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Seminars Archive: Latin American Film and Visual Arts

Seminars delivered in previous years. (Some bibliographies link to pages on the old CLAS website.)

Painting as De-facement: Experiments in Visual Surreality and the Avant-Garde in Latin America (BE)

Artists 

  • Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Angelina Beloff
  • ​Remedios Varo, Salvador Dalí (Leonora Carrington, Leonor Fini)
  • Tarsila do Amaral, Oswalde de Andrade
  • Wilfredo Lam, Alejo Carpentier

Texts

  • Frida Kahlo: El diario de Frida Kahlo
  • Diego Rivera: Rivera, mi arte, mi vida
  • Elena Poniatowska: Querido Diego, te abraza Quiela
  • Oswald de Andrade: ‘Manifesto antropófago’ (aka: ‘Manifesto Antropofágico’)
  • Salvador Dalí: ‘La conquista de lo irracional’
  • Alejo Carpentier: El reino de este mundo (introduction or prologue)
  • André Breton: Manifestes du surréalisme (especially the second)

Key issues

  • personhood, personality, and depersonalization or dehumanization
  • representation, self-representation, masquerade
  • intimacy, extimacy and the social
  • ‘failure’ and ‘success’, fame, infamy and obscurity
  • surrealist cartographies, avant-garde experimentations, exoticism and cultural imperialism​

Bibliography

Memory and Materiality in Chile (BE)

Primary texts

Required viewing:

  • Chile, la memoria obstinada (Patricio Guzmán, 1997)
  • Nostalgia de la luz (2010)
  • Flores en el desierto (Paula Allen) [photographic exhibition]

Required reading:

Further recommended viewing:

  • La batalla de Chile (Patricio Guzmán, 1975, 1977, 1979)

Key Issues

  • Historical memory
  • Dictatorship, post-dictatorship, neoliberalism
  • Affect and emotion
  • Documentation and truth
  • Place, positionality, subjectivity

Bibliography

Movement, Memory, and the Function of the Author in the Documentaries of Patricio Guzmán (BE)

Primary texts

  • La batalla de Chile (1975, 1977, 1979)
  • Chile, la memoria obstinada (1997)
  • Nostalgia de la luz (2010)

Key Issues

  • memory and post-memory
  • responsibility and engagement
  • objectivity, pathos and emotion
  • tensions between auteurship and collective movements
  • intermedial relations: cinema, photography, land art and sky poetry (Raúl Zurita and Paula Allen)

Bibliography

New Argentine Cinema (JP)

Primary texts

  • Pizza, birra, faso (Adrián Caetano and Bruno Stagnaro, 1997) 
  • Mundo grúa (Pablo Trapero, 1999) 
  • Bolivia (Adrián Caetano, 2001)

Key issues

  • the return of neorealism and the influence of documentary filmmaking
  • aesthetic strategies in response to economic crises in contemporary Argentine filmmaking
  • urban marginalities: crime, unemployment, poverty and youth culture

Bibliography

Mexican Muralism and Golden Age Cinema: Intermedial Dialogue and Paradigms in Film and Art (ES)

Primary texts (films)

  • María Candelaria (Mexico, 1943)
  • Río escondido (Mexico, 1947)

Primary texts (visual arts and cinematography)

  • Diego Rivera, mural cycles: Secretaría de Educación Pública cycle, Mexico City (1923-28); History of Mexico: From the Conquest to the Future (1929-30), National Palace, Mexico City; Detroit Industry (1932-1933), the Detroit Institute of Arts.
  • David Alfaro Siqueiros and the cinematographic in mural and large scale art: Portrait of the Bourgeosie (1939-40); Cuauhtémoc contra el mito (1944) and Nueva democracia (1945), Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City.
  • Léopoldo Méndez and the Taller de Gráfica Popular collective [TGP]: Portfolio of Engravings for the films directed by Emlio Fernández and shot by Gabriel Figueroa, Río Escondido (1947), Pueblerina (1948), Un día de vida (1950) and La rebelión de los colgados (1954). See also series of lithographs for the portfolio En nombre de Cristo (1939) on the murder of secular teachers in rural Mexico.
  • José Clemente Orozco murals: Catharsis (1934), Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, The People and its False Leaders (1936), Assembly Hall, University of Guadalajara and Dive Bomber and Tank (1940), New York.

