Tomás F. Crowder-Taraborrelli
HUM 290.03. 1108
Wednesdays and Fridays, 3:00-4:30 p.m. (90 minutes) Gan 303B
Office: Ikeda 321
Office hours: To be announced
LATIN AMERICAN FILM AND CULTURE
In this course we will explore the national cinemas and film industries of various countries in Latin America. We will analyze films both as artistic products (formal qualities, cinematic genres and stylistic influences) and as sociological documents. Films will also be analyzed in relation to the continental and transcontinental categories of “Latin American Cinema” and “Third Cinema.” Films have been selected not only for their historical significance, their influence in the cinema of the continent and world cinema, but also because of the formal innovations.
We will start the course by posing some basic questions: What is the importance of cinema in the representation of a national and/or continental culture? How do filmmakers represent national identity in their films and why do they represent them in a certain way? What do films tell us about social and economic hierarchies? What formal strategies do filmmakers use to engage the spectator?
After the Cuban Revolution, and partially as a result of the creation of the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), Latin American films received an injection of creativity. In the course we will establish what these aesthetic and social innovations were and attempt to track them in more contemporary films. An important part of this course will be to consider the role that documentary films have played in providing groundbreaking evidence that has both paved the way for democratic reforms in certain countries, and helped to change complicated amnesty laws that have blocked the prosecution of crimes against humanity, thus impacting the international legal community. The course will also serve as a forum to debate and conceptualize a new approach to the study of film based on a rupture in the ways Latin American nations have envisioned the past.
As you will notice during the semester, some of the films screened are of poor quality and some do not have subtitles in English. Some Latin American films are very hard to find and researchers often have to contact the filmmakers themselves to obtain copies. As we will discuss in class, this reflects the lack of resources of production companies to distribute their films in the rest of the world, therefore limiting the cultural offerings for spectators about Latin American cultural identity.
Assignments and grade breakdown
Five critical responses on film discussion forum–Angel (1 page) 30%
Research Paper (10-12 pages) 30%
Attendance and participation 20%
You must come to class prepared for discussion. Read the text assigned before class, take copious notes and come to class with questions. Your participation not only will improve your overall grade but it is fundamental part of the course’s success. Please arrive on time to class so that I can begin the screening promptly. You may have trouble understanding the overall message of a film if you miss the opening scene.
Each student will have to lead one discussion seminar, introducing a text or a film and explain to the rest of the class its relevance to the history of Latin American film. If you are assigned a film, you must discuss three or more scenes that highlight central thematic, theoretical or formal issues. For the most part, we will watch films in class but you will also be required to attend two screenings outside class (date and time to be confirmed). These films are open to the public.
You will be expected to post screening reflections after viewing the films on the Angel discussion forums. To insure that everyone has the chance to read your comments, please post them before 9 p.m. on Mondays.
For the final assignment, students must write a 10-12 research, argumentative essay. I will be happy to discuss with you a prospectus for the essay and help you organize your bibliography and filmography. Please type all written work using a standard 12-point font, double-space the text, leave a one-inch margin on all sides, and staple multiple pages. To avoid penalization, paper extensions must be approved before the essay is due. Late work is penalized 5 points (1/2 grade) per day. Please follow the MLA Style format for citations and general style formatting. You can find an online version of the MLA style manual at:
Go to this website and click on the link to the MLA Formatting and Style Guide (on the right hand side of the page).
In grading, I will consider two central aspects of the student’s performance-participation in class discussion and writing. If you have any questions about the writing assignments, please make sure to ask during class time (other students might have similar questions).
Essays: This course fosters rigorous inquiry and critical thinking and promotes effective written argumentation.
A range: This paper is outstanding in form and content. The thesis is clear and insightful; it is original, or it expands in a new way on ideas presented in the course. The evidence presented in support of the argument is carefully chosen and deftly handled. The argument is not only unified and coherent, but also complex and nuanced.
B range: This paper’s thesis is clear; the argument is coherent and presents evidence in support of its points. The argument shows comprehension of the material and manifests critical thinking about the issues raised in the course. The paper is reasonably well written and proofread. The argument, while coherent, does not have the complexity, the insight, or the integrated structure of an A range paper.
