Course Description

Course Name

Contemporary Spanish Cinema

Session: VSVS1121

Hours & Credits

45 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Note: A placement exam will be required when you arrive on site.


  • Prior to enrolling in courses at this language level, students must have completed or tested out of a minimum of four semesters (or six quarters) at the college level.


Course Description: This course will analyse contemporary Spanish Cinema as a cultural and artistic expression and will help to understand better the complex reality of Spain.

- Cinematic language.
- What is an ?artistic? film?.

- Buñuel. A genius among geniuses.

- The official cinema during Franco´s Regime.
- The ?No-Do?.
- Censorship, quotas and protectionist policies.
- Raza, a Franco?s project.
- Cinema evolution during the dictatorship. The new Spanish Cinema.

- Author?s cinema.
- Social challenges and problems.
- Popular genres in Spain.
- ?Landismo? and the ?destape?.
- La movida. Desperate search of creative freedom.
- Almodóvar: creativity in a free Spain.

- Women in front and behind the camera.

- Current situation of the Spanish cinema.
- Inside the industry: production, distribution and exhibition.
- Voices of autonomous regions: Catalan, Basque other regions.
- Crisis of production in Spain.
- Intellectual Property Law.
- EU guidelines.
- Destination Hollywood.

- Spain and its image through the cinema.
- Self representation of Spain and Spanish values during XXth century.
- From Bienvenido Mr. Marshall to Torrente.
- Spain as depicted in other nationalities? films.

SCREENINGS (complete or fragments):
- Un perro andaluz, Luis Buñuel
- Raza, Sáenz de Heredia
- Viridiana, Luis Buñuel
- El Espíritu de la Colmenta, Víctor Erice
- Sur, Victor Erice
- Eres mi héroe, Antonio Quadri
- Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios, Pedro Almodóvar
- Tesis, Alejandro Amenábar
- Poniente, Chus Gutiérrez
- Libertarias, Vicente Aranda
- Vacas, Julio Medem

Bibliography: Along with selections from primary texts, students will be provided selections from other sources including:

Jordan, Barry. (1998). Contemporary Spanish Cinema. New York, St Martin?s Press, 1998.
Allison, Mark. (2001). A Spanish Labyrinth: Films of Pedro Almodóvar. I.B. Tauris.
Fiddian, Robin W. (1988). Challenges to Authority: Fiction & Film in Contemporary Spain. London. Thamesis Books.
Zabala, Juan. (2007). El Cine Español contado con Sencillez. Madrid. Maeva Ediciones.

Course Evaluation:

Class presentations (2): 10%
Participation and Homework Assignments: 20%
Midterm Exam: 25% (T/A)
Final Exam: 35% (T/A)
Final Paper: 10%

Class presentations: Each student will present two 10-15 minute presentations on a particular author/theme related to the course content. Presentations may include visuals, audio supplements, etc. Presentation topics are included in parenthesis on the tentative class program, the date under which the theme appears being the date of the actual presentation. Presentations are scheduled to complement the particular authors/topics being discussed the given day; therefore, it is the student's responsibility to make sure that s/he is in class the days of his/her presentations.

Presentation Evaluation: 50 points possible

Content: Does the presentation offer 15 minutes of accurate, 20
high quality information?

Presentation: Is the information presented clearly and in a 10
scholarly manner? Does the presenter use visuals and/or other
supplementary materials?

Is the presentation engaging? Does the presenter actively 10
Strive to involve the class in his/her presentation? Does
s/he strive to hold the attention of the class?
Creativity 5

Overall preparedness 5

Text analysis: Each student will prepare a 3-4 page typed, double-spaced text analysis on an approved work. Students are required to prepare two drafts. The first draft will be peer edited in class and utilized as a springboard for discussion in pairs. Upon receiving class feedback, students will be expected to modify their papers accordingly. On the final day of class, students will present their paper to the class and participate in a round table discussion. Both copies of the paper need to be handed in that day and each will constitute a percentage of the final grade (first draft 30% of final grade; final, 70%).

Attendance Policy: Attendance is obligatory. Only four hours of unexcused absence from class will be permitted. Medical absences are excused with the prompt receipt of proper documentation. It is expected that students arrive to class on time and that they return promptly to class after any given class break. Tardiness is figured into the absence policy.

Class Protocol: Students are required to be involved in class activities. They are expected to show their preparation by participating in discussions, by asking relevant questions, being critical and analytical with the contents presented in class as well as by sharing their ideas and opinions. In class the student is required to maintain a polite demeanor always and under every circumstance. Students are asked not to eat in class and to put their cell phones on silence. With the exception being for class presentations, laptops are not to be used in class.

Final Project Example Video-


*Course content subject to change