Event | Film
Philippine Cinema at KJCC
Venue: KJCC Auditorium • 53 Washington Square South
Related: Sulo: Film Series (VISIONS/PANAWIN)
As the torch (sulo) illuminates, once-obscured visions (panawin) arise from the dark. Part of the Sulo initiative, the Visions/Panawin Film Series showcases a film tradition that is now increasingly being recognized across international film circles. Philippine cinema, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019, has been a major industry in the world’s 12th most populous nation. Indicative of its artistic achievements, it has had several golden ages as referenced in the title of the 2018 MoMA retrospective A Third Golden Age: Philippine Contemporary Cinema.
Film is one of the favorite art forms that each generation of Filipinos/as have turned to in efforts to distill, reinterpret, and re-envision their arduous histories that have included clan wars; Spanish, American, and Japanese colonizations; authoritarian regimes; revolutions, both bloody and famously peaceful; and the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly interconnected world that depends on the Philippines as one of its global call-center hubs.
Notions of colonization and de-colonization and their psychological ramifications have been vital issues for centuries in the Philippines and its diaspora. Some of the best films reflect—directly or indirectly—how a nation has dealt with such burdens in ways—self-defeating or self-affirming—resulting in the destruction of indigenous traditions, the survival of local tongues (there are over 70 that persist) and cultures, authoritarianism, resistance, apathy, corruption, loss of self-respect, subversion, resilience, openness to new opportunities and cultures, compassion (a trait made famous by its diaspora of home and first responders), grace, and humor: the myriad ways in which the modern person navigates quickly changing mores and social constructs in a world continuously shrinking and expanding simultaneously.
Visions/Panawin can only present the tip of the iceberg of the best of Philippine cinema. It nevertheless hopes to address why we continue to go to movies or plays: to broaden our visions and understanding, to eavesdrop, to discover other worlds, and in the discourse also discover our most authentic selves.
—Gil Quito, Curator