Key issues

  • Cultural nationalism
  • Gendering indigeneity
  • The Mexicanist sublime
  • Telluric myths
  • Didactic melodrama
  • Modernization
  • Technological reproduction
  • Visuality and the intermedial turn
  • Forging spectator/ship
  • Dissenting forms at home and across the border

Bibliography

Early Cinema and Modernity in Brazil (MC)

Primary texts 

  • Selection of actuality films from Early Cinema: Primitives and Pioneers
  • Selection of actuality films from Resgate do cinema silencioso
  • Electric Edwardians: The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon (1900)
  • São Paulo. A sinfonia da metrópole (Adalberto Kemeny and Rodolfo Kustig, 1927)
  • Berlin. Symphony of a Metropolis (Walter Ruttmann, 1927)

Key issues

  • Early Cinema and the Aesthetics of Attractions
  • Actuality Films
  • Projecting Order and Progress
  • Global Connections
  • The Uneven Global experience of Modernity
  • Visual Culture and Imported Modernities
  • Cinema and the City

Bibliography

Cinema and Political Protest in Latin America of the 1960s (JP)


Primary texts

  • Terra em transe (Glauber Rocha, Brazil, 1967)
  • La hora de los hornos (Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, Argentina, 1968)
  • Memorias del subdesarrollo (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Cuba, 1968)

Key issues

  • 'Third Cinema': ideological positions; aesthetic strategies; modes of film-making and distribution
  • Neocolonialism, economic underdevelopment and revolution in Latin America
  • The Cinema Novo movement
  • The influence of Soviet montage, neorealism, Brecht
  • Reflexivity and the role of the spectator

Bibliography

Aesthetics and Politics in (post-)Revolutionary Cuban cinema (LP)

Primary texts

  • La muerte de un burócrata (1966)
  • Fresa y chocolate (1993)
  • Arte nuevo de hacer ruinas (2006)

Other recommended viewing

  • Lucía (1968)
  • Guantanamera (1995) 
  • 7 días en La Habana (2012) 
  • ¿Quién diablos es Juliette? (1997)
  • Boleto al paraíso (2010)

Key issues:

  • Ideology, aesthetics and national identity
  • Politics and popular culture
  • Sexuality and visual culture
  • Homosexuality/AIDS and marginality
  • Post-modernity and post-socialism in Cuba
  • Fact and fiction: mockumentaries and satire

Bibliography

Introduction to Film Theory and Analysis (GK)


Primary text

  • ¿Quién diablos es Juliette? (dir. Carlos Marcovich)

There is no set reading, but you are advised to dip into as much of the secondary reading suggested in the bibliography as possible, in order to gain familiarity with the terminology and concepts associated with the analysis of film.

Cultures of Fear: Three Urban Films from Brazil (GK)

Primary texts

  • Pixote (Héctor Babenco, 1981)
  • Cidade de Deus (Fernando Meirelles, 2002)
  • O invasor (Beto Brant, 2002)

Key issues

  • Imaginaries of fear in the urban megalopolis
  • Complicity between 'los medios' and 'los miedos' (Martín-Barbero)
  • Walls, segregation and violence (Caldeira)
  • Massification/fragmentation of the megalopolis (globally connected/locally disconnected) (Castells)
  • Media self reflexivity and 'styling' the city (A Cosmética da Fome)
  • Use of popular/mass culture: punk and rap
  • Translocal imaginaries/communities (Appadurai)
  • Use of non-professional actors

Bibliography

Performing the Real in Contemporary Brazilian Documentary (EK)

Primary texts

  • Ônibus 174 (José Padilha, 2002)
  • Santiago (João Moreira Salles, 2010)
  • Jogo de cena (Eduardo Coutinho, 2007)

Key issues

  • Mediated identities
  • Performing marginality
  • (Hyper)visibility
  • Remediation and memory
  • Reflexivity in Performative Documentaries

Bibliography

Colombian Cinema: Conflict, City, Media (GK)

Primary texts

  • La estrategia del caracol (Sergio Cabrera, 1993)
  • La vendedora de rosas (Víctor Gaviria, 1998)
  • Bolívar soy yo (Jorge Alí Triana, 2001)

Key issues

  • The presence of La violencia in Colombian culture
  • How does cinema respond to social conflict and social change?
  • Class conflict, and the imbrication of aesthetics with social class
  • The relationship between social politics and the politics of representation
  • Spatial lines of conflict: country and city
  • The cinematic representation of space, and space versus time
  • The questioning of the televisual/filmic gaze
  • Questions of social visibility and invisibility
  • The concept and problematics of the use of 'natural' (non-professional) actors
  • Erasure of boundaries between fiction and documentary
  • Sexuality and/in the City
  • Mediations of social conflict: the role of the mass media
  • The ‘postmodernization’ of social conflict

Reading for the seminar is available online (only accessible from computers in the .cam.ac.uk domain).

