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Unit information: Themes in Latin American Film: Social Changes and Challenges in 2018/19

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Unit name Themes in Latin American Film: Social Changes and Challenges
Unit code HISP30073
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Peters
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Faculty Faculty of Arts


In this unit, we will analyse contemporary Latin America through the medium of its cinema. We will cover the development of filmmaking in the region as a counterforce to U.S, cultural hegemony and the Hollywood film industry, with an emphasis on the New Latin American Cinema movement that started in the 1960’s. Students will be encouraged to engage critically with how topics such as migration, racial, gender and social inequalities, and national identity are treated by filmmakers from a range of countries. Given the context of social and political change, special attention will be given to the Cuban film industry, including the role of the Havana Film Festival (El Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de la Habana) and Cuba’s International School of Cinema in creating a regional aesthetic.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit students will be able to:

1. demonstrate an advanced knowledge of films that treat the themes of social changes and challenges in Latin American societies.

2. respond critically and analytically to the issues/debates raised by the films studied.

3. demonstrate a firm grasp of theoretical and critical scholarship in the field of study.

4. formulate independent judgements and engage with ideas at a high level of complexity.

5. demonstrate sophisticated visual analytical skills and an ability to use film terminology correctly.

Teaching details

1 weeklylecture and 1 weekly seminar hour

Assessment Details

One essay of 3000 words (50%) and one 2 hour exam (50%), testing ILOs 1-5.

Reading and References

Reading and References*(Books)

Guy Baron, Gender in Cuban Cinema: From the Modern to the Postmodern (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011)

Michael Chanan, Cuban Cinema (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004)

Michael Chanan, Chilean Cinema (London: British Film Institute, 1976)

Laura Podalsky, The Politics of Affect and Emotion in Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

Robert Stam, Tropical Multiculturalism: A Comparative History of Race in Brazilian Cinema and Culture (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1997)


Maria Barea, Mujeres del planeta (1982)

Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Macunaíma (1969)

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Guantanamera (1995)

Mario Handler, Mestizo (1988)

Walter Salles, Terra Estrangeira (1996)