends on Aug. 28 – and after that I’ll be too busy teaching, since I requested a double load, or four subjects. If you find a receptive journo, you can forward our exchange to her or him so that she/he can just expand on it. Re the answer on Tribu pala – I might also bring in Ari, which is about (balagtasan-like) improvisational poetry in Pampanga. So Respeto may be the love child of the two films, in a sense. 🙂

11011Treb – if you’re able to provide some important point or two I’ll do my best to integrate it while drafting the review tonight. Many thanks sa inyo and congrats again!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 08:38:47 PM

I thought Treb passed by that bookstore a lot. As it turns out he only saw it during pre-prod! Re Ari. I do love that movie. I really like movies about language because it’s so hard to capture. Again, no reference was made to this movie.

Saturday, August 26, 2017, 11:48:00 AM, via Facebook Messenger

Hi Joel! I haven’t gotten around to thank you for your great write-up. We’re about to go on a wide release soon and will start sharing some of these features. Just have one correction in your article, or maybe I just misunderstood? OG Birador is not a real person, people might think he is. He’s just the name that Treb took on for that one scene. Anyways, just a heads up.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 10:27:00 PM, via Facebook Messenger

Hi Monster, thanks for the clarification. I remember sending you and Treb a message here on FB Messenger, including a copy of the review I drafted. [Some confidential information had to be deleted from the rest of the paragraph.]

11011Too bad, if FB Messenger didn’t mess up the message I sent you earlier, I could have included the correction in the FilAm article. But then again, I revise and update all my non-journal articles and post them on my blog, so I’ll be doing that for Respeto. I’m thinking of expanding the review a bit so that it doesn’t have to compromise any longer with the word-count limit, aggravated by the forced inclusion of the other film titles. Once I’ve done the revision, I’ll update you and Treb and post it on my FB Wall. BTW, I also posted (on my blog) our exchanges so that researchers can see a fuller view of how the movie was created. I’ll revise that exchange to add the correction you provided just now. Many thanks as always, and I’m looking forward to more output from your team – and from you, as woman filmmaker as well!


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Source Exchange for “The Transnational Pastime”

This exchange conducted on Facebook’s Messenger app formed the basis of “The Transnational Pastime: An Interview with Joel David,” conducted in early 2017 and published in the June 2017 (volume 4, number 1) issue of Plaridel. The interviewer was Paul Douglas Grant, a professor of film at the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. Answers that I first drafted as Notepad text files and attached to the Messenger service are indicated by the descriptor “From text file” and indented (appearing as italicized material in smartphone apps).

Saturday, February 25, 2017, 9:28 PM

Hi Joel, so…can we start with just getting a kind of run-through of your career, your work with the Manunuri, you studies abroad, your publishing history, your current work, etc.? And then maybe having written a number of books on Philippine cinema (and I see that there is a forthcoming book on Manila by Night!), you could talk a bit about the decision to have an online presence, and in particular your very generous approach to sharing your materials, for instance the PDF versions of your books that you have posted for free on Amauteurish! From there I can get a bit more precise. I’ll try to cause you as little pain and hassle as possible.

Hi Paul, I’ll try to draft a reply so that it won’t get lost when FB Messenger crashes (which happens occasionally on my laptop). Then I’ll send it to you tomorrow, if that’s all right with you. Thanks for being considerate about the “pain and hassle,” although I’m at the stage of discovering pleasure in pain. Never too late for anything, as they say.

Haha OK, OK, no rush either. Just to get the ball rolling. Thanks so much for doing this Joel.

Saturday, February 25, 2017, 5:02 AM

Joel [from text-file attachment]

My film criticism was something that started out as an option that evolved into a phase and that eventually solidified before I knew what to do with it. I started writing book reviews for the high-school paper – which sufficiently impressed the teachers who were then deciding whom to send to some secondary-school press conference. In college I attempted a few film reviews but felt frustrated about my inability to grapple with the terms of the form. But film was the medium du jour and most publications were interested in it. I was also determined to avoid the economic and political analyses that had marked me as an activism-oriented campus journalist, so my shift to cultural writing included a few more movie reviews. As you can imagine, the local critics group (Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, or Filipino Film Critics Circle) had to downgrade their definition of “critic” to include reviewers, or else they’d have comprised only two members (Pete Daroy and Bien Lumbera) and maybe two associates (Doy del Mundo and Nic Tiongson).

11011I knew I needed a lot of leveling up after interacting with the best film artists of the time, and even more after I joined the Marcos government’s Experimental Cinema of the Philippines. I read up on the standard early-film discourses (Arnheim, Balazs, Eisenstein, Bazin, etc.) plus active practitioners, with emphasis on stylists like [Pauline] Kael and the Philippines’s Nestor Torre (his early years). Kael was occasionally wrong and sometimes terribly so, but I was fascinated by how she could figure her way into sounding just right – a skill I might need in case I’d do regular reviewing. For some reason many prominent local critics of the time preferred John Simon, who to me was too willing to sacrifice insight for the sake of displaying wit and erudition.

11011During the late years of the Marcos regime, the University of the Philippines introduced the first undergrad film program in the country, and since I’d completed a bachelor’s in journalism at the Institute (now College) of Mass Comm, the ECP designated me to take the major courses so that the agency could eventually offer its own film courses. I said that if I took the equivalent of an extra sem, I could complete a second degree, so in effect I became an ECP scholar, required to complete the courses plus an occasional public-relations piece for the agency. The Marcoses were ousted, ECP was dissolved, and I had a film degree that no one else shared since it took the other majors much longer to complete the program. I tried industry work but got delegated to entry-level production-assistant tasks at starvation wages, then I retried journalism and TV scriptwriting – but all these jobs disappeared as media workers were unionizing for the first time and the panicked owners figured that shutting down their companies (and reopening them under different names) was the easiest solution.

11011The dean of UP mass comm bumped into me and said that, since I was the program’s first and only grad, I should teach film. Ellen J. Paglinauan, who adjusted her Fulbright program from geography to film, had just returned from the US and became my colleague and mentor. She knew my up-or-out deadline was approaching and that I could better serve the faculty with a film degree, so she helped me work out a Fulbright application. The politicking on the Philippine end was terrible, but fortunately the Institute of International Education “corrected” the Philippine-American Educational Foundation’s list of recommendees and repositioned the education minister’s daughter from first to somewhere near last, and (according to Ellen) ranked me on top. That was why no amount of pleading from PAEF could convince me to settle for any of the less-expensive choices. It was NYU or bust, although that also amounted to hubris on my end. The Fulbright was for a master’s degree; when NYU accepted me to the doctoral program, I could only apply for another US government grant (like another Fulbright) if I resided outside the US for two years.

11011UP was interested in getting a PhD holder for the film program and told me to find work and apply for student loans. I managed both and intended to pay off all my loans once I reached a managerial level at the economic-database company that hired me, but I could only manage to reduce my loan amount by half when my residency deadline loomed up. Back in Pinas, UP could not provide me with the means to repay my loans either; my mother sold some property to settle my account, with the understanding that I should repay her instead. That’s how I took the first offer to teach in Korea, on exchange; upon returning to UP, my salary was withheld for some mix-up that I had nothing to do with, so I sent out an SOS to friends in Korea – which is how I found the university where I’m currently working.

11011Re the website: this was also part of another slow process of realization. The Korean university announced that a personal website was part of its tenure requirements, so I read up on blogging, observed some dynamics (useful also for teaching cyberculture classes), and launched the website…by which time it was no longer a university requirement. But then in seeking out ISI-listed publications to fulfill the bulk of the university’s tenure specs, I stumbled on Ateneo de Manila University’s Kritika Kultura, which was open-access, an obvious ideal combination of prestige and availability on the level of profit-oriented academe that had somehow never occurred to me before. Researchers were asking for copies of my out-of-print books, so I arranged with certain publishers to work out new and expanded editions – but publishing, like all the other predigital media forms, was no longer as vibrant as it used to be. I was fascinated enough with so-called film piracy via the Quiapo Cinematheque (with Laikwan Pang’s studies as guidepost), and also became familiar with the work of Jojo Devera and other people invested in reviving and strengthening the public domain.