Further viewing for those interested in studying this topic for an essay or thesis: Pura sangre (Luis Ospina, 1982); Cóndores no entierran todos los días (Francisco Norden, 1984); Pisingaña (Leopoldo Pinzón, 1985); Rodrigo D. No futuro (Víctor Gaviria, 1988); Confesión a Laura (Jaime Osorio, 1990); María Cano (Camila Loboguerrero, 1990); Édipo alcalde (Jorge Alí Triana, 1996); Soplo de vida (Luis Ospina, 1999).

Cinema and Dictatorship in Argentina: The 1980s (GK)

Primary texts

  • La historia oficial (Luis Puenzo, 1985)
  • Sur (Fernando Solanas, 1988)
  • Últimas imágenes del naufragio (Eliseo Subiela, 1989)

Key issues

  • Historia: history or story?
  • Memory and representation
  • Narrativity in film
  • How/why film images writing
  • The nostalgia for modernity
  • The national and the post-national
  • Cultural trauma

Bibliography

Documenting the Past (RO)

Primary texts

  • Nuestra voz de tierra, memoria y futuro (Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva, Colombia)
  • Chircales (Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva, Colombia, 1972)
  • Un tigre de papel (Luis Ospina, Colombia, 2007)

Key issues

  • Documentary film and political conflict in Colombia
  • Cinema and subaltern representation
  • Indigenous cinema – parallels with Bolivia
  • ‘Committed’ cinema
  • Self-reflexivity and documentary realism
  • Nostalgia

Curves of Irreverence: Oscar Niemeyer and Brazil's Other Architectural Modernism (SP)

 Key issues

  • Modernism and national identity in twentieth-century Brazilian architecture;
  • Brazilian architectural Modernism and its reception in Europe and the US as the 'first national style in modern architecture' (Reyner Bahnam, 1962), stemming from a country 'on the periphery of culture' (Siegfried Giedion, 1953);
  • architectural Antropofagia as an anti-colonialist strategy;
  • the Modernist revalorization of Brazil's colonial heritage;
  • the radicalisation of the extra-functionalist spaces of the architectural experience;
  • spectacle and luxury, pleasure, beauty and sensuality in the transgressive architecture of Oscar Niemeyer;
  • demystifying the socialist, rationalist and functionalist rhetoric of mainstream architectural Modernism;
  • problematising the dichotomies and hierarchies of the gendered city;
  • building in the socially and racially segregated city, challenging hegemonic identity;
  • the tropicalisation of the modern house;
  • building Brasilia, the 'capital of hope', updating the visual imaginary of brasilidade;
  • monumentality and counter-monumentality;
  • revalorising the negativised and marginalised democratic spaces of the Brazilian city.

Bibliography

Trauma and Amnesia: Post-dictatorship Chilean Cinema (GK)

Primary texts

  • Cáluga o menta (Gonzalo Justiniano, 1990)
  • Amnesia (Gonzalo Justiniano, 1994)
  • La frontera (Ricardo Larraín, 1991)

Of related interest: Death and the Maiden (English-language film of Ariel Dorfman's famous play in Spanish)

Key issues

  • Memory as a (faulty) representational apparatus
  • Trauma as a challenge to representation
  • Real and symbolic censorship, and its effects on cinema
  • Cultural politics in Chile
  • The focus on marginality and the repressed
  • The relationship between memory and the paralysis of time/history

Reading for this topic is available on-line (only to computers within the .cam.ac.uk domain)

Urban Violence in Brazilian and Colombian Film (RO)

Primary texts

  • O invasor (Beto Brant, Brazil, 2002)
  • Cidade de Deus (Fernando Mireilles, Brazil, 2002)
  • La Virgen de los sicarios (Barbet Schroeder, Colombia, 2000)
  • Satanás, (Andrés Baiz, Colombia 2007)  

Key issues

  • structural, systemic, symbolic and empirical violence
  • the functions of fear
  • mapping social invisibility
  • cinema and the media
  • commodification of violence on screen

Bibliography

Buenos Aires 2010: Memory Machines and Cybercities (GK)

Primary texts

  • Moebius (Gustavo Mosquera R., 1996)
  • La sonámbula (Fernando Spiner, 1998)

Key issues

  • postmodernity and the loss of history
  • memory and dictatorship
  • cyborgs and cybercultures
  • the dystopian city
  • film and literature
  • globalization

Bibliography

Modernity and Postmodernity in Argentine Cinema (JP)

Primary texts

  • El lado oscuro del corazón (Eliseo Subiela, 1992)
  • Buenos Aires vice versa (Alejandro Agresti, 1996)
  • La nube (Fernando Solanas, 1998)

