The End of National Cinema: Filipino Film at the Turn of the Century

Author: Patrick F. Campos

Reviewer: Jose Neil C. Garcia, Ph.D. (University of the Philippines Press, Director)

Patrick F. Campos’s The End of National Cinema: Filipino Film at the turn of the Century really is quite a luminous accomplishment in scholarly research and theoretical acuity, where he deftly and cogently negotiates the debates for and against dominant and emergent paradigms in the area of film research and criticism, using the vicissitudes of our own cinematic history as an interesting case in point.

Most interesting, of course, is his position that, in contradistinction to the thematic and representational content of many of our acclaimed and “touchstone” films, the technological, and financial mode of production—the very materiality—of this medium translocalized or cosmopolitanized it right from the get go, making the recent rejection of the rubric of nationality in making sense of this art from something of a long superseded fait accompli: a kind of super-delayed reaction or tellingly belated recognition of what really has been a long-established fact. It’s curious why this oversight was sustained in the scholarship and in the literature for so long (although I can tell him that the nostalgia of decolonization, to a certain extent, certainly played its protracted and mythmaking part). In any case, this critical insight informs his readings of a selection of important Filipino films—breathlessly proficient and entirely rewarding in the depth and sweep of their interpretive gestures.

A definite gem of a book, not just for film or media studies, but also for postnational, cosmopolitan, cultural, and global (re)theorizings, especially in our part of the restively transitioning and increasingly uneven world. The result, as many of you will agree—when you read the book—is a formidable work of astute and cutting-edge media scholarship.