Land(e)scape: Narratives of Escape in Landscape Cinema as



Land(e)scape: Narratives of Escape in Landscape Cinema as
Land(e)scape: Narratives of Escape in Landscape Cinema as Nationalist
Gerald Y. Pascua
Landscapes greet gaze with space, an environment where spectators find(and/or
lose)themselves twofold; (1) in the presentation and representation of “physical” space
through depth and breadth, and (2) in the construction and deconstruction of “ideological”
space through encoded politics of positioning and framing. This paper explains how cinema, as
opposed to fixed forms (painting, photography), is capacitated to be contemplated as
landscapes with(in)choreographed directionalities. Furthermore, this paper suggests that
landscape cinema is best understood as instrument of cultural power that frames and signifies
our narrativized cultural identity and history. Such a reading of Mababangong Bangungot
(Perfumed Nightmare, dir. Kidlat Tahimik, 1977) which depicts a personal narrative of escape
and passage, juxtaposed with two texts, Qiyamah (dir. Gutierrez Mangansakan II, 2012) and
Mula Sa Kung Ano Ang Noon (From What Is Before, dir. Lav Diaz, 2014) which depict symbolic
narratives of a return amidst collective escape (1) project the concinnity of physical and
ideological landscapes in framing a cinema narrative of (un)escape and return, (2) explain how
cinema as landscape present the film’s personal narratives of escape as microcosm of a
nationalist yearning, i.e., “lunggating makabansa,”and (3) explore the promise of our landscape
films, as it gained more momentum in the age of digital filmmaking, in contributing to the
invigorated searching for the national Filipino identity.