C range: This paper has some but not all of the basic components of an argumentative essay (i.e., thesis, evidence, coherent structure): for example, it may offer a thesis of some kind, but it presents no evidence to support this thesis; or it may present an incoherent thesis; or it may simply repeat points made in class without an overall argument. Such a paper is usually poorly organized, written and proofread.
A paper lacking more than one of the basic components of an argumentative essay will earn a grade of “D” or below.
Please make sure to check Angel before each class meeting to see if I have posted any notes about the course or assignments that haven’t been announced in class. I will ask students during the semester to write blogs posts to discuss articles, films or essay prompts.
Accommodation for Persons with a Disability
Student desiring accommodations on the basis of physical learning, or psychological disability for this class are to contact the Office of Student Services. Student Services is located in Student Affairs.
ATTENTION: Readings to be discussed in class are listed under the date that they will be discussed
WEEK 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE
Friday, Sept. 9:
Readings: Film Grammar Power Point (DVD, 7 mins.)
Screening: Close-reading and discussion of two opening scenes: Adrián Biniez, Gigante [Giant], Uruguay, (2009), Arcady Boytler, La mujer del puerto [The woman of the port] Mexico, (1933).
WEEK 2: THE GOLDEN AGE OF MEXICAN CINEMA
Wednesday, Sept. 14:
Readings: Rene Claire, “How Films Are Made.”
Timothy Corrigan. A Short Guide to Writing about Film. Chapter 1, 2.
Screening: Emilio “El Indio” Fernández, María Candelaria (Xochimilco), Mexico, (1944) (sequence screened in class). First 50 minutes of Aventurera.
Discussion leader (R. Claire): ____________________________________________
Discussion leader (Corrigan): ____________________________________________
Friday, Sept. 16:
Readings: John King. “Cinema in Latin America.”
Ana M. López. “Women and Melodrama in the ‘Old’ Mexican Cinema”.
Screening: Aventurera, Alberto Gout, Mexico (1950), (remaining 90 minutes).
Assignment: First critical response on discussion forum on Angel by Monday 9 p.m.
Discussion leader (King): ___________________________________
WEEK 3: ITALIAN NEO-REALISM AND THE CRITIQUE OF MODERNITY
Wednesday, Sept. 21:
Readings: Cesare Zavattini. “Some Ideas On The Cinema.”
Andre Bazin, “De Sica: Metteur-En-Scene.”
Screening: Vittorio De Sica, Ladri di biciclette, [The Bicycle Thief] Italy, (1948) (sequence screened in class) El [This Strange Passion], Luis Buñuel, Mexico, (1950). 92 min. First part 45 min.
Discussion leader (Zavattini) _____________________________________
Discussion leader (Bazin)_________________________________________
Friday, Sept. 23:
Readings: Julianne Burton-Carvajal, “Regarding Rape: Fictions of Origin and Film Spectatorship.”
Screening: El [This Strange Passion] Second Part
Discussion leader (Burton-Carvajal)________________________________
WEEK 4: FERNANDO BIRRI AND THE INSTITUTO DE CINEMATOGRAFIA DE LA UNIVERSIDAD DEL LITORIAL (SANTA FE, ARGENTINA)
Wednesday, Sept. 28:
Readings: John Hess, “Neo-Realism and New Latin American Cinema.” (Angel) Rocha, Glauber “An Esthetic of Hunger.”
Screening: Fernando Birri, Tire Die [Throw me a dime], Argentina (1960) (sequence screened in class).
In Class Assignment: Analysis of a sequence from Tire Die.
SPECIAL OPEN SCREENING: Carancho, . 7 p.m. Location to be announced
Discussion leader (Hess) ____________________________________________
Discussion leader (Rocha)____________________________________________
Friday, Sept. 30:
Readings: V.I. Pudovkin, “Film Technique.”
Timothy Corrigan. A Short Guide to Writing about Film. Chapters 3, 4. Eisenstein, Sergei “From Film Form: The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram” (suggested reading).
Screening: Analysis of editing techniques in and in Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund’s Cidade de Deus, [City of God], Brazil, (2002) (sequence screened in class).
Assignment: Second critical response on discussion forum on Angel by Monday 9 p.m.
Discussion leader (Pudovkin) _______________________________________________
Discussion leader (Corrigan) ———————————————-
WEEK 5: THE CUBAN REVOLUTION
Wednesday, Oct. 5:
Readings: Paul Rotha, “Some Principles of Documentary.”
John Mraz “Santiago Alvarez: From Dramatic form to direct cinema.”
Travis Wilkerson, “Hasta la victoria siempre.” in Senses of Cinema (Link): <span lang="ES-AR"
Screening: Santiago Álvarez, Che Guevara, Hasta La Victoria Siempre, Cuba (1967) 19 minutes.
Discussion leader (Rotha) __________________________________________________
Discussion leader (Mraz, Wilkerson) ________________________________________
Friday, Oct. 7:
Readings: Che Guevara, “Message to the Tricontinental” (Link):
Screening: Una foto recorre el mundo, [A Photograph Travels the World] Pedro Chaskel, Cuba, Chile (1981)
Discussion leader (Guevara) _______________________________________________
WEEK 6: MODERNIDA Y IDENTIDAD POLITICA
Wednesday, Oct. 12:
Readings: To be announced
Screening: Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Brasilia, Contradicoes de uma Cidade Nova, Brazil (1967) 23 min. Memories of Underdevelopment, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Cuba (1968), 97 min. First Part.
Friday, Oct. 14:
Readings: To be announced
Screening: Memories of Underdevelopment, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Cuba (1968), 97 min. Second Part.
Assignment: Third critical response on discussion forum on Angel by Monday 9 p.m.
WEEK 7: THE NEW LATIN AMERICAN CINEMA MOVEMENT
Wednesday, Oct. 19:
Readings: Jorge Sanjinés and the Ukamau Group, “Problems of Form and Content in Revolutionary Cinema.”
Julio García Espinosa, “For an Imperfect Cinema.”
Screening: Octavio Cortázar, Por la primera vez [For The First Time], Cuba (1967) Mario Handler, Me gustan los estudiantes [I Like Students], Uruguay (1968).
Discussion Leader (Sanjinés)_______________________________________________
Discussion leader (Espinosa)_______________________________________________
Friday, Oct. 21:
Readings: Teshome H. Gabriel, “Third Cinema as Guardian of Popular Memory: Towards a Third Aesthetics.” Suggested reading!
Screening: Raymundo Gleyzer, La Tierra Quemada [The Burnt Land], Brazil and Argentina (1964) (12 min.) Ernesto Ardito, Virna Molina, Raymundo, Argentina (2003) (Sequence screened in class).
Assignment: Fourth critical response on discussion forum on Angel by Monday 9 p.m.
WEEK 8: THIRD CINEMA- GRUPO CINE LIBERACION AND GRUPO CINE DE LA BASE
Wednesday, Oct. 26:
Readings: Solanas and Getino, “Towards a Third Cinema.”
“Some Notes on the Concept of a ‘Third Cinema.’”
Robert Stam, “The Hour of the Furnaces and the two avant-gardes.” Suggested reading!!!
Screening: Sequences from Fernando “Pino” Solanas and Octavio Getino, La hora de los hornos [The Hour of The Furnaces], Argentina (1969).
Discussion leader (Solanas and Getino) ______________________________________
Friday, Oct. 28:
Readings: Samira Makhmalbaf, “The Digital Revolution And The Future Cinema.”
Screening: Alejandro Fernández Mouján, Solo se escucha el viento, [Only the wind can be heard], Argentina, 2007 (21 min.) Cine Insurgente, (shorts screened in class)
WEEK 9: MUSIC AND NATIONAL IDENTITY
Wednesday, Nov. 2:
Readings: Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”
Screenings: Carlos Diegues, Bye Bye Brazil, Brazil (1980) (sequence screened in class), Nestor Frenkel, Buscando a Reynols [Searching For Reynols], Argentina (2004) (sequence screened in class).
