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Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch
(which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts, tempo, meter, and
articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture.
Music is an ordered arrangement of sounds and silences whose meaning is presentative
rather than denotative. This definition distinguishes music, as an end in itself, from
compositional technique, and from sounds as purely physical objects. Music is the actualization
of the possibility of any sound whatever to present to some human being a meaning which he
experiences with his bodythat is to say, with his mind, his feelings, his senses, his will, and his
metabolism. It is therefore a certain reciprocal relation established between a person, his
behavior, and a sounding object.
Music is not a fact or a thing in the world, but a meaning constituted by human beings. To
talk about such experience in a meaningful way demands several things. First, we have to be
willing to let the composition speak to us, to let it reveal its own order and significance. Second,
we have to be willing to question our assumptions about the nature and role of musical materials.
Last, and perhaps most important, we have to be ready to admit that describing a meaningful
experience is itself meaningful.
Music, often an art/entertainment, is a total social fact whose definitions vary according
to era and culture.
The border between music and noise is always culturally definedwhich implies that,
even within a single society, this border does not always pass through the same place; in short,
there is rarely a consensus. By all accounts there is no single and intercultural universal concept
defining what music might be.
Organized sound
An often-cited definition of music is that it is organized sound, a term originally coined
by modernist composer Edgard Varse in reference to his own musical aesthetic. Varse's
concept of music as organized sound fits into his vision of sound as living matter and of
musical space as open rather than bounded. He conceived the elements of his music in terms of
sound-masses, likening their organization to the natural phenomenon of crystalization. Varse
thought that to stubbornly conditioned ears, anything new in music has always been
called noise, and he posed the question, what is music but organized noises?
The fifteenth edition of the Encyclopdia Britannica states that "while there are no
sounds that can be described as inherently unmusical, musicians in each culture have tended to
restrict the range of sounds they will admit." A human organizing element is often felt to be
implicit in music (sounds produced by non-human agents, such as waterfalls or birds, are often
described as "musical", but perhaps less often as "music"). The composer R. Murray
Schafer states that the sound of classical music "has decays; it is granular; it has attacks; it
fluctuates, swollen with impuritiesand all this creates a musicality that comes before any
'cultural' musicality." Before modernism, the aesthetics of classical music tended to predicate
regular,periodic sound features while excluding the acoustic complexity of noise. However, in
the view of semiologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez, "just as music is whatever people choose to
recognize as such, noise is whatever is recognized as disturbing, unpleasant, or both".
Many definitions of music implicitly hold that music is a communicative activity which
conveys to the listener moods, emotions, thoughts, impressions, or religious, philosophical,

sexual, or political concepts or positions. "Musical language" may be used to mean style or
genre, while music may be treated as language without being called such, as in Fred Lerdahl or
others' analysis of musical grammar. Levi R. Bryant defines music not as a language, but as a
marked-based, problem-solving method such as mathematics.
Musical universals
Often a definition of music lists the aspects or elements that make up music under that
definition. However, in addition to a lack of consensus, Jean Molino also points out that "any
element belonging to the total musical fact can be isolated, or taken as a strategic variable of
musical production." Nattiez gives as examples Mauricio Kagel's Con Voce with voice, where a
masked trio silently mimes playing instruments.
Following Wittgenstein, cognitive psychologist Eleanor Rosch proposes that categories
are not clean cut but that something may be more or less a member of a category. As such the
search for musical universals would fail and would not provide one with a valid definition.
Social construct
Post-modern and other theories argue that, like all art, music is defined primarily
by social context. According to this view, music is what people call music, whether it is a period
of silence, found sounds, or performance. Cage, Kagel, Schnebel, and others, according to
Nattiez, perceive certain of their pieces (even if they do not say so publicly) as a way of
speaking in music about music, in the second degree, as it were, to expose or denounce the
institutional aspect of music's functioning. Cultural background is a factor in determining music
from noise or unpleasant experiences. The experience of only being exposed to a particular type
of music influences perception of any music. Cultures of European descent are largely influenced
by music making use of the Diatonic scale.
Many people do, however, share a general idea of music. The Websters definition of
music is a typical example: the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in
combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and
Subjective experience
This approach to the definition focuses not on the construction but on the experience of
music. An extreme statement of the position has been articulated by the Italian
composer Luciano Berio: Music is everything that one listens to with the intention of listening
to music. Thus, music could include found sound structuresproduced by natural phenomena
or algorithmsas long as they are interpreted by means of the aesthetic cognitive processes
involved in music appreciation. This approach permits the boundary between music and noise to
change over time as the conventions of musical interpretation evolve within a culture, to be
different in different cultures at any given moment, and to vary from person to person according
to their experience and proclivities. It is further consistent with the subjective reality that even
what would commonly be considered music is experienced as nonmusic if the mind is
concentrating on other matters and thus not perceiving the sound's essence as music.
The word music comes from the Greek mousik (tekhn) by way of the Latin musica. It is
ultimately derived from mousa, the Greek word for muse. In ancient Greece, the
word mousike was used to mean any of the arts or sciences governed by the Muses. Later, in
Rome, ars musica embraced poetry as well as instrument-oriented music. In the European
Middle Ages, musica was part of the mathematical quadrivium: arithmetics, geometry,
astronomy and musica. The concept of musica was split into four major kinds by the fifth century