11011To me it’s still entirely rational, once we take out the element of finance as the ultimate arbiter of success. Jojo and I have stable jobs that allow us to engage in blogging activities, in which the actual price of (in my case) paying for a domain and WordPress’s custom-design privilege isn’t all that exorbitant. I get to dispense with the guilt of telling researchers that my books can be found in certain hard-to-access libraries, as well as preempt sites like GoogleBooks from monopolizing readers with uploaded versions of my sole-authored books that I’d rather update and revise if I get another chance, which is now. It doesn’t really stop publishers from wanting to have exclusive rights to my future output, and I get to keep myself busy with feeding the machine, with the additional leverage of defying it (by getting my manuscript out on the blog) when it misbehaves.

11011The Manila by Night monograph and the special Philippine cinema canon volume for YES! Magazine are exceptional cases: I’d accumulated enough material about MbN, from my dissertation preparation onward, so that I was able to edit Kritika Kultura’s first film forum devoted to articles on the movie, and that provided me with the impetus to pique the interest of Arsenal Press’s limited queer-films series; Summit Media (the YES! publisher) saw some mini-reviews (which I collectively titled “Short Takes”) for a personal canon of 100 local film titles that I uploaded on Amauteurish!, and offered to buy the rights to them, upping the fee if I participated as a consultant in their one-shot canon project. Re downloadable copies of my own books, plus more PDFs of other materials – these are all in the future. I imagine I’ll need to spend for and train in page-layout software, so that I might be able to circulate the books better. All in good time, like everything else.

11011There’s a point, or a line, where I move from surrendering my own copyright to claiming those of others, when I find out-of-print material (usually institutional in nature) where the publisher is difficult to determine and often is already defunct. I know enough to tread carefully here and I generally wait until there’s enough of a social-media interest in an issue relatable to the material.

Maybe I should end here for now. The answers ran (or rambled) on for a while. Hope this can provide enough to help you formulate questions. Best regards.

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Saturday, February 25, 2017, 8:21 AM

Great thanks Joel. Rambling is great! I’ll get back to you ASAP. Salamat.

Monday, February 27, 2017, 9:53 PM

Wow this is really rich, is it all right if I just go back for a second, concerning your publishing history. So for instance you mention your dissertation (BTW who was your adviser?), was this not among your early publication efforts? If my chronology is correct you had already published The National Pastime before going to the States. Then in Wages [of Cinema] and Fields [of Vision] it feels like the tone of the writing changes and becomes much more contemporaneous with the kind of poststructural film writing that was such a mainstay in Anglophone film studies. Is it fair to say that you were the first to really bring that approach to film writing in the Philippines?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 4:25 AM

I’ll need another day to answer, Paul, if you don’t mind.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 6:49 AM

Of course! No worries, and thanks again for what you’ve sent already. I’ll back off shortly.

Thursday, March 2, 2017, 4:42 PM

Joel [from text-file attachment]

Sorry for the delay in writing out my response. My diss adviser was the late Bob Sklar, and Bob Stam, Toby Miller, and Ellen Paglinauan were on the panel. I managed to spin off some chapters into journal papers, and even read books on revising theses for book publication, but I never had the time to work on that project. I was hoping this second half-sabbatical I was granted [for spring 2017] could provide me with the time to devote to that. Then I realized I’ll have to overhaul, rather than revise, some chapters, so I thought of writing them out as papers first. Looks like it will take longer than I would have preferred.

11011National Pastime and the second book, Fields of Vision, were meant to be just one book, an anthology of film journalism (articles and reviews) in two manuscript volumes. I tried to interest some university presses in it but they all gave two-year (or longer) timelines, so I went to Anvil. They said they could produce it in three months, which was just right for me, but I later realized it was too fast. They wanted only half of the manuscript I submitted, plus pictures (when I preferred to have none), and a glossary of film terms. A layperson editor took charge and insisted on an approach that could be summed up as “if it’s about movies, then I shouldn’t have to put in too much work to understand it.” I thought that was fair to a certain extent, but I also realized that it meant that an opportunity for casual readers to learn something new (by meeting the author half-way) was being discarded. That’s the reason why the glossary I was forced to write contained some sarcastic passages.

