Latin American Cinema

With the recent success of Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia de la luz (Chile, 2010), as well as the international acclaim enjoyed by ‘performative’ or ‘first-person’ documentaries including Albertina Carri’s Los rubios(Argentina, 2003) and Macarena Aguiló’s El edificio de los chilenos (Chile, 2010), Latin American documentary has experienced something of a renaissance. Arguably, though, a ‘documentary’ relation to the real has always underwritten Latin American cinema, even in films of a ‘fictional’ kind. The key question of documentary filmmaking –how to access, register, and reproduce lived experience– has also been at the heart of wider debates on the poetics of cinema in the region, since, in order to carve out a space for itself in global circuits of production and distribution, Latin American cinema had to present itself as uniquely capable of accessing local realities. Thus, from early forerunners such as Margot Benacerraf’s Araya (Venezuela, 1959), Fernando Birri’s Tiré Dié (Argentina, 1960), or Mario Handler’s Cine-retrato de un caminante(Uruguay, 1965), ‘New Latin American Cinema’ was also characterized by a blurring of boundaries between observation and staging, the real and the ficticious – a tendency, in fact, that could be traced back right to the beginnings of Latin American film, including Alcides Greca’s El último malón (1917) –shot with survivors of one of the last indigenous uprisings in Argentina– or Emilio Gómez Muriel’s Redes (1934) about life in a Mexican fishing village. In the way it exhibits and reflects on its own conditions of production, then, the documentary is also a kind of critical commentary on Latin American cinema within cinema itself. In the course, we are going to analyze and compare issues of narrative authority, point of view, performance and reflexivity in a host of films between the second half of the twentieth century and the present, focusing particularly on recent trends and developments and including work by Santiago Álvarez, Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva, Sara Gómez, Sílvio Caoizzi, Andrés Di Tella, Ignacio Agüero, Alejandro Fernández Mouján, Carmen Castillo, and Tiziana Panizza, among others.

This course provides an introduction to Latin American Cinema, and may focus on particular national cinemas, transnational cinematic trends, genres or periods within its history in Latin America, or may be organized thematically around specific issues and ways of examining cinema history, including gender or class histories and may include different technologies of cinematic production. This class may be offered in English, Spanish or Portuguese and will be indicated in semester course description.

Course Information



4 Points

Term Section Instructor Schedule Location

Fall 2017

Jens Andermann
MW: 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM 194M 307