philosopher, Boethius: musica universalis, musica humana, musica instrumentalis, and musica
divina. Of those, only musica instrumentalis referred to music as performed sound.
Musica universalis or musica mundana referred to the order of the universe, as God had
created it in "measure, number and weight". The proportions of the spheres of the planets and
stars (which at the time were still thought to revolve around the earth) were perceived as a form
of music, without necessarily implying that any sound would be heardmusic refers strictly to
the mathematical proportions. From this concept later resulted the romantic idea of a music of
the spheres. Musica humana, designated the proportions of the human body. These were thought
to reflect the proportions of the Heavens and as such, to be an expression of God's greatness. To
Medieval thinking, all things were connected with each othera mode of thought that finds its
traces today in the occult sciences or esoteric thoughtranging from astrology to believing
certain minerals have certain beneficiary effects.
Musica instrumentalis, finally, was the lowliest of the three disciplines and referred to the
manifestation of those same mathematical proportions in soundbe it sung or played on
instruments. The polyphonic organization of different melodies to sound at the same time was
still a relatively new invention then, and it is understandable that the mathematical or physical
relationships infrequency that give rise to the musical intervals as we hear them, should be
foremost among the preoccupations of Medieval musicians.
Ashby, Arved, ed. 2004. The Pleasure of Modernist Music: Listening, Meaning, Intention,
Ideology. Eastman Studies in Music 29. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press. ISBN 158046-143-3.
Berio, Luciano, Rossana Dalmonte, and Blint Andrs Varga. 1985. Two Interviews, translated
and edited by David Osmond-Smith. New York: Marion Boyars. ISBN 0-7145-2829-3.
Chou Wen-chung. 1966a. "Open Rather Than Bounded". Perspectives of New Music 5, no. 1
(AutumnWinter): 16.
Chou Wen-chung. 1966b. "Varse: A Sketch of the Man and His Music". The Musical
Quarterly 52, no. 2 (April): 151170.
Clifton, Thomas. 1983. Music as Heard: A Study in Applied Phenomenology. New Haven and
London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-02091-0
Goldman, Richard Franko. 1961. Varse: Ionisation; Density 21.5; Intgrales; Octandre;
Hyperprism; Pome Electronique. Instrumentalists, cond. Robert Craft. Columbia MS 6146
(stereo) (in Reviews of Records). Musical Quarterly 47, no. 1. (January):13334.
Levitin, Daniel J. 2006. This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. New
York: Dutton. ISBN 0-525-94969-0.
Molino, Jean. 1975. "Fait musical et smiologue de la musique", Musique en Jeu, no. 17:3762.
Mousike, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
Nattiez, Jean-Jacques. 1990. Music and Discourse: Toward a Semiology of Music . Translated
by Carolyn Abbate. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-09136-6.
Rosch, Eleanor. 1973. "Natural Categories". Cognitive Psychology 4, no. 3 (May): 32850.
Varse, Edgard, and Chou Wen-chung. 1966. "The Liberation of Sound". Perspectives of New
Music 5, no. 1 (AutumnWinter): 1119.

The Philippines, an archipelago of 7,100 islands, is made up of 77 provinces grouped into

