Overview of the history of Mexican cinema, beginning with the influence of Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein and Russian immigrant director Arcady Boytler in the early 1930s, through the films of the Mexican Revolution of the mid 1930s, epitomized by Fernando de Fuentes; the culmination of national allegory and melodrama in the ‘Golden Age’ of the 1940s, as epitomized by the films of Emilio ‘El Indio’ Fernández; Buñuel’s surrealist and documentary cinema of the 1950s, the ‘New Cinema’ of the 1970s, women’s cinema in the 1980s, and the ‘New Wave’ of the 1990s and beyond. While most Mexican directors of the Golden Age, including Fernando de Fuentes and Emilio Fernández, construct a mythology of revolutionary nationalism, linked to essentialized gender and ethnicity, Luis Buñuel deconstructs these myths through the lens of modernization as underdevelopment. The best Mexican directors of the 1970s, including Arturo Ripstein, and those of the latest boom, including Alfonso Cuarón and Maria Novaro, interrogate changing definitions of gender, ethnicity, national and global citizenship.
Students will do an oral presentation (in pairs), write one three- to four-page analytical essay, and take four quizzes. Those enrolled in the Spanish portion of the course should write and do at least half of their research in Spanish.
Textbook: Andrea Noble, Mexican National Cinema. New York: Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0-415-23010-1. Additional readings will be posted to our Catalyst web site. Films: Que Viva México, La mujer del puerto/The Woman from the Port, Vamonos con Pancho Villa Let’s Go with Pancho Villa, Maria Candelaria, Salón México, Los Olvidados, El lugar sin limites/Hell Has No Limits, Y tu mamá tambien/And Your Momma Too, and Sin dejar huella/Without a Trace. The films are in Spanish with English subtitles and will be available on Instant Streaming.