Manila Review published Lino Brocka’s “Philippine Movies: Some Problems & Prospects” back in their October 1974 issue. The essay was quite famous for its challenge to film-makers (directors, producers, also cinematographers, editors, actors) to “get over his hang-up about making the Great Filipino Film” that the film-maker should think about “developing the Great Filipino Audience”. After more than four decades, a lot of Brocka’s observation has obviously been made obsolete by the movements of the market, the Cinema-Market, and fields related to it – from production to post-production technologies.
Brocka has defined the process of audience-development as a slow and patient process which has aimed not only towards a development of tastes, but of appreciation and reflection via praxiological exchanges from the viewership to the film-makers and vice versa. The challenge, however, was failed too early, worse, probably forgotten.
Fast forward to 2016, the “bakya” crowd is no more and watching films became a privilege. Films produced are no longer as conversant to its audience, but has become the manifestation of Brocka’s nightmare. Films produced mostly either are for and/or about the privileged, which in no sense respectful of its audience’s intellect. The latest waves of film-makers, industry elites and producers came mostly from the privileged classes with their artsy cafe meetings and high-rise condominiums.
The task of developing the Great Filipino Audience probably seemed to big for these upper-class sloths that they have decided to eliminate the “bakya” crowd and replace them with the paying audience, and they have the current move of the market to justify this.
Interestingly, one of the warnings of Brocka in the same essay became the normal situation these days:
“There are two tendencies, both wrong, that an aspiring director should beware: one is undue haste to “revolutionize” the industry; the other is following the line of least resistance, or of no resistance at all — of allowing oneself to be sucked in by the system as if by quicksand. Sometimes one extreme leads to the other.”
In relation to this topic, I took the time to digitize my copy of the essay for review and educational purposes and is in no way intended to fringe any copyright reserved to the author or the publication where it first came out.
Download the PDF here: Lino Brocka’s “Philippine Movies: Some Problems & Prospects”