Film criticism, and the practice of criticism in art, literature, and humanities in general, has been practiced in the Philippines under the tutelage of the culture industry and the bourgeois institutions of culture. Film criticism, in particular, has only developed its corpus as a self-serving reflection of its own triumphs and demise. It has not also aroused any critical change in the film industry’s trajectory, which has only woven film criticism into its promotional and marketing arm. Film criticism has only served the Filipino elite’s dream towards the perfection of its own image of Philippine Cinema.
The attempt to practice film criticism as pluralist, multi-perspective platform of opinion-making on the art and industry of filmmaking has only reduced film criticism’s critical function. Plurality is deluded by its own supposition that a multi-perspectival approach can supplement any democratic discourse. Plurality is another way to institutionalize the bourgeois project of “free thinking only for themselves” with the real world as external to them. Given their free time and intensified engagement with the culture industry, the bourgeois enterprise of criticism has only tolerated debates on moralist issues of representation.
Film education in the Philippines has
become an industry of its own, so to speak. The expansion of workshop-based
film education into actual academic film institutions, has not only signaled a
rise in the demand for film practitioners, but the rise of demand for a
specific kind: the educated film
practitioner—who later applies the credential in different branches of the
film industry as filmmakers (mostly), writers/critics, or educators, sometimes even
before finishing the program.
The Philippine Film Industry at large is dependent on the production of Feature Length Films as its primary commodity. Ideally, as an industry, what a Feature Length Film as a commodity should be standardized, and thus its workflow defined within the specific parameter of this standard. A lot of the workings within the Film Industry can be understood if we are to look closely at its final product and the rationale of its production.
In November 2019, the Philippine Film Industry continue to progress dissymmetrically, in favour of large production companies based in Metro Manila, oriented towards their expansion in the global market, with more international collaborations being inked and discussed this month.