11011The remaining articles from the original volume would be my second book, I thought, and I brought the MS to the Ateneo Press just because Prof Esther Pacheco told me they wanted to handle my next title. But when I compiled the MS, I realized Fields of Vision would just be echoing National Pastime, so I held off until I was able to do some “academic” (mostly quantitative and canonical) exercises, with the rationale that all of the available local samples were too deeply flawed to be taken seriously. The third book, Wages of Cinema, was meant to be strictly a personal middle stage between completing my graduate requirements and starting work on my diss. I mentioned to Prof Laura Samson, then the director of the University of the Philippines Press, that I had performed this strategy of gathering my (necessarily not ready for primetime) material so I could find a workable direction for my final project, and she asked to take a look at the manuscript. In a few days she said she wanted to publish it as a book so could I grant her permission to do so. I thought fine, at least I’ll have some feedback [from readers] on how to improve the material even if in the end I wind up pulling it out of the publication process for being too callow, but apparently the readers signed off on it without any major changes.

11011So the approach you mentioned was deliberate in the sense that I looked for ways beyond repeating each previous book’s approaches, but it was also accidental in that I would have been more cautious about getting the stuff out if I had a name to uphold by then. People immediately told me about some progression they noticed – from classical to structuralist to poststruct – so I incorporated that insight in the back-cover text of the last book, but it wasn’t something that needed to be done if anyone had asked me. Each book generated some negative comments but I only answered the one (re Fields of Vision) that complained that the text required readers to do some work on their own. The fourth “book,” Millennial Traversals, was essentially a digital-edition mop-up operation, where I compiled everything else I’d written on film and media up to 2016, so that anything by me could be accessed in book form. Like I might have mentioned to you before, I’m hoping to get all the digital editions of my books in e-publication formats so that they could be downloaded and printed or read at the reader’s convenience. When I’ll manage to do that is the question.

Answers to your 2nd batch of questions, sir.

Great, thanks, Joel. Hopefully I can leave you alone after this.

No prob if you have further queries, Paul.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 9:39 PM

Hi Joel, quick question. What was your dissertation? That was quite sad about Sklar, he taught my diss prop seminar. What a tragic end.

11011Also, when did you put up the site, i.e. what year? Thanks Joel.

Thursday, March 9, 2017, 1:31 AM

Re the website first: the 2014 record states that it went “live” on June 13, but that I was adding features since March of that year. But since it was originally part of the list of tenure requirements, I remember setting up another website, with a Korean webmaster, in 2009. I forget its name now (its URL was [joeldavid-dot-net], but I’m not so sure about this either), and I remember updating it (via the webmaster) five or six times. I realized that if I were to have my own website, the best arrangement would be to have as much control over it as possible – which is why I undertook some quick research on blogs and observed the more active ones (especially Michael Musto’s La Dolce Musto, when he was still with Village Voice). As I must have written to you earlier, these activities became part of my preparations for teaching the Cyberculture undergrad class, and later the Digital Humanities grad class, at Inha University. I must have opened a WordPress account in 2011 or 2012, since I kept tinkering with blog templates and formats for a while before I launched the website. I decided to make it archival in nature, after I saw all the trolling and spamming that went on in the blogs that weren’t moderated by their owners, and the badmouthing and resentment that went on when the blogs were moderated. Since anything archival would be less topical than ordinary web logging, it would justify my refusal to entertain any type of commentary and help me avoid this no-win situation. In late 2013 I also concluded that the free WordPress services would yield a stale-looking design. I subscribed to the most basic among their several paid features, and immediately the improvement in appearance was satisfactory enough, so I kept this arrangement. I also wanted a showy, trashy, corny, pretentiously funny name, but the best I could do was settle for a mash-up between “amateur” and “auteur” – amauteurish.

