The history of autonomous cultural production in the Philippines has been both blessed and cursed with a series of significant but contentious debates largely stemming from the nation’s historical battles with colonialism and how that experience problematized the concept of an easily definable national identity. Using geographical concepts surrounding place to open up new approaches to understanding local cultural production, this essay turns to Philippine cinema as a propaedeutic for this contested history and traces the emergence and difficulties of vernacular and regional cinemas in Cebu, Philippines.
Ang “Aswang” at “Tama(w)o” Bilang Sinematikong Kaalamang-Bayan at Diyalektika ng Bansa at Rehiyon
Ang sanaysay na ito ay pagtatangka sa pagbuo at pagbasag sa mga diskurso ng “bayan” at “rehiyon,” kaugnay ng “aswang” at “tama(w)o,” na nakapunla sa mga pelikula ng Negrenseng direktor na si Richard Somes – “Lihim ng San Joaquin” mula sa Shake, Rattle, and Roll 2k5 (Monteverde, Monteverde, & Somes, 2005), Yanggaw (Cinema One Originals & Richard Somes, 2008), “Tamawo” mula sa Shake, Rattle, and Roll 13 (Monteverde, Monteverde, & Somes, 2011), at Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang (Calmerin, Kintanar, Samson-Martinez, & Somes, 2012). Gamit ang anyo ng katatakutan, inilalarawan ng apat na pelikula ang mga tila pangkaraniwang buhay sa hinaharayang laylayan ng bayan kung saan inilalarawan ang antagonistikong “katutubong sistema ng paniniwala,” ang tinatanaw na atrasadong buhay sa kanayunan, at ang mapanupil na sistema ng asyenda. Ang mga dalumat na ito ng panahon at espasyo ay ipinapalagay bilang hugpungan ng mga nagdidigmaang proseso ng dikotomiya at pagkakaiba sa pagitan ng nayon at siyudad, laylayan at sentro, Sarili at Iba, at bayan at rehiyon. Sa huli, sa pamamagitan nang pagbasa sa mga pelikula ni Somes bilang “sinematikong kaalamang-bayan” (filmic folklore), nilalayon ng sanaysay na tasahin at muling hubugin ang mga nilalang na “aswang” at “tama(w)o” bilang balon at artikulasyon ng rehiyonal at pambansang “kasaysayan ng pandama” (history of emotions).
This essay attempts to construct and deconstruct the discourses of “nation” (bayan) and “region” (rehiyon) vis-à-vis “aswang” and “tama(w)o” embedded in the films of Negrense filmmaker Richard Somes – “Lihim ng San Joaquin” from Shake, Rattle, and Roll 2k5 (Monteverde, Monteverde, & Somes, 2005), Yanggaw (Arguelles, Montelibano, Montelibano, & Somes, 2008), “Tamawo” from Shake, Rattle, and Roll 13 (Monteverde, Monteverde, & Somes, 2011), and Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang (Calmerin, Kintanar, Samson-Martinez, & Somes, 2012). Using the horror genre, the four films present the quotidian lives from the nation’s peripheries through the depiction of the antagonized “indigenous belief systems,” imagined backward-ness of the bucolic landscape, and oppressive hacienda systems. These spatio-temporal dispositifs are deemed to result in the contested processes of the dichotomy and vicissitudes between rural and urban, margin and center, Self and Other, and nation and region. Finally, by considering Somes’s films as “filmic folklore,” the essay tries to configure and reconfigure the folk creatures “aswang” and “tama(w)o” as cornucopia and articulations of regional and national “history of emotions.”
Alternative Modes of Distribution and Exhibition: Cebuano Cinema from the Perspective of Cebuano Filmmakers
Although historically detached from the films of the so-called golden ages of Cebuano cinema in the 1950s and the 1970s, a new breed of Cebuano filmmakers have emerged in the 21st century. Through a series of interviews with Cebuano filmmakers, this article will map the alternative modes of distribution and exhibition in contemporary Cebuano cinema. In order to do this, the article begins with a discussion culled from a fresh interview with one of the brains behind the 1970s Cebuano blockbuster, Ang Manok ni San Pedro, Domingo Arong. Ang Manok provides a valuable roadmap for contemporary Cebuano filmmakers. In attempting to connect Ang Manok’s mode of distribution and exhibition with that of the contemporary Cebuano filmmakers, this article hopes to describe Cebuano cinema’s alternative modes of distribution and exhibition.