16 regions. The main groups include Luzon, the Visayan islands, and the Mindanao islands.
Based on religion, the population may be grouped into three broad categories: Christian groups,
indigenous religion groups, and Muslim groups. The Christian groups are the largest and are
concentrated in the lowlands of Luzon and the Visayan islands. Indigenous religion groups are
found in upland northern Luzon, Mindanao and Palawan. Muslim groups are concentrated in
Mindanao, the Sulu islands and southern Palawan.
Although, geographically, the Philippines belongs to the East, its music has been heavily
influenced by the West owing to 333 years of Spanish rule and 45 years of American domination.
Music in the highland and lowland hamlets where indigenous culture continues to thrive has
strong Asian elements. Spanish and American influences are highly evident in the music of the
urban areas. In discussing Philippine music, three main divisions are apparent: (1) an old Asian
influenced music referred to as the indigenous; (2) a religious and secular music influenced by
Spanish and European forms; and (3) an American/European inspired classical, semi-classical,
and popular music.
The Indigenous Traditions
The indigenous traditions are practiced by about 10% of the population. Eight percent of
this minority comprises some 50 language groups of people who live in the mountains of
northern Luzon and the islands of Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan, and Mindoro in southern and
western Philippines. The remaining 2% of these groups are the Muslims from Mindanao and
While there is no written information about the music in the Philippines before the arrival
of Magellan in 1521, subsequent reports made by friars, civil servants and travelers include
descriptions of instrumental and vocal music--sometimes mentioned in passing, other times in
greater detail. From these documents, various kinds of interments made of bronze, bamboo, or
wood are cited. These include gongs of various kinds of size and shapes, drums, flutes of
different types, zithers, lutes, clappers, and buzzers. Vocal genres include epics relating
genealogies and exploits of heroes and gods; work songs related to planting, harvesting, fishing;
ritual songs to drive away evil spirits or to invoke blessings from the good spirits; songs to
celebrate festive occasions particularly marriage, birth, victory at war, or the settling of tribal
disputes; mourning songs for the dead; courting songs; and children's game songs. It is this type
of music that is still practiced today by the indigenous groups.
The Spanish-European Influenced Traditions
With the coming of the Spaniards the Filipino's music underwent a transformation with
the influx of western influences, particularly the Spanish-European culture prevalent during the
17th to the 19th centuries. The Hispanization during the succeeding three centuries after 1521 was
tied up with religious conversion. It effected a change in the people's musical thinking and what
emerged was a hybrid expression tinged with Hispanic flavor. It produced a religious music
connected to and outside the Catholic liturgy and a European-inspired secular music adapted by
the Filipinos and reflected in their folk songs and instrumental music.
The American Influenced Traditions
The American regime lasted from 1898 to 1946 during which time Philippine music
underwent another process of transformation.
In the newly established public school system, music was included in the curriculum at
the elementary and later at the high school levels. Music conservatories and colleges were
established at the tertiary level. Graduates from these institutions included the first generation of

Filipino composers whose works were written in western idioms and forms. Their works and
those of the succeeding generations of Filipino composers represent the classical art music
tradition which continues to flourish today.
Side by side with this classical art music tradition was a lighter type of music. This semiclassical repertoire includes stylized folk songs, theater music, and instrumental music.
The sarswela tradition produced a large body of music consisting of songs patterned after opera
arias of the day as well as short instrumental overtures and interludes.
The strong band tradition in the Philippines, which began during the previous Spanish
period and which continues to this day, produced outstanding musicians, composers and
performers. Another popular instrumental ensemble was the rondalla which superceded an
earlier type of ensemble called the cumparsa. The latter was an adaptation of similar
instrumental groups, the murza of Mexico and the estudiantina of Spain.
American lifestyle and pop culture gave rise to music created by Filipinos using western
pop forms. Referred to as Pinoy pop it includes a wide range of forms: folk songs, dance tunes,
ballads, Broadway type songs, rock' n' roll, disco, jazz, and rap.
These three main streams of Philippine music-- indigenous, Spanish influenced religious
and secular music, American/European influenced classical, semi-classical, and popular music
comprise what we refer to today as Philippine music.
Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present
the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The
performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture,
speech, song, music, and dance. Elements of design and stagecraft are used to enhance the
physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience. The specific place of the performance is
also named by the word "theatre" as derived from the Ancient Greek (thatron, a place
for viewing), itself from (theomai, to see, to watch, to observe).
Modern Western theatre derives in large measure from ancient Greek drama, from which
it borrows technical terminology, classification into genres, and many of its themes, stock
characters, and plot elements. Theatre scholar Patrice Pavis defines theatricality, theatrical
language, stage writing, and the specificity of theatre as synonymous expressions that
differentiate theatre from the other performing arts, literature, and the arts in general.
Theatre today, broadly defined, includes performances of plays and musicals, ballets,
operas and various other forms.
M. Carlson, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, 2011
Pavis, Patrice. 1998. Dictionary of the Theatre: Terms, Concepts, and Analysis. Trans. Christine
Shantz. Toronto and Buffalo: U of Toronto P. ISBN 978-0-8020-8163-6.


Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from
a Greek word meaning action, which is derived from the verb ,dr, to do or to act.
The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience,
presupposes collaborative modes of production and a collective form of reception. The structure
of dramatic texts, unlike other forms of literature, is directly influenced by this collaborative
production and collective reception. The early modern tragedy Hamlet (1601) by Shakespeare
and the classical Athenian tragedy Oedipus the King (c. 429 BCE) by Sophocles are among the
masterpieces of the art of drama.
A modern example is Long Day's Journey into
Night by Eugene O'Neill (1956).
Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been contrasted with
the epic and the lyrical modes ever since Aristotle's Poetics (c. 335 BCE)the earliest work
of dramatic theory. The use of drama in the narrow sense to designate a specific type of play
dates from the 19th century. Drama in this sense refers to a play that is neither a comedy nor a
tragedyfor example, Zola's Thrse Raquin (1873) or Chekhov's Ivanov (1887). In Ancient
Greece however, the word drama encompassed all theatrical plays, tragic, comic, or anything in
Drama is often combined with music and dance: the drama in opera is generally sung
throughout; musicals generally include both spoken dialogue and songs; and some forms of
drama have incidental or musical accompaniment underscoring the dialogue (melodrama and
Japanese N, for example). In certain periods of history (the ancient Roman and modern
Romantic) some dramas have been written to be read rather than performed. In improvisation,
the drama does not pre-exist the moment of performance; performers devise a dramatic script
spontaneously before an audience.
Musical theatre
Music and theatre have had a close relationship since ancient timesAthenian tragedy,
for example, was a form of dance-drama that employed a chorus whose parts were sung (to the
accompaniment of an aulosan instrument comparable to the modern clarinet), as were some of
the actors' responses and their 'solo songs' (monodies). Modern musical theatre is a form of
theatre that also combines music, spoken dialogue, and dance. It emerged from comic
opera (especially Gilbert and Sullivan), variety, vaudeville, and music hall genres of the
late 19th and early20th century. After the Edwardian musical comedy that began in the 1890s,
the Princess Theatre musicals of the early 20th century, and comedies in the 1920s and 1930s
(such as the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein), with Oklahoma! (1943), musicals moved in a
more dramatic direction. Famous musicals over the subsequent decades included My Fair
Lady (1956), West
Story (1957), The Fantasticks (1960), Hair (1967), A Chorus
Line (1975), Les Misrables (1980) and The Phantom of the Opera (1986), as well as more
contemporary hits including Rent (1994), The Lion King (1997) and Wicked (2003).
Musical theatre may be produced on an intimate scale Off-Broadway, in regional theatres,
and elsewhere, but it often includes spectacle. For instance, Broadway and West End musicals
often include lavish costumes and sets supported by multi-million dollar budgets.
Theatre productions that use humour as a vehicle to tell a story qualify as comedies. This
may include a modern farce such as Boeing Boeing or a classical play such as As You Like It.

Theatre expressing bleak, controversial or taboo subject matter in a deliberately humorous way is
referred to as black comedy.
Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain
magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being
found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear
effecting the proper purgation of these emotions.Aristotle, Poetics
Aristotle's phrase several kinds being found in separate parts of the play is a reference
to the structural origins of drama. In it the spoken parts were written in the Attic dialect whereas
the choral (recited or sung) ones in the Doric dialect, these discrepancies reflecting the differing
religious origins and poetic metres of the parts that were fused into a new entity, the
theatrical drama.
Tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role
historically in the self-definition of Western civilization. That tradition has been multiple and
discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect of cultural
identity and historical continuitythe Greeks and the Elizabethans in one cultural form;
Hellenes and Christians, in a common activity, as Raymond Williams puts it. From its obscure
origins in the theatres of Athens 2500 years ago, from which there survives only a fraction of the
work of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, through its singular articulations on the works of
Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Racine, and Schiller, to the more recent naturalistic tragedy of
Strindberg, Becketts modernist meditations on death, loss and suffering, and Mllers
postmodernist reworking of the tragic canon, tragedy has remained an important site of cultural
experimentation, negotiation, struggle, and change. In the wake of Aristotle's Poetics (335 BCE),
tragedy has been used to make genre distinctions, whether at the scale of poetry in general
(where the tragic divides against epic and lyric) or at the scale of the drama (where tragedy is
opposed to comedy). In the modern era, tragedy has also been defined against drama,
melodrama, the tragicomic, and epic theatre.
Improvisation has been a consistent feature of theatre, with the Commedia dell'arte in the
sixteenth century being recognized as the first improvisation form. Popularized by Nobel Prize
Winner Dario and troupes such as the Upright Citizens Brigade improvisational theatre continues
to evolve with many different streams and philosophies. Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin are
recognized as the first teachers of improvisation in modern times, with Johnstone exploring
improvisation as an alternative to scripted theatre and the American Spolin and her successors
exploring improvisation principally as a tool for developing dramatic work or skills or as a form
for situational comedy.
Banham, Martin, ed. 1998. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre.Cambridge: Cambridge UP. ISBN
Burt, Daniel S. 2008. The Drama 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Plays of All Time. New York:
Facts on File. ISBN 978-0-8160-6073-3.
Elam, Keir. 1980. The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama. New Accents Ser. London and New
York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-03984-0
Fergusson, Francis. 1949. The Idea of a Theater: A Study of Ten Plays, The Art of Drama in a
Changing Perspective.Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1968. ISBN 0-691-01288-1.

