Framing (and Manufacturing) Filipinoness: Rethinking World Cinema, Orientalism, Exoticism
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In this study I ask the following research question: How does orientalism, working through the imperial gaze, influence the way Filipino independent filmmakers create films that portray a certain kind of ‘Filipinoness’? I look at how this notion of ‘Filipinoness’, in turn, reinforces the construction and representation of Filipino films, and Philippine cinema as a whole, as a feminized, exoticized, Far Eastern cinematic Other, by focusing on three contemporary, independent Filipino films – Engkwentro (Encounter, 2009), Tirador (Slingshot, 2007), and Kinatay (The Execution of P, 2009) – that had been exhibited and recognized at the ‘Big Three’ of European film festivals, namely, Cannes, Berlin, and Venice. Using gender postcolonial analysis, I examine four important issues: the problematization of world cinema and its relation to Philippine cinema; the discussion on orientalism, neorientalism, exoticism, and imperial gaze and its relation to self-exoticization; medium specificity and textual analysis of the films; and the three films in relation to postcolonial exotic and staged marginality.