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Globalized Domestic Work and Female Representation in Contemporary Women's Films in the Philippines

Globalized Domestic Work and Female Representation in Contemporary Women's Films in the Philippines

Distinguished Visitor Lecture by Professor Roland B. Tolentino, University of the Philippines Film Institute

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
12:00 PM - 1:45 PM
A2 Haines Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The impetus for Philippine national development rests on the export of its laborers.  This massive export that continues to increase through the years sustains Philippine development.  Films as cultural artifacts of nationhood provide a dialog to and critique of the economic and political impetus of national development.  This lecture will first map out the context of labor export in the Philippines, then proceed to analyze, in particular, globalized domestic work that emplaces the overseas Filipina domestic worker as a central figure in national development.  It then turns to the subgenre in film on the overseas contract worker and locates its development within female and feminist filmmaking in the Philippines. 

Lastly, it discusses the female representation in the films of three younger-generation women directors in the Philippines—Rory Quintos, Olivia Lamasan and Joyce Bernal--how their films provide the cultural imaginary that mediates the national development project for the film audience and citizens.  It foregrounds, in the centrality of the overseas Filipina domestic worker, her cultural politics that renders her as a partial citizen in the homeland and an absent one in the host land.  This cultural politics informs the film audience of either their own present predicament or future possibility as both dispossessed transnational professionals and partial citizens, and of the impossibility of hope amidst its intimate rendition in filmic melodrama.

Roland B. Tolentino is an Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines Film Institute, College of Mass Communication and in 2005-06, a Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore.  He completed his Ph.D. in Film, Literature and Culture at the University of Southern California.  His publications include co-editor, Transglobal Economies and Cultures: Contemporary Japan and Southeast Asia (2004), National/Transnational: Subject Formation and Media in and on the Philippines (2001), Sa loob at labas ng mall kong sawi/kaliluha’y siyang nangyayaring hari: Ang Pagkatuto at Pagtatanghal ng Kulturang Popular [Inside and outside my shattered mall/confusion reigns supreme: pedagogy and performance of popular culture] (2001), and Richard Gomez at ang Mito ng Pagkalalake, Sharon Cuneta at ang Perpetwal na Birhen at iba pang sanaysay hinggil sa bida sa pelikula bilang kultural na texto [Richard Gomez and the Masculine Myth, Sharon Cuneta and the Perpetual Virgin and other essays on film stars as cultural texts] (2000) which was the Winner of the Best Film Criticism Book, Manila Critics Circle, September 2001.


Cost : Free and open to the public. Parking in UCLA's Lot 2 costs $8.


Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Asian American Studies Center, Department of Gender Studies