Jones, John Bush. 2003. Our Musicals, Ourselves: A Social History of the American Musical
Theatre. Hanover: Brandeis UP.ISBN 1-58465-311-6.
Moreh, Shmuel. 1986. "Live Theater in Medieval Islam." InStudies in Islamic History and
Civilization in Honour of Professor David Ayalon. Ed. Moshe Sharon. Cana, Leiden: Brill. 565
601. ISBN 978-965-264-014-7.
Pfister, Manfred. 1977. The Theory and Analysis of Drama. Trans. John Halliday. European
Studies in English Literature Ser. Cambridige: Cambridge University Press, 1988. ISBN 978-0521-42383-0.
Rehm, Rush. 1992. Greek Tragic Theatre. Theatre Production Studies ser. London and New
York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-11894-8.
Taxidou, Olga. 2004. Tragedy, Modernity and Mourning. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP. ISBN 07486-1987-9.
Williams, Raymond. 1966. Modern Tragedy. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 0-7011-1260-3.


I. The 1930s to 1940s
A. Early Philippine Films
Filipinos started making movies in 1919. However, it would be important to know that
the film industry in the Philippines began through the initiative of foreign entrepreneurs. Two
Swiss entrepreneurs introduced film shows in Manila as early as 1897, regaling audiences with
documentary films lips showing recent events and natural calamities in Europe. Not only that
but the arrival of the silent films, along with American colonialism, in 1903 created a movie
market. But these film clips were still novelties. They failed to hold the audiences attention
because of their novelty and the fact that they were about foreigners. When two American
entrepreneurs made a film in 1912 about Jose Rizals execution, the sensation they made it clear
that the Filipinos need for material close to their hearts. This heralded the making of the first
Filipino film.
The credit of being the first Filipino to make a film goes to Jose Nepumuceno, whom
historians dub as the Father of Philippine Movies. Nepumucenos first film was based on a
highly-acclaimed musical play of that day, Dalagang Bukid (Country Maiden) by Hemogenes
Ilagan and Leon Ignacio.
In those early years of filmmaking, enormous capital was needed to keep up with the
Hollywood industry. Despite its weak points, Hollywood provided the Philippine film industry
with examples that the early filmmakers followed. It is not surprising that many of those same
genres set so many years ago still appear in contemporary Philippine films. But it was difficult to
match Hollywood style in those days with the meager capital set aside for the developing film
industry. Ironically, the same people who helped the film industry develop as a form of
expression were the same ones who suppressed this expression.

Early film producers included wealthy Spaniards, American businessmen and Filipino
landlords and politicians. It is not surprising thatpre-war Philippine movieswere inhibited
from expressing their views that might question the establishment and were encouraged instead
to portray the love and reconciliation between members of different classes
Starting with Dalagang Bukid, early films dug into traditional theater forms for character
types, twists and turns in the plot, familiar themes and conventions in acting. This set the trend of
Philippine films based entirely on immensely popular dramas or sarswelas. Besides providing
ready materials, this device of using theater pieces ensured an already existing market. From the
komedya of the sarswela, the typical Filipino aksyon movie was to develop. The line dividing the
good and the bad in the komedya was religion with the Christians being the good and the Moors
representing the bad. In present movies, the line that divides the two is now law or class division.
The sinakulo or the passion play was the root of the conventional Filipino melodrama. The
Virgin Mary became the all-suffering, all-forgiving Filipino Mother and Jesus was the savior
of societies under threat and the redeemer of all those who have gone wrong. Another source of
movie themes was Philippine literature. Francisco Baltazar and Jose Rizal, through the classics
for which they were famous, have given the industry situations and character types that continue
to this day to give meat to films both great and mediocre.
Finally, by the 1930s, a few film artists and producers dared to stray from the guidelines
and commented on sociopolitical issues, using contemporary or historical matter. Director, actor,
writer and producer Julian Manansalas film Patria Amore (Beloved Country) was almost
suppressed because of its anti-Spanish sentiments. This earned him the honor of being dubbed
the Father of the Nationalistic Film.
Its own share of movie audience and acclaim for local movie stars were signs that the
movie industry from 1919 to the 1930s had succeeded. Despite the competition coming from
Hollywood, the film industry thrived and flourished. When the 1930s came to a close, it was
clear that moviegoing had established itself in the Filipino.
B. Wartime Films and the Effect on Philippine Films
The Japanese Occupation introduced a new player to the film industry the Japanese;
and a new role for film propaganda.
The Pacific War brought havoc to the industry in 1941. The Japanese invasion put a halt
to film activity when the invaders commandeered precious film equipment for their own
propaganda needs. The Japanese brought their own films to show to Filipino audiences. The
films the Japanese brought failed to appeal to audiences the same way the Hollywood-made
movies or the locally-made films did. Later on, Japanese propaganda offices hired several local
filmmakers to make propaganda pictures for them. One of these filmmakers was Gerardo de
The war years during the first half of the Forties virtually halted filmmaking activities
save for propaganda work that extolled Filipino-Japanese friendship, such as The Dawn of
Freedom made by director Abe Yutaka and associate director Gerardo de LeonLess
propagandistic was Tatlong Maria (Three Marias), directed in 1944, by Gerardo de Leon and
written for the screen by Tsutomu Sawamura from Jose Esperanza Cruzs novelDespite the
destruction and hardships of the war, the peoplefound time for entertainment; and when
movies were not being made or importedthey turned to live theaterwhich provided
alternative jobs for displaced movie folk. The war years may have been the darkest in film

