Kritika Kultura Global Classroom Series presents Bliss Cua Lim

The international journal Kritika Kultura will feature University of California, Irvine scholar Bliss Cua Lim’s lecture, “From Pito-Pito to Indie: Neoliberal Rationality in Two Films by Jeffrey Jeturian” on January 23, 2013, (not January 25, 2013, as announced earlier), 4:30 p.m., at the Faura AVR, Ateneo de Manila University. This is the fourth installment of Kritika Kultura’s Global Classroom Series.

Lim’s abstract reads: “Filmmaker Jeffrey Jeturian distills the essence of his feature films as follows: ‘personal, intimate stories that say a lot about our social and political realities.’ This talk explores two films drawn from the earlier and later stages of the director’s career: Pila Balde [Fetch a Pail of Water, 1999] and Kubrador [Bet Collector, 2006]. The commercially and critically successful Pila Balde exemplifies the low-budget pito-pito mode of filmmaking adopted by local film studios in an attempt to weather the aftershocks of the 1997 Asian economic crisis. The multi-awarded Kubrador, hailed as a major work of the contemporary Filipino independent cinema, has markedly influenced the style of indie films released in its wake.

“The talk juxtaposes these two films, both made in periods of economic and state crisis, in relation to their linked motifs of gambling, death, and communitarian reciprocity. Jeturian’s films manifestly thematize the neoliberal transformation of social individuals into calculative entrepreneur-consumers. Though such commodification of affect seems encompassed by Marxist reification theory, Wendy Brown suggests that the newness of neoliberal rationality lies in its suffusiveness, its capacity to ‘reach beyond the market.’ Under neoliberalism, ‘all dimensions of human life are cast in terms of a market rationality,’ steadily eroding any sphere of life that might be considered independent of economic calculation.

“While both diegetic and extra-diegetic aspects of Pila Balde and Kubrador illuminate the workings of neoliberalism in the Philippines, my paper also wrestles with the question of affect or tone. Jeturian’s films capture a streetwise levity, a lightly ironic willingness to eke out a living under the most impoverished conditions. On the one hand, this levity could be the mask of neoliberal passivity. On the other, both films arguably nuance the screen discourse of accommodation by unmasking the workings of neoliberal pragmatism.”

Lim is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Translating Time: Cinema, the Fantastic and Temporal Critique (Duke University Press, 2009; Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2011). Her research and teaching center on temporality, Philippine cinema, postcolonial feminist film theory, transnational horror and the fantastic, and taste cultures. She is currently working on a new book on the crises of archival preservation in Philippine cinema. Her work has appeared in the journals Discourse, positions, Camera Obscura, Velvet Light Trap, Asian Cinema, Spectator, and Art Journal; and in the book anthologies Neoliberalism and Global Cinema; The Precarious Self: Women and Media in Asia; Hong Kong Film, Hollywood And The New Global Cinema; Film and Literature: A Reader; and Geopolitics of the Visible: Essays on Philippine Film Cultures.

The lecture is the fourth of a series of eight, featuring top-tier scholars in the humanities and the social sciences who will address compelling questions around the topic “Contingencies of Meanings” which concern university students and scholars alike in today’s fast-changing and globalizing world.

The Global Classroom Series, which began last November 2012 and will run to March 2013, promises to be both international and interdisciplinary. Aside from Lim, the following scholars will be featured in succeeding sessions: Prof. Caroline Hau (University of Kyoto, Japan), Prof. Patrick Flores (University of the Philippines), Prof. Vicente Rafael (University of Washington, Seattle), and Prof. Oscar Campomanes (Ateneo de Manila University).

Prof. Joel David, who lectured on “Phantoms from Paradise: Philippine Presences in Non-Pinoy Cinemas,” kicked off the series last November 23, 2012. Following him were Prof. Richard Chu, who delivered the paper, “From ‘Sangley’ to ‘Tsinoy’: What it Means to be ‘Chinese’ in the Philippines”, and Dr. Ramon Guillermo, who delivered the lecture, “A Discussion of Some Approaches in Computer-Aided Translation Analysis: Jose Rizal’s Translation of Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell”.

Inquiries may be sent to Vincenz Serrano ( or Mayel Martin ( (subject: KK global classroom series).

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