Key issues

  • critiques of capitalism, neoliberalism and globalization
  • cinematic experimentation
  • psychological trauma and social disintegration in post-dictatorship Argentina
  • the complicit and redemptive functions of art in mass society
  • culture and the state

Bibliography

The Primitive and the Oneiric in some 20th Century Latin American Art (ES)

(i) Recasting Origins: Wifredo Lam (Cuba)
(ii) Inscapes: Space and Vision in Roberto Matta (Chile)

Books/studies/catalogues

  • Michel Leiris, Wifredo Lam (Milan and New York: Fabbri/Abrams, 1970)
  • Max-Pol Fouchet, Wifredo Lam (Barcelona: Polígrafa, 1989)
  • Alejo Carpentier et al, Lam (Caracas: Museo de Bellas Artes, 1955)
  • L.S.Sims, Wifredo Lam and the International Avant-garde, 1923-1982 (Austin: Texas UP, 2002)
  • Kinshasha Holman Conwill et al, Wifredo Lam and his Contemporaries, 1938-1952 (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1993)
  • William Rubin, Matta (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1957)
  • Martica Sawin, Matta: The Early Years (New York: Maxwell Davidson Gallery, 1988)
  • Paul Overy and Roger Malbert, Matta : The Logic of Hallucination (London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1984)

Key issues

  • Primitivism and the avant-garde
  • Representing originary identities
  • Myth and the unconscious
  • The politics of distortion
  • The self as other
  • Hybridities
  • Reworking landscape
  • Forms of the irrational
  • Vision and expression

Bibliography

Aesthetics and Politics in (post-)Revolutionary Cuban cinema (RO)

Primary texts

  • Fresa y chocolate (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1994)
  • El elefante y la bicicleta (Juan Carlos Tabío, 1994)
  • Suite Habana (Fernando Pérez, 2003)

Key issues

  • the relationship between ideology and aesthetics
  • politics and popular culture in Cuba
  • the representation of sexuality
  • homosexuality and dissidence in Cuba
  • 'post-modernity' in Cuba: a misplaced idea?

Bibliography

The City in Colombian Cinema (RO)

Primary texts

  • La estrategia del caracol (Sergio Cabrera, 1993)
  • La vendedora de rosas (Víctor Gaviria, 1998)
  • Bolívar soy yo (Jorge Alí Triana, 2001)

Key issues

  • How does cinema respond to social conflict and social change?
  • Class conflict, and the imbrication of aesthetics with social class
  • The relationship between social politics and the politics of representation
  • The cinematic representation of space, and space versus time
  • The questioning of the televisual/filmic gaze
  • Questions of social visibility and invisibility
  • The concept and problematics of the use of 'natural' (non-professional) actors
  • Erasure of boundaries between fiction and documentary
  • Sexuality and/in the City
  • Mediations of social conflict: the role of the mass media
  • The ‘postmodernization’ of social conflict

Reading for the seminar is available online (only accessible from computers in the .cam.ac.uk domain).

Further viewing for those interested in studying this topic for an essay or thesis: Pura sangre (Luis Ospina, 1982); Rodrigo D. No futuro (Víctor Gaviria, 1988); Confesión a Laura (Jaime Osorio, 1990); María Cano (Camila Loboguerrero, 1990); Édipo alcalde (Jorge Alí Triana, 1996); Soplo de vida (Luis Ospina, 1999), Satanás (Andrés Baiz, 2007) 

Contemporary Documentary Film in Latin America: Performance and Performativity (JP)

Primary texts

  • ¿Quién diablos es Juliette? (Carlos Marcovich, Cuba/Mexico, 1997)
  • Ônibus 174 (José Padilha and Felipe Lacerda, Brazil, 2002)
  • Aro Tolbukhin: En la mente del asesino (Racine, Villaronga and Zimmerman, Mexico, 2002)

Key issues

  • reflexivity and the deconstruction of documentary practice
  • authenticity, mediatization and performativity
  • memory, fantasy and fiction in documentary
  • representing marginality
  • the imbrication of knowledge and power in documentary practice

Bibliography

(In)visibility, Poverty and Cultural Change in Latin American Cities (FH)

Key issues

  • modernity, modernism and modernisation
  • modern architecture
  • poverty and inclusion/exclusion

Bibliography

Painting the River Magdalena, Colombia 1850-1930 (RO)

Primary texts

  • select works, from Colombia and beyond t.b.c.

Key issues

  • Tropical Renaissance and ‘pan-Americanism’
  • Visual culture and nation-formation
  • Flows and their impact on regional and national identity
  • Landscape, the sublime and civil war

Bibliography