Philippine cinema, the dream factory of the former U.S. colony, teems with American figures and plots. Local movies feature GIs seeking Filipina brides, cold war spies hunting down native warlords, and American-born Filipinos wandering in the parental homeland. The American landscape furnishes the settings for the triumphs and tragedies of Filipino nurses, GI babies, and migrant workers.
By tracking American fantasies in Philippine movies from the postindependence period to the present, Jose B. Capino offers an innovative account of cinema's cultural work in decolonization and globalization. Capino examines how a third world nation's daydreams both articulate empire and mobilize against it, provide imaginary maps and fables of identity for its migrant workers and diasporan subjects, pose challenges to the alibis of patriarchy and nationalism, and open up paths for participating in the cultures of globality.
Through close readings of more than twenty Philippine movies, Capino demonstrates the postcolonial imagination's vital role in generating pragmatic and utopian visions of living with empire. Illuminating an important but understudied cinema, he creates a model for understanding the U.S. image in the third world.
"A former colony of the United States, the Philippine nation has long had its own version of the American Dream, and Jose Capino does a superb job of analyzing how that bittersweet fantasy translates onto Philippine screens in this valuable book. With detailed examinations of key films from the Philippines as well as transnational productions, his groundbreaking study does so much more than provide an overview of Philippine cinema history; it makes a significant intervention in American/Philippine cultural studies and provides a novel way of approaching the connection between colonialism and global screen culture." -Gina Marchetti, author of Romance and the "Yellow Peril": Race, Sex and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction