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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/252

Title: Primates in paradise: the multiple-character format in Philippine film practice
Authors: David, Jose Hernani S.
Issue Date: May-2002
Abstract: The multiple-character movie has its roots in European, later American, cinema. In the Philippines, however, multicharacter film production became a generic mode of film practice, with its own native coinage and set of specialists. What needs to be looked into is how such a necessarily complex mode of narrative presentation developed in an indigent context, and whether such a format served the function of a socially responsive practice. After laying out the problematics of the study in the first chapter, the roots of multicharacter film practice are traced in the second chapter to the neorealist-inspired prestige productions of the 1950’s studio system, wherein a “social” hero, usually female, would interact with various character types, influencing them and being influenced by them in turn. With the declaration of martial law in 1972 and the privileged position accorded cinema by the Marcos couple, filmmakers and producers were able to embark on a profitable strategy of launching stars in batches and featuring them in the same film project, without allowing any singular member to predominate. The third chapter looks at how Ishmael Bernal, a pioneer in the genre, started with the three-character minimum and preceded from love triangles to triangulated social relations that dispensed with erotic interest among the main players. The multiple-character movie thus effectively discarded the singular heroic or dual heroic/ antiheroic or heroic-couple narrative structure and utilized deep-focus compositions and multi-track sound systems to forward the impression of the society within the diegesis, without requiring any singular character to stand in for a mass of others. In the fourth chapter, the more successful attempts, specifically Bernal’s Manila by Night (1980), compensated for the reduction of individual roles the types instead of characters by advancing a singular, abstract social-character that the agglomeration and interaction of the various types constituted. And the last chapter, a description of the format is attempted, with the assertion that what the text actually winds up doing is introducing and developing “Manila”, an entity fully capable of undergoing the standard Aristotelian requisites of exposition, conflict, development, and resolution, minus the tendency in classical text to valorize singular individuals.
Description: Thesis(Ph.D : Philosophy). -- New York University, 2002.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/252
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