January 2020

Nick Deocampo: Oliver

Imaging Dissent: Towards Becoming a Common Subject

Nick Deocampo is a filmmaker and film historian who has pioneered queer cinema in the Philippines, along with forms of collaborative filmmaking that focus on labor issues within non-heteronormative communities. He organizes the International Pink Film Festival, which features works of queer cinema from Asia.

Part one of Deocampo’s ANG LUNGSOD NG TAO AY NASA PUSO trilogy depicts a female impersonator named Oliver who supports his family by performing in Manila’s gay bars. The film was shot in the final year of Ferdinand Marcos’s dictatorship— during revolutionary times—and gathers interviews with Oliver’s siblings, his grandmother, and other friends and relatives describing their understanding of his work and their marginalized position in Philippine society.

Fragments of Oliver are featured in Deocampo’s Revolutions Happen Like Riddles in a Song (1987), in which the author shares his personal account of the 1986 revolution that led to the toppling of the Marcos government. Deocampo’s narration offers an insight into the struggles of queer and other marginalized bodies during these events. Highly recommended.

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