Masses, Power, and Gangsterism in the Films of Joseph “Erap” Estrada

Rolando B. Tolentino


The masses in Estrada’s film are massified, i.e., individuals forced by circumstance to bond together and to search for a liberator. In politics, such a representation remains sublimely real. Estrada coached the masses to posit him as their ally and salvation. And the masses, which comprised the huge voting population, gave him the ultimate chance to serve them. In this essay, I am interested in assessing how Estrada’s films and politics have mobilized the masses. This is a cultural analysis of the discursive construction and use of the masses. How do individuals bond together for a political purpose without having to realize their class interest? How do the masses remain a massified entity inside and outside Erap’s filmic and political machine? How are the masses extolled in entertainment industries and yet marginalized in actual social politics? How are the Filipino masses metropolitanized in recent imperialist globalization?


masses; Joseph Estrada; Erap; film studies; power; gangsterism; Philippine studies

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