11011The dissertation was titled “Primates in Paradise: The Multiple-Character Format in Philippine Film Practice” – which is undergoing a really long process of revision, as I must have told you earlier. I don’t want to rush it at all, since it’s got a core that’s worth refining as carefully and ambitiously as possible. I’d cannibalized some chapters for journal articles that I’ve published, as a way of undertaking the revisions. Some books and several articles (including in the New York Times) have already come out on multicharacter movies, which is fine, since the phenomenon is fairly new in the US, with Robert Altman as its pioneer. Since one of my bachelor’s degrees was in journalism, I know enough about the relative worth of the scoop (or being the first to report on something significant) vis-à-vis the interpretive or feature article: it’s extremely rare for both to be the same, and between being first to report and coming up with the best article on the same topic, I’d rather leave the privilege of being first to others. That’s the reason why one of the people I was mentoring described me as “bukas-palad” or open-palmed, meaning that I didn’t mind cluing in people to useful bits of info, even exclusive ones. For me, the real competition lies in how well anyone reads any material. If you’re chronologically last and no one else follows, the careless smart-ass observers would focus on the fact that you were last; but the real implication is that you were definitive, since no one could add anything after you came along. Di ba?

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017, 2:26 AM

Hi Joel, quick question (and I see I never thanked you for the last response! Thank you!). You mention that “Jojo and I have stable jobs that allow us to engage in blogging activities” – who is the Jojo you are referring to? Almost done with this thing, and I added a few transition phrases just to organize the flow of the text, I hope that’s OK with you. I have to make it look like I did some work.

Re organizing, structuring, and correcting interview material – that’s part of the magic, as we know as students of film. The Jojo I’m referring to is Jojo Devera, who runs the [now defunct] Magsine Tayo! blog. I don’t know if I’m repeating info I already gave you, and sorry if I do, but Jojo’s an avid collector of Pinoy movies, sometimes with titles that can’t be found anywhere else. Unlike the typical archivist-hoarder, he makes an effort to remaster what he has and post the results on his blog for free. It tends to alarm still-active producers and distributors, although he recently found his own ways around the problem of having to take down the movies that producers don’t want to make readily available. First, he gets the approval of the filmmaker, or maybe another producer also involved in the production in question. Next, and worst comes to worst, he had a lawyer advise him that film owners can only claim overseas copyright if they’re listed as foreign distributors of their films. Nevertheless he still concedes to producers’ claims just to be able to avoid too much fuss. In the past, they were able to petition YouTube to shut down his website. In the last few months, he migrated all his film uploads to Vimeo, which (according to him) has better terms for uploaders. His troubles are reminiscent of the Quiapo Cinematheque controversy, when “legit” DVD distributors (with the encouragement of Imelda [Marcos]’s pal, Jack Valenti), insisted on outlawing videocopies that sold for Php 20 so that people could be forced to buy their stuff that would cost Php 1,000 or higher. The producers aren’t really overcharging the public this time, although Mike de Leon supposedly priced his 3rd World Hero at Php 3,000 per copy (I bought Marie Jamora’s director’s cut of The Missing at Php 2,000 and it was worth it). But the legit copies are just too hard to find, and besides, Jojo’s material comes from older videos or TV broadcasts, sometimes censored or shortened for airtime. So a number of film researchers (JB Capino’s the most vocal one) have come to Jojo’s defense; I’ve been acknowledging his help in several of my research projects, since if he’s got a rare copy of anything, he won’t hesitate to share it with you.

Wow thank you Joel, this is all new to me, i.e. no repetition. Thanks so much.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 9:45 AM

Hi Joel, it’s me again…. Can I just check with you about a couple of publications that you might have written for? Sagisag magazine, Midweek magazine, Diliman Review, and Humanities Diliman. Were these important for you?

Not Sagisag. It folded up before I started freelancing after I was graduated in journalism. Not Humanities Diliman either – one of my submissions languished too long with them so I pulled it out. (Unless they printed it without my knowledge and skipped the peer-review process.) Diliman Review – I only remember getting published there once, although the office was my favorite hangout whenever I revisited the campus. Some members of the staff were also with the Literary Apprentice, so I submitted a piece to them as well. National Midweek was where I published regularly for almost its whole period of existence. I was with another periodical when I started, so I used a pen name. The former chair of the critics group I drifted away from wanted to invite me to join them, but he had a good laugh when he found out it was just me. Most of my writing for Midweek was subsidized in effect by my teaching at UP – Midweek rates were next to nothing, but you could barely survive as a UP instructor either. I just learned to live on a tight budget, a skills set that was useful for living, studying, and working in NYC later. Today it’s still the same. All the writing I do, including maintaining my blog, is subsidized by my teaching. But the difference between the Philippines’s national university and a second-rank school outside of the capital city in Korea is tremendous. You get the impression that [in Korea] you could live strictly as a scholar and the institution will cover your needs as a matter of course – no need to beg for anything.

