Dr. Jose B. Capino

Associate Professor of English,Gender and Women's Studies,Media and Cinema Studies,Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, and Asian American Studies


Ph.D. in Radio/Television/Film, Northwestern University, M.A. in Radio/Television/Film (Film Production), Northwestern University

Teaching Interests

Film/Visual Culture, Post-colonial, Theory & Criticism, Gender/Sexuality Studies


Documentary Film and Video, American Documentary, Film Historiography,Cultures of U.S. Imperialism, American Independent Cinema,Survey of International Cinema I, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Introduction to Film, Proseminar in the Teaching of Film

Research Interests

Documentary Film and Video, National and Transnational cinema, Postcolonial Criticism, Gender & Sexuality Studies, American Independent Cinema, Post-Colonial Criticism, Theory and Criticism, Gender/Sexuality Studies


Film/Visual Culture, Post-Colonial, Gender/Sexuality Studies, Theory & Criticism, Asian American

Work(s) in Progress

"Projections of Empire: American Documentary and United States Imperialism" (book manuscript under revision), "Martial Law Melodrama: Lino Brocka and the Cinema of Authoritarianism" (book manuscript in progress)


José B. Capino is a scholar of Philippine cinema and of American documentary and independent cinemas.  His primary areas of interest are in film historiography, colonial and decolonial visuality, melodrama, and sexuality in the cinema. His work is informed by rigorous multi-archival research and engages both cultural theory and critical perspectives in cinema studies.

His first book, “Dream Factories of A Former Colony: American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema” (Minnesota, 2010) is a critique of U.S. imperialism and the constitution of a postcolonial cinema in Filipino movies from the 1940s to the mid-2000s. The book won the prestigious cultural studies book prize from the Association of Asian American Studies in 2011.

Professor Capino is currently finishing two major research projects. “Martial Law Melodrama: Lino Brocka’s Cinema Politics studies the figuration of politics in the  films of a pathbreaking and internationally renowned Filipino director. The book draws from numerous primary sources and archival material to offer a textured account of anti-authoritarian politics in popular film. Inspired by the writings of philosophers, critical theorists, and film scholars, the book intervenes in broader discussions of how popular cinema registers and responds to political upheavals. “Documentary and American Empire: Nonfiction Cinema in Colonial and Decolonial Philippines” examines the changing ways in which U.S. empire has been conjured in nonfiction films and videos about its former colony. This study of colonial and postcolonial visuality considers a wide range of films, from late 19th century reenactments of the Philippine-American War to 21st century television documentaries about Filipino émigré teachers in Baltimore.  The product of more than 20 years of research at archives all over the U.S. and in the Philippines, this book is based on “Cinema and the Spectacle of Colonialism,” the winner of the 2003 Dissertation Award from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies.

Capino has published essays on sexuality in the cinema, American independent film, the documentary, animation, Philippine cinema, and Philippine theater. He penned the teleplay of a landmark documentary on the Philippine National Hero José P. Rizal and has translated both classic and contemporary world drama for the Cultural Center of the Philippines. His essay "A Proletarian Inferno" appears in the Criterion Collection's DVD and Blu-Ray editions of Brocka's "Manila in the Claws of Light" (1976).

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Film/Visual Culture, Documentary Cinema, Postcolonial Criticism, Gender/Sexuality Studies, Asian American Studies, Philippine Studies

Distinctions / Awards

  • Winner of the 2012 Book Award in Cultural Studies from the Association for Asian American Studies
  • Fulbright Research Fellowship, January-May 2016
  • Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, 1996-1999



  • Dream Factories of a Former Colony: American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

Publication Photo

Book Contributions

  • "Figures of Empire: American Documentaries in the Philippines." The Colonial Documentary Film in South and South-East Asia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016. 79-104.
  • "Domestic Helper." Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity. Ed. Joshua Barker, Erik Harris, and Johan Lindquist. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2014. 23-25.
  • "Cinema and the Usable Past." American Cinema of the 1990s. Ed. Chris Holmlund. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2008. 180-202.
  • "Asian College Girls and Oriental Men with Bamboo Poles: Reading Asian Pornography." Pornography and Culture. Ed. Peter Lehman. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2006. 206-219.
  • "Philippines: Cinema and its Hybridity (or You’re Nothing but a Second-Rate, Trying Hard Copycat)." Contemporary Asian Cinema: Popular Culture in a Global Frame. Ed. Anne Ciecko. Oxford: Berg, 2006. 32-44.
  • "Wakefield Poole, Independent Cinema & The American Avant-Garde." Contemporary American Independent Cinema from the Margins to the Mainstream. Ed. Chris Holmlund and Justin Wyatt. New York: Routledge, 2004. 155-173.
  • "Soothsayers, Politicians, Lesbian Scribes: The Philippine Movie Talk Show." Planet TV: A Global Television Studies Reader. Ed. Lisa Parks and Shanti Kumar. New York: New York University Press, 2002. 262-274.

Journal Articles

  • "Seizing Moving Image Pornography." Cinema Journal 46.4 (2007): 121-126.
  • "The Damned: Lino Brocka’s Infernal Melodrama, 'Insiang'." Film Comment 42.5 (2006): 12-14.
  • "Homologies of Text, Space and Spectatorship in All-Male Adult Theaters." Cinema Journal 45.1 (2005): 50-65.
  • "Learning from Darna, Dyesebel, Barbi, and Vampira: Notes on the Hybridity of Philippine National Cinema." Ideya 7.1 (2005): 45-58.
  • "Filthy Funnies: Notes on the Body in Animated Pornography." Animation Journal 12 (2004): 53-72.
  • "Prosthetic Hysteria: Staging the Cold War in Filipino/American Docudrama." Plaridel: A Journal of Philippine Communication, Media and Society 1.1 (2004): 1-14.


  • "Lino Brocka." Exhibition catalogue of the 23rd Torino International Film Festival. Torino: Museo Nazionale Del Cinema, 2006. 206-211.

Encyclopedia Entries

  • "Manila: in the Claws of Neon/Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag." Routledge Encyclopedia of Films. Abingdon, OX: Routledge, 2014.

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