This period turned out to be quite beneficial to the theater industry. Live theater began to
flourish again as movie stars, directors and technicians returned to the stage. Many found it as a
way to keep them from being forgotten and at the same time a way to earn a living.
In 1945the film industry was already staggering to its feet. The entire nation had gone
through hell and there were many stories to tell about heroic deeds and dastardly crimes during
the 3 years of Japanese occupation. A Philippine version of the war movie had emerged as a
genre in which were recreated narratives of horror and heroism with soldiers and guerillas as
protagonistsaudiences still hungry for new movies and still fired up by the patriotism and
hatred for foreign enemies did not seem to tire of recalling their experiences of war.
Movies such as Garrison 13 (1946), Dugo ng Bayan (The Countrys Blood, 1946),
Walang Kamatayan (Deathless, 1946), and Guerilyera (1946) , told the people the stories they
wanted to hear: the heroes and the villains of the war. The war, however, had left other traces that
were less obvious than war movies that were distinctly Filipino. As Patronilo BN. Daroy said in
his essay Main Currents in Filipino Cinema: World War II left its scars on the Filipinos
imagination and heightened his sense of reality
II. The 1950s to 1970s
A. The Golden Age of Philippine Films
The 1950s were considered a time of rebuilding and growth. But remnants from the
preceding decade of the 40s remained in the form of war-induced reality. This is seen is
Lamberto Avellanas Anak Dalita (The Ruins, 1956), the stark tragedy of post-WWII survival set
in Intramuros. The decade saw frenetic activity in the film industry which yielded what might be
regarded as the first harvest of distinguished films by Filipinos. Two studios before the war,
namely Sampaguita Pictures and LVN, reestablished themselves. Bouncing back quickly, they
churned out movie after movie to make up for the drought of films caused by the war. Another
studio, Premiere Productions, was earning a reputation for the vigor and the freshness of some
of its films. This was the period of the Big Four when the industry operated under the studio
system. Each studio (Sampaguita, LVN, Premiere and Lebran) had its own set of stars,
technicians and directors, all lined up for a sequence of movie after movie every year therefore
maintaining a monopoly of the industry. The system assured moviegoers a variety of fare for a
whole year and allowed stars and directors to improve their skills.
Critics now clarify that the 50s may be considered one Golden Age for the Filipino film
not because film content had improved but because cinematic techniques achieved an artistic
breakthrough in that decade. This new consciousness was further developed by local and
international awards that were established in that decade.
Awards were first instituted that decade. First, the Manila Times Publishing Co. set up the
Maria Clara Awards. In 1952, the FAMAS (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences)
Awards were handed out. More so, Filipino films started garnering awards in international film
festivals. One such honor was bestowed on Manuel Condes immortal movie Genghis Khan
(1952) when it was accepted for screening at the Venice Film Festival. Other honors include
awards for movies like Gerardo de Leons Ifugao (1954) and Lamberto Avellanas Anak Dalita.
This established the Philippines as a major filmmaking center in Asia. These awards also had the
effect of finally garnering for Filipino films their share of attention from fellow Filipinos.
B. The Decline of Philippine Film
If the 1950s were a ubiquitous period for film, the decade that followed was a time of
decline. There was rampant commercialism and artistic decline as portrayed on the following:

