Latin America and Film

History 145

Summer 2017
First 6 Week Session
Instructor: 
Day & Time: 
MTuWTh 12-2pm, May 22 – June 30
Class Number: 
15569
Units: 
4

This class is based on the idea that films can be used as the basis of historical inquiry and analysis. We will consider the content, form, and execution of a set of outstanding films from Latin America from about 1940 to about 1970, focusing on this period of cultural and political development in the countries with major film industries: Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, and Argentina. Our discussions and readings will include histories of the film industry and national cultural policy, the idea of melodrama as a Latin American genre, film criticism, and more general examinations of the political and social issues raised in the movies, for example:

  • The portrayal of race and gender. 

  • Depictions of poverty and inequality, in particular in the context of postwar urbanization. 

  • And, how films have contributed to the creation of national mythology and icons, the ways 
movies have been used both as part of national projects and challenged dominant narratives about national identity. 


Students will be expected to attend several movie nights or make arrangements to see movies outside of class time at the Media Resource Center. Assignments include two short papers based on the course films as well as a final paper.