Oh man that’s enviable. I keep trying to imagine what it will be like to go back to the States and work as an adjunct at five or six different universities just to make ends meet. Here I can get by, but it’s not sustainable. Anyway, what was your pen name at Midweek, does any of it appear online?

Re the Diliman Review connection – when its editor, Bien Lumbera, started a journal at the Cultural Center of the Philippines titled Kultura, he encouraged me to provide them with critical material (including lengthy reviews). That’s where my Second Golden Age article originally came out. My Midweek pen name was Jojo Legaspi. My entire Midweek output has its own listing on my blog. I mention the pen names I used in a still-to-be-updated “How to Use the Blog” page. I don’t really remember my underground aliases in the student movement, or kept copies of what I wrote then. It’s amazing how [the late National Democratic Front chair] Tony Zumel had his whole collection of UG writings printed in book form, but they’re of a highly specific genre (agitprop we used to call it, or agitational propaganda). I don’t think I’ll want to be remembered for the literary accomplishments of that type of writing. You lived and studied in NYC too, right? Everyone who does that goes through a specific (and special, but we don’t want to self-aggrandize no?) experience that non-NYers will never understand, or will probably perceive as a type of neurosis.

Wow great! Personally I’d love to see those writings from the underground. Yes I lived in NY for a big part of my life and definitely had periods where I had to struggle for work there. Can’t imagine now what it’s like to be an academic there!

Couldn’t be caught with keeping [the agitprop material], Paul. It would be like admitting I wrote them, which would have been true. But I also made sure to use a “dead” journalistic style so I could deny authorship. To be honest, the writing [I did there] dismayed me, but that’s probably why I never got suspected of being a UG contributor. At NYU I roomed with Bliss Lim, who was a former student of mine and a published poet. We realized we’d be writing scholarly material for a long time, so we had some intensive discussions on writing style. Mainly how the “flat” approach that our teachers prescribed in order to foreground content was as much a myth as objectivity in journalism. We hoped to reach a point where we could come up with a better formula, but that would have been impossible. It was enough to just know where the seams were. In fact I think Bliss found a great way to use poetic devices in her scholarly work. I’m more prosaic like everyone else, so in theory a lot more technique is available to us, but there’s always the danger of falling back on the ones that we’re already able to handle well. It’s strange how an obsession with style was palpable among writers in English during the time we were in college. Probably because of the awareness that you could be suspected of succumbing to colonial mentality. That’s also probably why a lot of local writers in English are stylists, in addition to whatever their area of specialization happens to be.


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Times Journal interview

In 1991, a few months after The National Pastime was published and a few weeks after it was launched, I was interviewed for a now-defunct daily, the Times Journal. The session was a one-shot two-hour exchange that took place at the office of what was then the Film Department (now the Film Institute) of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication. Not all the points I wished to raise about film criticism came out, but then the purpose of the exercise (arranged by Anvil Publishing) was to publicize the book rather than raise issues.


Distinguishing the Film Critic from the Reviewer
Vanessa B. Ira

Since I grew up reading film reviews before the much-endorsed literary classics, it became my lifelong obsession to find out just what “film reviewers” are. They analyze current movies, fine, but if this were so, where do the “film critics” come in? What is a film “reviewer” and what is a film “critic”?

11011A call from Joel David, University of the Philippines film professor and author of a new book of “over 50 reviews” called The National Pastime, allowed for either the validation or demolition of personal guesses, observations, and biases. Since I was sure I’d never be the same after an authority set straight my thinking on the matter, I scribbled some of these views, as they say, for posterity.

11011I repeat, the following definitions are “pre-Joel David,” and do not at all reflect his views or opinions:

11011Film reviewers use the “I” more than the film critic – draw your own conclusions from here. The word for film critics is “intense,” the words for film reviewers are “casually passionate” (especially when they’re doing the worst of the worst Regal movies).