In the 1960s, the foreign films that were raking in a lot of income were action pictures
sensationalizing violence and soft core sex films hitherto banned from Philippine theater screens,
Italian spaghetti Westerns, American James Bond-type thrillers, Chinese/Japanese martial arts
films and European sex melodramas. Toget an audience to watch their films, (the independent)
producers had to take their cue from these imports. The result is a plethora of filmsgiving rise
to such curiosities as Filipino samurai and kung fu masters, Filipino James Bonds andthe
bomba queen.
The studio systems came under siege from the growing labor movement which resulted
in labor-management conflicts. The first studio to close was Lebran followed by Premiere
Productions. Next came the Sampaguita and LVN. The Big Four studios were replaced by new
and independent producers who soon made up the rest of the film industry.
The decade also saw the emergence of the youth revolt best represented by the Beatles
and the rock and roll revolution. They embodied the wanting to rebel against adult institutions
and establishments. Certain new film genres were conceived just to cater to this revolt. Fan
movies such as those of the Tita and Pancho and Nida and Nestor romantic pairings of the
50s were the forerunners of a new kind of revolution the teen love team revolution. Nora
Aunor and Vilma Santos, along with Tirso Cruz III and Eddie Mortiz as their respective screen
sweethearts, were callow performers during the heyday of fan movies. Young audiences made up
of vociferous partisans for Guy and Pip or Vi and Bot were in search of role models who
could take the place of elders the youth revolt had taught them to distrust
Another kind of youth revolt came in the form of the child star. Roberta (1951) of
Sampaguita Pictures was the phenomenal example of the drawing power of movies featuring
[these] child stars. In the 60s this seemed to imply rejection of adult corruption as exposed by
childhood innocence.
The film genres of the time were direct reflections of the disaffection with the status
quo at the time. Action movies with Pinoy cowboys and secret agents as the movers of the
plots depicted a society ravaged by criminality and corruption . Movies being make-believe
worlds at times connect that make-believe with the social realities. These movies suggest a
search for heroes capable of delivering us from hated bureaucrats, warlords and villains of our
society. The action films of the 1960s brought into the industry a new savage rhythm that made
earlier action films seem polite and stage managed. The pacing of the new action films was fast
as the narrative had been pared down to the very minimum of dialogues. And in keeping up with
the Hollywood tradition, the action sequences were even more realistic.
Another film genre that is perhaps also a embodiment of the revolt of the time is the
bomba genre. Probably the most notorious of all, this genre appeared at the close of the decade.
Interestingly, it came at a time when social movement became acknowledged beyond the walls
of campuses and of Manila.
In rallies, demonstrations and other forms of mass action, the national democratic
movement presented its analysis of the problems of Philippine society and posited that only a
social revolution could bring genuine change. The bomba film was a direct challenge to the
conventions and the norms of conduct of status quo, a rejection of authority of institutions in
regulating the life urge seen as natural and its free expression honest and therapeutic.
Looking beyond the obvious reasons as to the emergence of the bomba film, both as
being an exploitative product of a profit-driven industry and as being a stimulant, it can be
analyzed as actually being a subversive genre, playing up to the establishment while rebelling
and undermining support for the institutions.

Even in the period of decline, genius has a way of showing itself. Several Philippine
films that stood out in this particular era were Gerardo de Leons Noli Me Tangere (Touch me
Not, 1961) and El Filibusterismo (Subversion, 1962). Two other films by Gerardo de Leon made
during this period is worth mentioning Huwag mo Akong Limutin (Never Forget Me , 1960)
and Kadenang Putik (Chain of Mud, 1960), both tales of marital infidelity but told with insight
and cinematic import.
C. Films during Martial Law
In the 60s, the youth clamored for change in the status quo. Being in power, Ferdinand
Marcos answered the youth by placing the nation under martial rule.
In 1972, he sought to contain growing unrest which the youth revolt of the 1960s fueled.
Claiming that all he wanted was to save the Republic, Marcos retooled the liberal-democratic
political system into an authoritarian government which concentrated power in a dictators hand.
To win the population over, mass media was enlisted in the service of the New Society. Film
was a key component of a society wracked with contradictions within the ruling class and
between the sociopolitical elite and the masses.
In terms of comparisons, the Old Society (or the years before Martial Law) became the
leading symbol for all things bad and repugnant. The New Society was supposed to represent
everything good a new sense of discipline, uprightness and love of country. Accordingly, the
ideology of the New Society was incorporated into local films.
Marcos and his technocrats sought to regulate filmmaking. The first step was to control
the content of movies by insisting on some form of censorship. One of the first rules
promulgated by the Board of Censors for Motion Pictures (BCMP) stipulated submission of a
finished script prior to the start of filming. When the annual film festival was revived, the
censors blatantly insisted that the ideology of the New Society be incorporated into the content
of the entries.
The government tried to control the film industry while keeping it in good humor
necessary so that the government could continue using film as propagandistic vehicles. So
despite the censors, the exploitation of sex and violence onscreen continued to assert itself.
Under martial law, action films depicting shoot outs and sadistic fistfights ( which were as
violent as ever) usually append to the ending an epilogue claiming that the social realities
depicted had been wiped out with the establishment of the New Society. The notorious genre of
sex or bomba films that appeared in the preceding decade were now tagged as bold films,
simply meaning that a lot more care was given to the costumes.
Martial Law declared in 1972 clamped down on bomba films as well as political movies
critical of the Marcos administration. But the audiences taste for sex and nudity had already
been whetted. Producers cashed in on the new type of bomba, which showed female stars
swimming in their underwear, taking a bath in their camison (chemise), or being chased and
raped in a river, sea, or under a waterfall. Such movies were called the wet look
One such movie was the talked about Ang pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa
(The Most Beautiful Animal on the Face of the Earth, 1974) starring former Miss Universe
Gloria Diaz.
However, the less-than-encouraging environment of the 70s gave way to the ascendancy
of young directors who entered the industry in the late years of the previous decade Directors
such as Lino Brocka, best remembered for his Maynila, Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila, In
the Claws of Neon Lights, 1975), Ishmael Bernal, director of the Nora Aunor film Himala
(Miracle, 1982) and Celso Ad. Castillo, whose daring works portrayed revolt, labor unionism,

