Filipino films fixated on titles in English
The Jennylyn Mercado-Derek Ramsay hit starrer’s title, “English Only, Please,” says it all: Filipino movies are currently fixated on titles in English, with at least half of the movies shown last year for instructive and/or cautionary evidence!
At the recent Metro Manila Film Festival alone, seven of the eight official entries observed that desultory rule in full or partly—“Beauty and the Bestie,” “My Bebe Love,” “Haunted Mansion,” “Honor Thy Father,” “Buy Now, Die Later,” “Walang Forever” and “All You Need Is Pag-ibig.”
Indeed, 2015’s 10 most popular films followed suit—“A Second Chance,” “Beauty and the Bestie,” “My Bebe Love,” “Crazy, Beautiful You,” “The Love Affair,” “You’re My Boss,” “The Breakup Playlist,” “That Thing Called Tadhana”—with only “Heneral Luna” and “Felix Manalo” preventing a total rout.
What’s going on here?
It was sort of “understandable” in 1925 when the Americans officially held sway in this, their only colony in Asia—and pioneering producers came up with films like “Miracles of Love” and “Oriental Blood.”
But, it’s been many decades since those colonial times, so why has the “colonial mentality” persisted and even intensified to this day?
It isn’t rocket science: Our movies’ enduring fad and fetish for English titles is merely reflective of our nation and culture’s “deathless” colonial mentality, which has persisted despite many nationalistic movements to wrest and rescue us from its all-controlling claws. We were “taught” by our colonizers much too well, that’s why.
Analyzing the sticky and icky situation more closely, English titles are preferred for local movie productions because they imply plus factors like trendiness, youth, a “global” flavor and mindset, “world-class,” “hip,” “educated,” “sosyal,” “plugged-in,” “rich”—etc.!
Another relevant factor is that some or many local films’ English titles are derived from popular American songs, which are used as movie theme songs, adding to their appeal and cachet.
Is there any way out of this colonial quagmire? Alas, our entire society’s mindset will have to change first, before our movies follow suit.
Even if all of our filmmakers agreed to use only Filipino in their productions’ titles, the “liberating” effect wouldn’t be all that significant.
And yet, some “nationalistic” filmmakers have succeeded in bucking the desultory trend, so hope springs eternal that the situation could be mitigated or salved “by individual example.”
As for the viewing public, we hope that it would also become more enlightened and realize that titles in Filipino are better than American rip-offs, because they’re about us—and the way we really are.
Besides, why deprive ourselves of the unique beauty and poetry of movie titles in Filipino, like “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga,” “Walang Katapusang Tag-araw,” “Hinugot sa Langit,” “Ang Daigdig ng mga Api,” “Pagdating sa Dulo,” “Huwag Mo Akong Limutin,” “Ligaw na Bulaklak,” “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang,” “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos,” “Biyaya ng Lupa,” “Lumapit, Lumayo ang Umaga,” “Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo,” “Nunal sa Tubig,” “Hanggang sa Dulo ng Daigdig,” “Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?,” “Ibulong mo sa Hangin,” “Diligin Mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa,” “Alas Singko ng Hapon, Gising Na ang Mga Anghel”—etc.?!
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.