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Revolutions & Social Movements seen through Latin American & Iberian Documentary Film

SPAN 535 / CWL 562
Bolivian dancer

Professor: Eduardo Ledesma

Meets: Wednesdays 3:00-5:50

This course explores Latin American and Spanish documentary film in relation to revolutionary and social movements from the 1930s until today. Documentary is seen as a genre that has an “immediate” relationship with reality and history. The course challenges such definitions of what constitutes a documentary and what measure of fiction the genre carries within itself, to show that documentary films do not simply represent reality, but also mediate and actively construct it. Special focus is placed on understanding the role of the Latin American and Spanish documentary as a tool for social transformation and political action. For instance we explore the notion espoused by Argentina’s Cine Liberación of the camera as a gun, or how movements such as “Indignados” in Spain used new cell phone documentaries to spark resistance to globalization. We will examine films from Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, and Cuba, among other countries. The course also serves as an introduction into film-specific analysis, focusing on the intricate connections between film form and content, aesthetics and politics. Additionally, we will parse important theoretical texts informed by Third Cinema and postcolonial theory, contemporary film theory and documentary theory.