social ostracism and class division, produced works that left no doubt about their talent in
weaving a tale behind the camera.
Another welcomed result that came from martial rule was the requirement of a script
prior to filming. This was an innovation to a film industry that made a tradition out of
improvising a screenplay. Although compliance with the requirement necessarily meant
curtailment of the right of free expression, the BCMP, in effect caused the film industry to pay
attention to the content of a projected film production in so far as such is printed in a finished
screenplay. In doing so, talents in literature found their way into filmmaking and continue to do
so now.
III. The 1980s to the present
A. Philippine Films after Marcos
It can be justified that immediately after Marcos escaped to Hawaii, films portraying the
Philippine setting have had a serious bias against the former dictator. And even while he was in
power, the militancy of filmmakers opposing the Martial Law government especially after the
assassination of Ninoy Aquino in 1983, accounts for the defiant stance of a number of films
made in the closing years of the Marcos rule.
Films such as Lino Brockas Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (My Country: Gripping the
Knifes Edge, 1985) were defiant, not in the sense of it being openly stated by in the images of
torture, incarceration, struggle and oppression. Marilou Diaz-Abayas Karnal (1984) depicts this
in a different way in the films plot wherein patricide ends a tyrannical fathers domination. Mike
de Leons Sister Stella L. (1984), was a typical de Leon treatment of the theme of oppression and
In 1977, an unknown Filipino filmmaker going by the name of Kidlat Tahimik made a
film called Mababangong Bangungot (Perfumed Nightmare). The film won the International
Critics Prize in the Berlin Film Festival that same year. Kidlat Tahimiks rise to fame defined
the distance between mainstream cinema and what is now known as independent cinema.
Beginning with Tahimik, independent cinema and films became an accomplished part of
Philippine film.
Out of short film festivals sponsored by the University of the Philippines Film Center and
by the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines, young filmmakers have joined Kidlat Tahimik in
the production of movies that, by their refusal to kowtow to the traditions and conventions of
mainstream filmmaking, signify faith in works that try to probe deeper into the human being and
into society. Nick Deocampos Oliver (1983) and Raymond Reds Ang Magpakailanman (The
Eternal, 1983) have received attention in festivals abroad.
Filmmakers like Tahimik, Deocampo and Red are examples of what we call alternative
filmmakers. Alternative or independent filmmakers are products of film schools where students
are exposed to art films without the compromises of commercial filmmaking.
B. Contemporary Philippine Film
Despite our completion of 100 years of cinema in the Philippines, the same problems
plague us now just as it had when film was still a relatively new art form. The phrase poorly
made is fitting to describe the quality of films being churned out by the film industry year by
year. There have been few exceptions to the rule.
Presently, films are primarily made for profit, lacking any qualities to redeem itself.
Studies show that Hollywood films, with its high technology and subject matter, are being
preferred over local films. It is no wonder for films now are too profit-oriented[with]
corrupting morals anddubious valuessticking with formulaic films

Genres that have been present for the past few decades are being recycled over and over
again with the same stories. The teen love teams of the fan movie are still present with
incarnations of love teams of yesteryears. Now instead of Guy and Pip are Judy and Wowie.
The bomba film is still present, now having grown more pornographic and taboo. The film Tatlo
(1998) comes to mind with its subject matter of threesomes. In Filipino slapstick or komedya,
Dolphy has been replaced by younger stars.
But even if the films of today have not been quite up to par, Filipino movieswield an
influence over the national imagination far more intense that all the others combined.