11011The film critics’ language takes some getting used to (“putative,” “proferred,” “decontextualizes”) while the film reviewers’ is like, well, ya know, like this. Film critics are name-droppers, film reviewers are “phrase-coiners.”

11011Film critics are long-distance runners, film reviewers are quick-writes. Film reviewers have more fun and it shows, film critics may have fun doing what they’re doing but refuse to show it. Film reviewers write for moviegoers while film critics write for film critics and film students. Film critics are “teacher-types” while film reviewers are “student-types.”

11011To be sure, I read the distinguished professor’s (there, I sound like a critic) book before the interview. I did not wish to go out there in UP territory lambasting film “critics” or “reviewers” only to find out that Joel David was one or the other. To be sure too, I asked him point-blank what he calls himself.

11011“I prefer the badge of honor [to be called a] film critic,” David answered my question.

11011From there, he distinguished the reviewer from the critic.

11011“The more serious of film students would probably appreciate critics’ writings more,” David said. “Then again, reviews and criticisms serve different purposes. Reviews show how a person responded to a film so there is this tendency to become personalistic. There is also the tendency for reviewers to get known.”

11011A critic, on the other hand, owes it to himself to be critical of his own subjectivity. Ideas matter more than any reference to the personal. As a critic, one has the option to “defer judgment.” In a way, one must humble oneself.

11011If one were to draw two extremes, David, explained, reviewing is to journalism as criticism is to film theory and the application thereof. So it is that there are more expectations for film critics to have some sort of a film education.

11011The last point was particularly intriguing. I had always wondered how local film critics felt about treating in all seriousness an industry which generally refuses to take itself seriously. In short, isn’t a painstakingly written critique of Pido Dida much ado about nothing? Absurd?

11011Joel David came alive and caused us to unexpectedly veer away from the original topic of the interview. From thereon, we talked about the film critics in our society. The professor lamented that some local reviewers make their analyses using Hollywood standards. This isn’t practical in a nation that cannot afford slick-looking movies.

11011“We’re asking Filipino reviewers not to question in the traditional way,” David said. “Because if you do, you’ll wind up condemning the taste of the masses. We cannot rely purely on aesthetics.”

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11011The goal is to understand Filipino culture and society even better by turning to different approaches in evaluating our films. It works this way: You don’t, for instance, write that “Maging Sino Ka Man is a commercial film that teams up the komiks queen Sharon [Cuneta] with the number one action star Robin [Padilla]. She screams, he hardly talks, just grunts.”

11011The way of the (local) critic is to take note of the last few box-office hits and compare them with this latest one. What do they have in common?

11011The way of the critic is to note that Maging Sino Ka Man and Pido Dida have leading men who are poles apart from their leading ladies in character and in looks. That they have politicians’ kids – Kris Aquino and Sharon Cuneta – carrying the films. What does this say then about showbiz and politics in this country? How do these affect the moviegoing habits of the Pinoy?

11011“Then too, critics should be aware of the aesthetics of poverty,” David said. “It’s a matter of their compensating in other areas such as storytelling, subject matter, and treatment.”

11011Readers of Joel David’s collection of reviews will recognize the critic’s standards. The reviews in The National Pastime: Contemporary Cinema were written over a ten-year period, since the time David was graduated from UP with a second degree in Film.

11011“I was supposed to cover film press previews,” he recalled his earlier days. “But because I was usually late for the events, I’d end up reviewing the movies.”

11011The officers of the Manunuri [ng Pelikulang Pilipino, or the Filipino Film Critics Circle] liked David’s reviews so much that they invited him to join.

11011“Of all the local critics,” David said, “I admire Bien Lumbera the most. He came at a time culture, not to mention film, was not taken seriously. He came at a time when the criteria for judging cultural pieces were Western-oriented. But Lumbera rose above that.

11011“He came up with the insight that one way of understanding Tagalog films is by relating them to traditional forms of Pinoy entertainment such as the zarzuela and bodabil.”

11011Whenever he thinks of Lumbera, David realizes that his own struggle wasn’t as momentous. David and his colleagues from the recently formed Young Critics Circle come at a time when Filipinos are conscious of defining their identity.

