Module Identifier SP34120  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Maria D Blanco  
Semester Semester 2  
Pre-Requisite Eligibility for entry to Spanish Level 3  
Mutually Exclusive SP24120  
Course delivery Lecture   Ten 1-hour lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   Ten 1-hour seminars  
  Workload Breakdown   Lecture and seminar attendance: 20 hours; lecture and seminar preparation (research and reading): 100 hours; essay research and preparation: 45 hours; text commentary research and preparation: 35 hours.  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment : Three 500-word response papers40%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment : Informal presentation, seminar attendance and performance20%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment : One final essay (2500 words for Level 3 students)40%
Supplementary Exam 1 x 2 hour examination if continuous assessment submitted. 1 x 3 hour examination if no continuous assessment submitted.100%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Engage in discussions about the historical evolution of Spanish American film expression;
2. Use the language of cinema to enter debates surrounding issues of content and form;
3. Have familiarity with some of the most widely discussed examples of Spanish American film, as well as with important critical texts that consider them;
4. Show increased familiarity with the key methods and critical tools employed by scholars to study film and film history;
5. Be acquainted with a variety of film genres as used by particular trans-national directors;
6. Engage critically with a wide variety of scholarly material including monographs and specialised articles.
7. Present their findings in a logical, organised and scholarly fashion both orally - through debates and informal presentations - and in written form - through essays and text commentaries.
8. Compare texts and engage in debates that analyse the connections or differences among these film texts.


This new module exposes students to the study of Spanish American film in the 20th and 21st centuries. Looking at practitioners from the 'Golden Age' of Mexican cinema in the 1940s to present-day filmmakers such as Alejandro González Iñárritu, the module aims to engage students in discussions of the formal-aesthetic, historical, political and narrative issues contained in some of the most popular and/or controversial films from Spanish America.

Brief description

Is there such a thing as a 'unique' Spanish American cinema? How do history and cinematic expression combine and collide on the screen to produce an idea of the Spanish American cultural landscape? In this module, students will view a range of films from different periods and countries in Spanish America, and will be asked to use the language of cinema to closely analyse and discuss formal and aesthetic constructions of film narrative, whilst reading book and journal articles that provide a historical and political framework for the films. Two-hour class meetings (as well as separate screening times), organized around five (5) films and a set collection of critical texts, will allow students to view, read, and discuss the historical, narrative, and formal development of a Spanish American cinematic tradition.


The module is structured around five units centred on the study of one film and theme per unit:
1. Mexican Indigenism and the Art of Film Muralism: The Films of Emilio Fernández
2. Revolution and the Hispanic Avant-Garde: Memorias del subdesarrollo: Tomás Gutiérrez-Alea's Cuba
3. Panic Theater, the 1960s and American Landscapes: Alexandro Jodorowsky
4. Gender, History and Allegory: The Feminist Filmography of María Luisa Bemberg
5. Neoliberalism and the Urban Film Narrative: Alejandro González Iñárritu and the New Boom in Mexican Cinema

Module Skills

Problem solving Selection of viewing and reading material; answering questions posed by written assessment; seminar work  
Research skills Research and preparation of continuous written assessment; preparation for seminars; students will be encouraged to look beyond films shown in class to craft projects  
Communication Oral communication developed in seminars; written communication developed in papers  
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be able to assess their own progress week by week through the continuously assessed written work, as well as their participation in seminars  
Team work Debates and group presentations in seminars  
Information Technology Use of online journals; delivery of course materials and information via email and e-learning system  
Application of Number Some use of numerical terminology to describe certain film techniques  
Personal Development and Career planning Acquisition of transferable skills; in-depth acquaintance with film and film criticism as an academic subject  
Subject Specific Skills Acquisition of vocabulary to address issues of narrative and formal film structures; close readings of film scenes through developed use of storyboards  

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Bordwell, David & Thompson, Kristin (2007) Flm Art: An Introduction McGraw Hill Publishing
King, John (2000) Magical Reels: A history of Cinema in Latin America Verso


This module is at CQFW Level 6