The use of multiple lead characters in cinema is a fairly recent development, although the strategy (and its resultant variety of structures) had been present for some time in theater and literature. The typical Classical Hollywood action-driven narrative operated most efficiently through a singular hero, allowing the audience to undergo the film experience via the process of singular identification. With the breakdown in identificatory requisites popularized by various New Wave and Third Cinema movements, and the consequent assimilation of this trend starting with the New American Cinema, mainstream Hollywood was ready to embark upon a series of multi-character movies, with Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975) serving as watershed text. Interestingly, the production of films with multiple lead characters had been a long-standing staple in the national cinema of the Philippines—a country that itself holds multiple distinctions vis-à-vis the US, starting with its historical status as America’s first (and only Asian) colony. This article will be looking at how a mode of practice that recently emerged on the global scene had been functioning in a relatively obscure national cinema, and how the practice ensured for itself a measure of longevity by distinguishing itself as a popular genre.



milieu realism, multi-character films, Philippine cinema

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
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University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)