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Pelikula Journal vol. 7 (2022)

The Kura Sambalani is a white-winged horse that appears at the end of the Tausug epic Parang Sabil (holy warfare) to carry away the martyrs. In this volume of PELIKULA, the wars of today lie siege to martyrdom: fascism spins mythologies to paint itself as a necessary evil; authoritarianism camouflages impunity with good intentions in virtual/ized reality; the empire seduces and reduces, building promises it can profit from.


At stake in this issue, then, is memory: how we make sense of the dislocations brought about by migration and diaspora, the violence of historical revisionism, the struggles of cultural change and alienation. In media and film, heroism distorts in the brute realities played out on the screen; but as in the recovered strokes of Danilo Dalena’s hand-drawn storyboard of the Kura Sambalani rising above the dead of the Bud Dajo Massacre, we shall in time remember the sensations of struggle, revolution, redemption, home, truth. And wherever our minds or bodies may take flight, may we never forget.

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Pelikula Journal Japanese edition (2022)

Spring is a season of both beauty and fragility. In this special edition of PELIKULA, we celebrate the blossoming of a friendship with the Japan Foundation, Manila, with the translation of selected articles into Japanese. This edition recognizes language as the entry point of meaningful conversation, at the same time that it respects language as a unique bearer of cultural knowledge. Here, the work of translating essays on cinema ventures toward cross-cultural dialogue with Japan: for now, a brief glimpse of our shared histories, but also, a promise of richer seasons.


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Pelikula Journal vol. 6 (2021)

An amalgamation of images from Lav Diaz’s films frame the volume’s “outward orientation” of Philippine cinema, signifying the place of Filipino film in a resonant Southeast Asian regional cinema while also capturing in one picture the mood of the times. Diaz arguably represents a, if not the, crux of myriad contradictions and debates in contemporary cinema: nationalism and internationalization, the (g)local and the cosmopolitan,  experimentation and access, art and function, region and nation, memory and imagination. In this light, the composite scene  assembled from Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon, Ang Panahon ng Halimaw, and Genus Pan reorient these cinematic images toward new paths of resistance and salvation, reinvigoration, and  reimagination, despite and because of the social and political anxieties of our present historical moment.


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Pelikula Journal vol. 5 (2020)

Sedition. This was the criminal charge brought against Lino Brocka and Behn Cervantes for speaking up for workers during a transport strike in 1985. By then, the Marcos dictatorship had cultivated innumerable vehement critics, many among the ranks of artists and film workers, who campaigned for the restoration of civil liberties and protested state-sponsored human rights violations—campaigns Brocka and Cervantes advanced to the chagrin of the state that tried to silence them under threat of the maximum penalty of death.

Philippine cinema has had an illustrious history of social commitment. No strangers to red-tagging, vocal film artists have risked life, limb, and liberty to speak truth to power in their movies and on the streets. In the pages of PELIKULA, we trace the history of People’s Cinema and the activist tradition in Filipino filmmaking from earlier dark eras and vibrant periods of resistance to the world now transformed by COVID-19. This volatile age of pandemic lockdowns and systematic shutdowns of our freedoms once again calls upon film artists and film lovers to carry on this heroic legacy in these, our own, dark times.

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Pelikula Journal vol. 4 (2019)

Who is Isabel Acuña? Smiling next to her husband, the vaunted “Father of Philippine Cinema” José Nepomuceno, she is surfaced from forgotten history on the 2019 cover of the PELIKULA as a similarly important force: pioneer casting director, art director, and producer. Many other facets of Philippine film history are likewise recuperated in the pages of the journal as it returns 20 years since its first release in 1999. Coming just at the heels of Philippine cinema’s centennial celebration, it dives into the vibrant, many yet unwritten, narratives of Philippine cinema, chronicling and provoking important conversations on its various pasts and possibilities.

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