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  • Latin American Film
  • Bridget Franco

Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to film analysis by studying the development of cinema in Latin America, specifically in relation to the military dictatorships (1970/80s) in the Southern Cone and the subsequent transition period to democracy of the 1990s in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. We will examine how these films highlight important social and political issues, as well as how cinematography, as an artistic medium, grapples with questions of representation, censorship, testimony, memory, and popular culture. Movies will be screened in Spanish. Class is conducted in Spanish.

WARNING: Given the subject matter, many of the films used in this course contain explicit scenes of violence that may be difficult for some students to watch. If you have strong personal objections to viewing such material, you should drop this course. Students will not be excused from watching a film because of personal objections to specific content.

Course Objectives

The main goals of this course are (1) to acquire an understanding of Southern Cone cinema in the historical context of the military dictatorships and the transition period to democracy; (2) to gain an appreciation of film as an artistic medium with the power to promote awareness, challenge predominant world-views, and stimulate critical reflection; (3) to gain experience in analyzing film, specifically in seeing and articulating relationships between content and form.

Attendance & Class Participation

According to the liberal arts philosophy, learning takes place best through active discussion and the informed exchange of ideas. In order for learning to take place, it is crucial that all parties involved have a genuine interest in the subject matter and do the assigned work consistently. I am more than willing to explain difficult concepts covered in the readings, but I also expect you to be able to tell me about the readings and to apply what you have read to the films. Most of all, I encourage my students to show initiative and to contribute substantively to the class discussions on a regular basis. Good attendance and punctuality are expected for this class and will strongly affect your grade. [End Page 325]

Course Materials


  • – 12 films (available on closed reserves at the Multimedia Resource Center).

  • – All other required and supplementary readings will be available on Moodle throughout the semester. You are expected to read these texts prior to our meeting and to bring a printed copy with you to class.

Weekly Film Screenings

Each week, you will be required to view the assigned film prior to our class meeting. Keep in mind that good film reviews and essays require more than one viewing in order to allow time for careful note-taking and to capture cinematographic complexities, especially in foreign language films. If you cannot attend the weekly film screening or if you need a second viewing, all of the films will be on closed reserves in the Multimedia Resource Center.

Film screenings will be held every Tuesday at 4:30pm. Each student will sign up as a moderator for one of these film screenings (responsibilities include picking up the film at the MRC, briefly introducing the movie, providing written prompt questions to the audience, moderating a post-screening Q&A discussion and returning the film to the MRC by 7:00pm). The moderator will also give an oral presentation (10-15 minutes) in class following the screening. This presentation should include a summary of the highlights from Tuesday nights discussion session, as well as further analysis of a particular episode and/or cinematographic technique/strategy that interests you.

Written Assignments

–Reseñas (Film Reviews)

Students will write reviews for two movies of their choice (make your selections on Moodle), targeting different audiences. The first review (in Spanish) will be written for a U.S. audience that is not familiar with the historical/political context of the film. The second review will be designed for publication in a local newspaper in the country of origin. Film reviews (length 2 pages) will be posted on Moodle for your peers to read. When writing your movie reviews and essays, you should plan to watch each film twice.

–Puntos de enfoque

The film moderator...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 325-329
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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