11011Said David: “We may be semi-confused, but we also have to accept that we are still young culturally. It’s really a matter of determining who we are.”

11011Isn’t it ironic, I asked, that as the rest of the world is gearing itself for life in the so-called Global Village, here we are, turning inward, and perhaps even defensive about anything not Filipino?

11011“Not really,” David said. “If we were to compete in international film festivals, for example, we would stand out by showing what makes us unique from the rest of the world. You become interesting to the foreign crowd that way.”

11011Speaking of filmmaking, does a good critic necessarily make a good movie maker?

11011“We owe it to ourselves to at least know how to make films, and to actually make them, so we don’t just tear other people’s films apart in our reviews.”

11011But does this hold true for that other kind of film judge – the film “reviewer”? Find out as soon as we discover ones willing to speak for their sort.

[First published March 12, 1991, in Times Journal]

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Gawad Lingap Sining citation

The 23rd Annual Filipino International Cine Festival

Filipino Arts & Cinema International (FACINE)
is pleased to honor
Professor Jose Hernani S. David
with the
Gawad Lingap Sining
Art Nurturing Award

for his exemplary work in Filipino film criticism and scholarship. His writings on Filipino cinema are widely considered as original, provocative, and insightful, with remarkable awareness of the contending yet complementary forces of the artistic pursuit of the filmmaker and the prerogatives of the mass audience; and his firm belief that film criticism is important in the development of film culture in the Philippines and elsewhere.

Given this 18th day of October in the year 2016,
on the occasion of
FACINE/23: the 23rd Annual Filipino International Cine Festival
held on October 18, 2016,
at the Diego Rivera Theater, City College of San Francisco,
and on October 19-22, 2016,
at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco, California, USA.

(Sgd.) Mauro Feria Tumbocon, Jr.
Founder/Director, FACINE


My Big Fat Critic Status

Before the days of personal computers, I had to draft everything on a typewriter, correct it, and type (and sometimes retype) the final version. I diligently kept all my drafts, as well as the latter-day floppy drives of the Commodore 64 where I managed to finalize my first two book manuscripts. Nearly everything was lost to floods and pilferage, though for some reason, the draft of the letter I wrote to the Filipino film critics’ circle survived. This was not the first time I mentioned my concerns about the group’s obsession with its much-vaunted awards, but this was the moment I first expressed my misgivings directly to the group. (The addressee, then-chair Gino Dormiendo, also subsequently left.) Needless to add, I never returned after taking this “leave,” and neither did the group members stop with their annual ceremonies. Upon my return from US graduate studies, I was asked (via an emissary) to consider rejoining, but by then I felt that our differences had become too vast to be reconcilable.

Letter re Manunuri status
April 26, 1985

Justino M. Dormiendo
Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino
Metro Manila

Dear Mr. Dormiendo:

I am writing to convey my intention of requesting for a change in status to that of a non-voting member of the MPP. I understand that no such position has been granted anyone who had been or has been in good standing with the organization, except through technicalities such as inclusion in the list of nominees or absence from deliberations for the year under consideration. The reason behind my appeal, however, is my disagreement in principle with the notion of critics handing out awards to the people whom they are morally committed to help. The effect of award-giving on a circle as small as our local film artists’ community is to foster competition of a divisive nature, instead of encouraging collective action even (and most especially) in the area of artistic production, which in the first place distinguishes filmmaking from most other popular artistic endeavors.

11011As a result, I find myself dismayed by an attitude on the part of the industry and the public as well – that of regarding the MPP as an award-giving body, as opposed to a genuine critics’ circle. Each award-giving ceremony has done nothing except reinforce this attitude, and even the MPP membership can be charged with playing along with this posture when the body becomes complete mainly during awards-related meetings.

11011Should this request be granted, I would only be glad to carry on with whatever contributions I could make toward the revival of the MPP’s original ideals as a critics’ group, including the finalizing of citations, which are not as competitive in the sense that awards are. I must also indicate that at the moment I cannot consider any alternative other than taking a leave from my membership, to be able to personally formulate resolutions regarding my perceptions of the present state and future directions of Filipino film criticism.

Yours truly, etc.

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