Course Description

Course Name

Latin America on Film

Session: VVPS3224

Hours & Credits

45 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


This course is focused on the portrayal of historical, cultural and socio-political issues in Latin America. It also incorporates strongly the representation of Latin American literature on films. Latin Americans search for their identity through their art. It helps to integrate a vision of themselves and their world. This course teaches a historical, cultural as well as a cinematic approach to Latin America. This is achieved through an analysis of its literature and cinema. The
former element is important because a great part of the films develop from novels and novellas. The selected short stories and films express characteristics common to all the subcontinent, with reference to cultural heritage, landscape, political environment, and artistic development. Through cinema, intercultural themes will be studied, considering that each Latin American country has developed a culture of its own. The approach will be multicultural including films made by artists from Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and the United States in both English and/or Spanish.
The Spanish versions will be subtitled. An analysis of the contrasting views will be performed. In this way we can infer how we see ourselves and how we are viewed by the American culture.

1. To develope the ability to watch a movie from a critical perspective.
2. To discover the filmaker's particular view toward Latin America.
3. To analyze the cinematic language used by the filmaker in order to convey his particular vision.
4. Being able to evaluate a movie from its theme and visual aesthetics

Seminar-style classes. Along with watching the films, the professor will present certain themes present in them. He will seek also to generate a dialogue with the students and encourage them to keep a critical vision and to debate their ideas. The students' participation, therefore, is crucial.

1. Latin America as a collective ideology. A Middle Earth, a hinge between the East and the West. A continent where the mythologies of the Middle Ages and Renaissance ideals occur.
2. The kind of characters who germinate in a land like Latin America. A cultural richness that endures through folklore and popular culture
3. Chile's search for identity through its cinema. The poet Nicanor Parra in his poem "Chile": "We believe we are a country, and truth be told we are just a landscape". How this idea is reflected in the eyes of Chilean filmakers.
4. Latin America has worked as a white canvas for many filmakers. Each of them has work upon an image, a voice, a specific mindset, found in its cultural diversity. A spectrum of stories.

Schedule of Topics
1. Introduction and presentation of the course to the students. The creation of Latin America and how it is still a continent yet to be discovered. The Spanish Conquista and its collective imagery
2. Aguirre, The Wrath of God by Werner Herzog
3. Aguirre, The Wrath of God
4. A new approach to the concept of ?derrota?
5. Lope de Aguirre: the historical figure behind the legend
6. The Mission by Roland Joffé
7. The Mission
Delivery of Essay 1
8. The Word of God in the New World: the figures of the soldier and the priest
9. Tthe Society of Jesus and the Guaraní War
10. Fitzcarraldo by Werner Herzog
11. Fitzcarraldo
Delivery of Essay 2
12. Fitzcarraldo. ?Civilization or death!?
13. The figure of the rubber baron, ?the gentlemen of the jungle?: a tale of patriotism, civilization and blood
14. Oral Presentation
15. Oral Presentation
16. El Chacal de Nahueltoro by Miguel Littin
17. El Chacal de Nahueltoro
18. The trial of the ?Jackal?: Justice or vengeance?
19. The history of José del Carmen Valenzuela Torres: from murder to folk hero and saint
20. Valparaíso mi amor by Aldo Francia
21. Valparaíso mi amor
Delivery of Essay 3
22. A Valparaíso by Joris Ivens. The romantic and artistic vision versus the poor and miserable reality
23. The New Chilean Cinema: spreading awareness to the masses through motion pictures
24. Taxi para Tres by Orlando Lübbert
25. Taxi para Tres
Delivery of Essay 4
26. Contemporary Chile: the struggle of the middle class.
27. The casualties of the Chilean economical boom according to Lübbert
28. Oral Presentation
29. Oral Presentation
30. Araya by Margot Benacerraf
31. Araya. Discussion of the film
32. Acidente by Cao Guimarães y Pablo Lobato
33. Travelogue or the traveling experience through the lens of a camera
34. Delivery of Final Exam

- Essays, 25%
- 2 Oral presentations, 15% each
- Class participation and debates, 25%
- Final exam, 20%

1. Bordwell, David; Thompson, Kristin, Film Art: An Introduction, (6ta ed.) Editorial McGraw-Hill, New York, 2001 (1979).
2. Cavallo, Ascanio; Díaz, Carolina, Explotados y benditos: mito y desmitificación del cine chileno de los 60s, Editorial Uqbar, Santiago, Chile, 2007.
3. Elena, Alberto; Díaz López, Marina (ed), The Cinema of Latin America, Wallflower Press, London, 2003.
4. Martin, Adrián, ¿Qué es el cine moderno?, Editorial Uqbar, Santiago, Chile,2008.
5. Martin, Michael T. (ed), New Latin American Cinema, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Michigan, 1997.
6. Herzog, Werner, Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2009.
7. Pizarro, Ana, Amazonia: el río tiene voces, Fondo de Cultura Económica,Santiago, Chile, 2009.
8. Rojas Farías, Víctor; Valparaíso, el mito y sus leyendas, Editorial Ril, Santiago, Chile, 2001.
9. Rosenbaum, Jonathan, Guerras del cine: cómo Hollywood y los medios conspiran para limitar las películas que podemos ve, Editorial Uqbar, Santiago, Chile, 2007.
10. Vázquez, Francisco, El Dorado. Crónica de la expedición de Pedro de Ursúa y Lope de Aguirre, Editorial Alianza, Madrid, España, 2007.

*Course content subject to change