Friday, Nov. 4:
Readings: Randal Johnson, “In the Belly of the Ogre: Cinema and State in Latin America.”
Screenings: Santiago Alvarez, El Tigre salto y mato…pero…morira…morira!! Cuba (1973) (Also available in YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhUTNRJzgKA). Fernando Faro, Elis Regina: MPB Special, Brazil (1973) (sequence screened in class), Roberto Farias, Roberto Carlos: Em Ritmo de Aventura, Brazil (1971), Diego Capusotto, Peter Capusotto y Sus Videos (2006-2007)
WEEK 10: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
Wednesday, Nov. 9:
Readings: Joseph H. Kupfer, “Film Criticism and Virtue Theory.”
Screening: Patricio Guzmán, La Batalla de Chile [The Battle of Chile], Chile (1978) y El caso Pinochet, [The Pinochet Case] Chile (2001) (sequence screened in class).
Discussion leader (Kupfer): _________________________________________________
Friday, Nov. 11:
Readings: Elizabeth Jelin, “Political Struggles for Memory” and “Trauma, Testimony, and ‘Truth.’”
Screening: Silvio Caiozzi, Fernando ha vuelto [Fernando is back] Chile (1998).
Discussion leader (Jelin)____________________________________________________
Assignment: Fifth critical response on discussion forum on Angel by Monday 9 p.m.
WEEK 11: DISSAPEARANCE, MEMORY AND REPARATION
Wednesday, Nov. 16:
Readings: Robert A. Rosenstone, “History in Images, History in Words.”
Screening: El General, Dir. Natalia Almada, Mexico/USA, 2009, 83 minutes [First Part: 40 min.]
Friday, Nov. 18:
Readings: Rosenstone (cont.)
Screening: El General, Dir. Natalia Almada, Mexico/USA, 2009, 83 minutes [Second Part: 43 minutes]
WEEK 12: URBAN VIOLENCE
Wednesday, Nov. 23:
Readings: Kristi M. Wilson, “From Pensioner to Teenager: Everyday Violence in De Sica’s Umberto D and Gaviria’s Rodrigo D: No Future.”
Screening: Victor Gaviria, Rodrigo D, No Futuro [Rodrigo D: No Future], Colombia (1990) (sequence screened in class) Jose Padilha, Onibus 174 [Bus 174], Brazil (2002) First Part
Discussion Leader (Wilson)__________________________________________________
Friday, Nov. 25:
WEEK 13: LATIN AMERICAN CONTEMPORARY CINEMA
Wednesday, Nov. 30:
Screening: Onibus 174. Second Part
Assignment: Discuss prompts for final essay. Prepare outline for Wednesday. Bring a hard copy to class!
Friday, Dec. 2:
Overview of film terms and techniques. Review and critique essay outlines.
WEEK 14: SOCIAL GUILT, CONTEMPORARY CINEMA AND AUTEUR THEORY
Wednesday, Dec. 7:
Readings: Deborah Shaw. Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Breaking into the Global Market. 10-64.
SPECIAL OPEN SCREENING: Location to be announced. Claudia Llosa, La teta asustada, Peru (2009).
Friday, Dec. 9:
Last day of class!!!
Assignment: Final essay is due! Date to be announced
Bazin, Andre. “De Sica: Metteur-En-Scene.” What is cinema?, edited by Bazin, André, Gray, Hugh, Andrew, Dudley, Renoir, Jean. University of California Press, 2005.
Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2010.
Burton-Carvajal, Julianne. “Regarding Rape: Fictions of Origin and Film Spectatorship.” Mediating Two Worlds: Cinematic Encounters in the Americas, edited by Ana M. Lopez, and Manuel Alvarado. BFI Publishing, 1993.
Corrigan, Timothy. Short Guide to Writing about Film. Pearson, 2011.
Eisenstein, Sergei. “From Film Form: The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram.” Film Theory and Criticism. Oxford University Press, 1992.
Espinoza, Julio Garcia. “For an imperfect cinema.” Jump Cut: A Review to Contemporary Media, http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC20folder/ImperfectCinema.html.
