City of Screens

Imagining Audiences in Manila's Alternative Film Culture

Book Pages: 328 Illustrations: 21 illustrations Published: March 2021

Asian Studies > Southeast Asia, Globalization and Neoliberalism, Media Studies > Film

In City of Screens Jasmine Nadua Trice examines the politics of cinema circulation in early-2000s Manila. She traces Manila's cinema landscape by focusing on the primary locations of film exhibition and distribution: the pirated DVD district, mall multiplexes, art-house cinemas, the university film institute, and state-sponsored cinematheques. In the wake of digital media piracy and the decline of the local commercial film industry, the rising independent cinema movement has been a site of contestation between filmmakers and the state, each constructing different notions of a prospective, national public film audience. Discourses around audiences become more salient given that films by independent Philippine filmmakers are seldom screened to domestic audiences, despite their international success. City of Screens provides a deeper understanding of the debates about the competing roles of the film industry, the public, and the state in national culture in the Philippines and beyond.


“From the pirate video stalls of the old city center to the shopping mall multiplexes of Manila, Jasmine Nadua Trice examines the fragmented and multifaceted assemblage of alternative Philippine cinema. Her passionate attention to detail and wide-ranging engagement with critical theory provide a compelling model for the study of cinema cultures in the global South.” — Michael Curtin, Distinguished Professor of Film and Media Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

“Jasmine Nadua Trice persuasively argues that film circulation both envisions and occasionally actualizes the dream of a national film audience for counterdominant cinema in the Philippines. She confronts head-on one of the thorniest problems of politically or aesthetically progressive Philippine film: filmmakers’ attempts to reach the alienated domestic moviegoer. Her fresh, syncretic approach and elegant thinking make City of Screens a groundbreaking, must-read book not only for readers not only interested in Philippine cinema but also for those attuned to the dynamics of distribution, exhibition, and circulation beyond Hollywood. Representing a wholly original and highly generative departure from previous scholarship, City of Screens is a major intervention.” — Bliss Cua Lim, author of Translating Time: Cinema, the Fantastic, and Temporal Critique


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jasmine Nadua Trice is Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction  1
1. Revanchist Cinemas and Bad Audiences, Multiplex Fiestas and Ideal Publics  39
2. The Quiapo Cinematheque and Urban-Cinematic Authenticity  79
3. Alternative Exhibition and the Rhythms of the City  113
4. "Not for Public Exhibition": Cinema Regulation, Alternative Cinema, and a Rational Body Politic  153
5. "Hollywood Is Not Us": National Circulation and the Speculative State  189
Epilogue  230
Notes  241
Bibliography  281
Index  299
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1169-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1058-6