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Film and Visual Arts module - film still

2017-18 Key Issues and Texts: Latin American Film and Visual Arts

Primary texts (films, books or catalogues) are listed for each weekly seminar. You will be expected to have viewed or studied all of the texts set for each seminar, together with some of the secondary reading suggested in each of the bibliographies.

Some suggestions for general reading on Film Theory, Visual Culture and Latin American cinema are available here.

Some ‘key issues’ relating to each seminar are identified – you may wish to focus on one or more of these in a seminar paper or an essay.

Michaelmas Term

Seminar 1: Introduction to Film Theory and Analysis (JP)

There is no set reading, but you are advised to dip into as many of the books suggested here as possible, in order to gain familiarity with the terminology and concepts associated with the analysis of film, as well as some of the items listed on the general bibliography for the module. 

Seminar 2: Mimicry and Modernity in early Latin American Cinema (RO and MC)

Primary texts

Key issues
  • Mimicry and the translations of cinematic form
  • The fetishism of commodities and the visualization of Labour
  • The country and the city in early C20 film
  • “The Cinema of attractions”
  • Modernization, class and race

​​Bibliography

Seminar 3: Animals, Landscapes and Violence in Contemporary Latin American Film (LB)

Films

  • Lisandro Alonso, Los muertos (Argentina, 2004)
  • Carlos Reygadas, Post Tenebras Lux (Mexico, 2012)
  • Ciro Guerra, El abrazo de la serpiente (Colombia, 2015)

Key issues

  • The relationship between animals, landscapes and capitalism
  • Temporality, spatiality, and the nonhuman
  • Violence and animality; death and animality
  • Animals as metaphors; animal mimicry (Shukin, 2009)
  • Evaluating post-anthropocentric frameworks within film studies
  • ‘How forests think’; semiosis beyond the human; the question of representation (Kohn, 2013)

Bibliography

Seminar 4: Women Photographers in Mexico and the Ethnic Subject (ES

Primary photographers

  • Tina Modotti
  • Mariana Yampolsky
  • Graciela Iturbide
  • Flor Garduño
  • (Please see the bibliography for catalogues containing their work)

Key issues

  • The ethics of the gaze
  • Photography as a cultural practice
  • Anthropological aesthetics
  • The allegorical impulse
  • Reflexivity and framing
  • Displaced identities
  • Exhibiting and disseminating the image
  • Why 'black & white'?
  • Melancholy and the photographer

​​Bibliography

Seminar 5: Memory and Media in Post-dictatorship Argentina (JP) 

Primary texts

  • Un muro de silencio (Lita Stantic, 1993)
  • Los rubios (Albertina Carri, 2003) 
  • Infancia clandestina (Benjamin Ávila, 2011)

Key issues

  • Representing political violence
  • Complicity, voyeurism and the role of the spectator
  • Reflexivity and genre
  • The politics and ethics of 'truth-telling' in the post-dictatorship era
  • Second-generation memory and post-memory
  • Militancy and the family

Bibliography

Lent Term

Seminar 6: Waste Not Want Not: Film and Garbage (GK)

This seminar looks at some key films from Brazil and Mexico, mostly documentary, dealing with the representation of waste, pollution and garbage.

Primary texts

  • Jorge Furtado et al. Ilha das Flores (Brazil, 1989) (short)
  • Eduardo Coutinho, Boca de Lixo (Brazil, 1992)
  • Marcos Prado, Estamira (Brazil, 2004)
  • Lucy Walker et al., Lixo Extraordinário (Waste Land, Brazil and UK, 2010)
  • Eugenio Polgovsky, Resurrección (Mexico, 2016) – t.b.c.
  • Michel Lipkes, Extraño pero verdadero (Mexico 2017) – t.b.c.

