Faithful Radicals in Philippine Political Cinema

Laurence Marvin S. Castillo

University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

In this presentation, I look into the aesthetic and political regimes that underpin the notable figuring of Catholicism in contemporary Philippine political cinema. I particularly locate the visual and narrative deployment of Catholic spirituality in the filmic construction of what I refer to as the revolutionary imagination, which refers to creative figurations of the ongoing communist revolutionary struggle in the Philippines that embodies certain experiences, practices and vision of this unfinished political project. Here, I explore the ways in which historical films that depict narratives of communist radicalisation under the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos (1972-1986) such as Aparisyon (Apparition, 2012) and Barber’s Tales (2014) trace the affective and discursive intimacies between radical political action, and Catholic spirituality in the Philippines. Moreover, I analyse the narrative and visual strategies that the filmmakers employ to communicate particular ways of comprehending the political dynamics of faith, and the spiritual dimensions of political action.


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The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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