Centre of Latin American Studies


centre of latin american studies > postgraduate study > M.Phil. in latin american studies > course modules > latin american film (and visual arts)

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Latin American Film (and Visual Arts)

This module is taught by Dr Geoffrey Kantaris, Dr Joanna Page, Ms Erica Segre and Prof. Paul Smith.

Go to the module website for more information and resources

This module offers students the opportunity to analyse some of the most exciting films, photography, and art to have emerged in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, and Chile in the 20th and 21st centuries. Many of the works studied address important contemporary issues such as globalization, (post)modernity, the construction of gender and sexuality, questions of race and ethnicity, the representation of history, and the role of visual culture in society. Emphasis will be placed on studying films and other visual arts within the cultural and social contexts of their production, and in the light of current theories of visual culture.

The first term provides an introduction to the study of visual culture (together with aspects of film theory). Seminars will focus on the work of key Mexican, Colombian and Argentine directors as well as topics in photography and muralismo.

The second term's work is organized around specific themes in Latin American cinema and culture. These may include:

  •  the city in Colombian cinema
  •  memory and representation in post-dictatorship Argentine cinema
  •  popular culture and sexuality in Cuban cinema
  •  the primitive and the oneiric in 20th-century Latin American art
  •  trauma and amnesia: post-dictatorship Chilean cinema
  •  contemporary Argentine cinema I: renewing neorealism
  •  women photographers in Mexico and the ethnic subject
  •  contemporary Argentine cinema II: experimentalism

We have extensive resources for the study of visual culture in Cambridge, including an archive of over 400 Latin American films available on VHS or DVD.

Students will be expected to have, or to acquire rapidly during the course, good listening comprehension and reading knowledge of Spanish, as a number of the films studied (particularly in the second term) are not available in a subtitled format.

Teaching takes the form of open-discussion seminars at which students are expected to present short papers. Students are also encouraged to attend lectures on Latin American cinema and visual arts given by the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages.

Formal study on the course in Cambridge is supplemented by a number of additional events and excursions, many of which are at no cost to MPhil students.  Distinguished film-makers are also invited to speak at Cambridge. Regular screenings of Latin American films take place on a large screen on University premises throughout the year, and the city also has a popular Arts Cinema showing many international arthouse films.