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Dream Factories of a Former Colony

American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema

2010
Author:

José B. Capino

Dream Factories of a Former Colony

How the Philippine postcolonial imagination represents the American colonizer

By tracking American fantasies in Philippine movies from the postindependence period to the present, José B. Capino offers an innovative account of cinema’s cultural work in decolonization and globalization. Through close readings of more than twenty Philippine movies, Capino demonstrates the postcolonial imagination’s vital role in generating pragmatic and utopian visions of living with empire.

A former colony of the United States, the Philippine nation has long had its own version of the American Dream, and José Capino does a superb job of analyzing how that bittersweet fantasy translates onto Philippine screens in this valuable book. With detailed examinations of key films from the Philippines as well as transnational productions, his groundbreaking study does so much more than provide an overview of Philippine cinema history; it makes a significant intervention in American/Philippine cultural studies and provides a novel way of approaching the connection between colonialism and global screen culture.

Gina Marchetti, author of Romance and the “Yellow Peril”: Race, Sex and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction

Philippine cinema, the dream factory of the former U.S. colony, teems with American figures and plots. Local movies feature GIs seeking Filipina brides, cold war spies hunting down native warlords, and American-born Filipinos wandering in the parental homeland. The American landscape furnishes the settings for the triumphs and tragedies of Filipino nurses, GI babies, and migrant workers.

By tracking American fantasies in Philippine movies from the postindependence period to the present, José B. Capino offers an innovative account of cinema’s cultural work in decolonization and globalization. Capino examines how a third world nation’s daydreams both articulate empire and mobilize against it, provide imaginary maps and fables of identity for its migrant workers and diasporan subjects, pose challenges to the alibis of patriarchy and nationalism, and open paths for participating in the cultures of globality.

Through close readings of more than twenty Philippine movies, Capino demonstrates the postcolonial imagination’s vital role in generating pragmatic and utopian visions of living with empire. Illuminating an important but understudied cinema, he creates a model for understanding the image of the United States in the third world.

Dream Factories of a Former Colony

José B. Capino is assistant professor of English and media and cinema studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Dream Factories of a Former Colony

A former colony of the United States, the Philippine nation has long had its own version of the American Dream, and José Capino does a superb job of analyzing how that bittersweet fantasy translates onto Philippine screens in this valuable book. With detailed examinations of key films from the Philippines as well as transnational productions, his groundbreaking study does so much more than provide an overview of Philippine cinema history; it makes a significant intervention in American/Philippine cultural studies and provides a novel way of approaching the connection between colonialism and global screen culture.

Gina Marchetti, author of Romance and the “Yellow Peril”: Race, Sex and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction

Capino’s writing is thorough and engaging, drawing from thinkers such as Frantz Fanon, Jacques Derrida, and Sigmund Freud, while maintaining a unique critical perspective.

Afterimage

José B. Capino’s Dream Factories of a Former Colony: American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema, is a precious gem, a resource of great value. Not only because it’s a particularly good or substantial and well-written critical study but because writings on Filipino films—especially serious, scholarly works—are few and sorely needed.

Cineaste

José B. Capino’s Dream Factories of a Former Colony: American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema is a groundbreaking study of post-World War II/post-1946 Filipino-made films that directly or indirectly address, highlight, and critique American empire. Capino presents a convincing argument and does a solid job of stringing this theme of American fantasy throughout the book. Capino’s book is an enjoyable read and is a marvelous contribution to those interested in film studies, American Studies, Asian Studies, and Asian American Studies.

Amerasia Journal

Dream Factories of a Former Colony

Contents

Note on Translations
Acknowledgments

Introduction: A Tale of Two Sisters
Part I. Visions of Empire
1. Terror Is a Man: Exploiting the Horrors of Empire
2. My Brother Is Not a Pig: American Benevolence and Philippine Sovereignty
3. (Not) Searching for My Father: G.I. Babies and Postcolonial Futures

Part II. Mobile Imaginaries
4. The Migrant Woman’s Tale: On Loving and Leaving Nations
5. Filipino American Dreams: The Cultural Politics of Diasporan Films

Part III. Global Ambitions
6. Naked Brown Brothers: Exhibitionism and Festival Cinema
7. Philippine Cinema’s Fatal Attractions: Appropriating Hollywood

Coda: A Tale of Two Brothers
Notes
Filmography
Index