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Cineaste reviews Dream Factories of a Former Colony

By Noel Vera

Before anything, I’d like to say that 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 (just set that aside a minute) but because writings on Filipino films—especially serious, scholarly works—are few and sorely needed. There’s a near vacuum where analysis of Filipino films are involved, and it hurts our cinema, not just our reputation (why take our films seriously if film scholars won’t?) as well as means of financing (why invest in a cinema that’s largely without substance, mere entertainment?) and sense of motivated creativity (why engage in the arduous task of filmmaking for a cinema that’s largely without substance, mere entertainment?). Even the task of record keeping is erratically done—to this day we’re not sure just what prints are out there, and in what condition (the task of actually restoring and preserving these prints is another mission impossible entirely, one that deserves a full-length article, if not a book all its own).

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