CMC Research Brownbag: “Investigating Kracauerian Cinematic Realism through Film Practice and Criticism: Life-world Series (2017) and Selected Films of Lino Brocka” – by Asst. Prof. Jose Gutierrez III (UPFI)


The general objective of the study was to investigate Kracauerian cinematic realism (KCR) – through film practice as the principal means and film criticism as the supplementary – to understand how the Lebenswelt contributes to the redemptive potential of film as regards the spectator’s engagement with physical reality as an object of contemplation. This study is the first to use film practice – in the current case, a collection of ten short films that compose the omnibus film, Life-world Series – which was a part of research project and designed to investigate KCR. The project benefitted from using film practice as a principal component in its investigation of Kracauerian cinematic realism, particularly in regard to its general objective as stated above. The construction of Life-world Series as a sequence of short film experiments allowed the study to identify salient patterns and formations that resulted from the project’s phenomenological approach – specifically hinged on the notion of the Lebenswelt – in examining KCR aesthetics. The emergent design implemented in using film practice as a means to investigate KCR opened the project to a wide range of possibilities that it could not have encountered if it limited itself to applying a particular theory as a framework in doing film criticism of pre-existing works. A salient manifestation of this is that since the film project chose to have the Lebenswelt as its subject matter, the model of Kracauerian cinematic realism that was ultimately proposed in the study featured the interweaving of the phenomenological notion of the Lebenswelt with KCR film aesthetics as anchored in the KCR tropes used in this study, namely, (1) the quotidian, (2) the transient, (3) the refuse, (4) the fortuitous, (5) the indeterminate, (6) the flow of life, and (7) the spiritual life itself. A major implication here is that realist film practice is an interrogation of reality and – especially if the film-making process is intuitively cognisant of this – the production of the cinematic work can also serve as a tool in developing new understandings of cinematic realism.


Jose Gutierrez III is an assistant professor at the University of the Philippines Film Institute (UPFI), a filmmaker, and a PhD candidate (Film Studies) at the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). He holds a Master of Arts in Media Studies (Film) degree and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. His portfolio as an experimental-documentary filmmaker is presented in his official website:

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