Key issues

  • Ethics of waste, garbage and “refuse”
  • The “aesthetics” of garbage and representational economy
  • The relationship between commodities and garbage
  • The waste cycle: what leaks out?
  • The human-waste interface: people as garbage
  • Can garbage speak?
  • Recycling garbage into art / film
  • Garbage and space

Bibliography

Seminar 7: Film, Politics and History in Latin America ​ (MC)


Primary texts 

  • Memorias del subdesarrollo (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Cuba, 1968)
  • Terra em transe (Glauber Rocha, 1967)

Key issues 

  • The role of the filmmaker/ intellectual
  • Relation of cinematic representation to polity
  • 'Dominant Cinema/ Counter Cinema/ Third Cinema': ideological positions; aesthetic strategies; self reflexivity, modes of film-making and distribution
  • The influence of French New Wave, Soviet montage, Italian neorealism, Brecht
  • Neocolonialism and revolution in Latin America
  • Film and the failure of the teleology of history
  • Spectatorship and subjectivity

Bibliography

Seminar 8: Encounters between Ethnography and Conceptualism in Latin American Art (MP)

Primary texts

  • Artists involved in the exhibition Tucumán Arde (Rosario, Argentina, 1968)
  • Mexican Artists Collective Proceso Pentágono
  • Chilean Collective Colectivo Acciones de Arte (CADA)

Key issues

  • Approaches to Latin American art beyond the fantastic
  • The artist as ethnographer
  • The politics of representation
  • Art and political commitment
  • Intermediality
  • The crisis of “high art” in 1960s Latin America
  • Early experiences of participatory and relational art​

Bibliography

Seminar 9: Necropolitics and Biopoetics: War, Capital and the Body in Contemporary Colobian Film (RO) 

Primary texts

  • País de los pueblos sin dueños (Mauricio Acosta, 2009 - documentary)
  • Porfirio (Alejandro Landes, 2011 - fiction) 
  • Requiem N.N. (Juan Manuel Echavarría, 2013 - documentary) ​

Key issues

  • Approaches to violence in Colombian cinema
  • Violence, extractive economics and the production/destruction of space 
  • Bodily impairment and its intersections with ‘race’
  • Biopolitics as ‘necropolitics’ in the global south 
  • Death and the production of capital

Bibliography

Seminar 10: Afuerando: body, site and dissensuality in contemporary multimedia and performance art in Latin America (ES)

Primary artists

  • Ana Mendieta (Cuba)
  • Gabriel Orozco (Mexico)
  • Liliana Porter (Argentina)

Other relevant artists
Doris Salcedo (Colombia); in Mexico: Yolanda Gutiérrez, Victor Grippo, Helen Escobedo, Silvia Gruner, Gerardo Suter, Monica Castillo, Betsabee Romero.

Key issues

  • deconstructing visual codes and paradigms
  • conceptual manifestation v representation
  • performative identities
  • problematising spectatorship
  • the poetics of trace
  • body, protest and space
  • reflexivity, its forms and installations
  • memory, found objects and visual narratives
  • the presence/absence of context
  • post-nationalist visuality

Bibliography

Seminar 11: Technology and the Posthuman in Graphic Novels from Chile (JP)

Primary texts

  • e-Dem: La conspiración de la vida eterna. Desarraigo (Cristián Montes Lynch, 2012)*+
  • Policía del Karma (Jorge Baradit and Martín Cáceres, 2011)*+
  • Las playas del otro mundo (Cristián Barros and Demetrio Babul, 2009)+
  • 1899: Cuando los tiempos chocan (Francisco Ortega and Nelson Dániel, 2011)+
* available to read in the West Room, UL
+ available on request from CLAS
 
Key issues
  • steampunk and the materiality of technology
  • critiques of modernity: imperialism, the ‘disenchantment of the world’, and the nature-culture divide
  • uses of the science fiction and alternative history genres
  • humanist and post-humanist perspectives
  • relationships between religion, technology, magic and animism
  • embodiment and experience in cyberculture

​​Bibliography