Gabriel, Teshome. “Third Cinema as Guardian of Popular Memory: Towards a Third Aesthetics.” Teshome Gabriel: Articles & Other Works, teshomegabriel.net/third-cinema-as-guardian-of-popular-memory.
Getino, Octavio. “Some Notes on the Concept of a ‘Third Cinema.’” New Latin American Cinema, edited by Michael T. Martin. Wayne State University Press, 1997, pp. 99-107.
Guevara, Che. “Message to the Tricontinental.” Che Guevara Internet Archive, http://www.marxists.org/archive/guevara/1967/04/16.htm.
Hess, John. “Neo-Realism and New Latin American Cinema.” Mediating Two Worlds: Cinematic Encounters in the Americas, edited by Ana M. Lopez, and Manuel Alvarado. BFI Publishing, 1993.
Jelin, Elizabeth, et al. State repression and the labors of memory. University of Minnesota, 2003
Johnson, Randal. “In the Belly of the Ogre: Cinema and State in Latin America.” Mediating Two Worlds: Cinematic Encounters in the Americas, edited by Ana M. Lopez, and Manuel Alvarado. BFI Publishing, 1993.
Joseph H. Kupfer, “Film Criticism and Virtue Theory.” Visions of Virtue in Popular Film. Westview Press, 1999.
King, John. Magical Reels: A History of Cinema in Latin America. Verso, 2000.
López, Ana M. “Women and Melodrama in the ‘Old’ Mexican Cinema.” Oxford Reading in Feminism: Feminism and film, edited by E. Ann Kaplan. Oxford University Press, 2000.
Makhmalbaf, Samira. “The Digital Revolution and The Future Cinema.” Haussite, 10 May 2000, http://www.haussite.net/haus.0/SCRIPT/txt2000/08/digi_rev.HTML.
Mraz, John. “Santiago Alvarez: From Dramatic form to direct cinema.” The Social Documentary in Latin America, edited by Julianne Burton. University of Pittsburg Press, 1990, pp. 131-149.
Rene, Clair (1972). How Films Are Made.” Film: An Anthology, edited by Daniel Talbot, California, 1972, pp. 225-233.
Robert Stam, “The Hour of the Furnaces and the two avant-gardes.” The social documentary in Latin America, edited by Julianne Burton. University of Pittsburg Press, 1990.
Rocha, Glauber. “An Esthetic of Hunger.” New Latin American Cinema, edited by Michael T. Martin. Wayne State University Press, 1997.
Rosenstone, Robert A. Visions of the past: the challenge of film to our idea of history. Harvard University Press, 1995.
Rotha, Paul. “Some Principles of Documentary.” A Paul Rotha Reader, edited by Duncan Petrie, and Robert Kruger. University of Exeter Press, 1999.
Pudovkin, V.I. “Film Technique and Film Acting.” CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.
Sanjinés, Jorge, and the Ukamau Group. “Problems of Form and Content in Revolutionary Cinema.” New Latin American cinema: Vol. 1: Theory, practices and transcontinental articulations, edited by Michael T. Martin. Wayne State University Press, 1997, pp. 62-70.
Shaw, Deborah. Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Breaking into the Global Market. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007.
Solanas, Fernando, and Octavio Getino. “Towards a Third Cinema.” Documentary is never neutral, documentaryisneverneutral.com/words/camasgun.html.
Wilkerson, Travis. “Home Cinémathèque Annotations on Film Hasta la Victoria Siempre.” Sense of Cinema, sensesofcinema.com/2001/cteq/hasta/.
Wilson, Kristi M. “From Pensioner to Teenager: Everyday Violence in De Sica’s Umberto D and Gaviria’s Rodrigo D: No Future.” Italian neorealism and global cinema, edited by Laura E. Ruberto and Kristi M. Wilson. Wayne State University Press, 2007.
Zavattini, Cesare. “Some Ideas On The Cinema.” Vittorio De Sica: Contemporary Perspectives, edited by Stephen Snyder, Howard Curle. University of Toronto Press, 2000.