Film: American Influences on Philippine Cinema

(Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2011).


This book is a sequel to Cine: Spanish Influences on Early Cinema in te Philippines, and part of Nick Deocampo’s extensive research on Philippine cinema. Tracing the beginnings of motion pictures from its Spanish roots, this book advances Deocampo’s scholarly study of cinema’s evolution in the hands of Americans. By bringing back cinema’s colonial past, he uncovers a significant theme in contemporary Philippine historiography: cinema as site for a Filipino identity amidst the hegemonic cultural domination of Hispanic and American influences. To this cultural battle, Deocampo uniquely contributes the concept of “trialectic,” adding to the two the nascent, but no less potent, native influence that would one day lead to the appropriation of cinema as “national” culture.

With unmatched scholarship and piercing insights on the subject, Deocampo constructs a history that is epic as it is thought-provoking. Brought into the discussion are epochal themes of war and colonialism, the birth of the Filipino nation, and the rise of cinema as “native’ entertainment. Illustrated with rare photos and illustrations, this book is a veritable time machine that creates through a materialist reading of the past the history of the 20th century’s celebrated invention.

Relying on a wealth of primary sources and newly-found documents and “lost” films, Deocampo installs the study of cinema as a legitimate object of scholarly investigation for social and cultural—even facets of political—history. With this book, Deocampo establishes himself as the Philippines’ leading film scholar and intellectual bearer of his country’s cultural past.