This is an archived course. Visit the most recent syllabus.

Course Description

This course examines Latin American feature and documentary films to analyze social, cultural and political themes and issues present in several Latin American nations. Topics include national cinemas and film industries; stylistic conventions and genres; film and political movements; and representations of race, class, and gender.

Time and Place

Thursdays, 5:30 – 8:20 PM
Library, Room MMB
Sections: HA–551–09 and HA–551–10


Juan Monroy


Course Materials


The following textbooks are available through online retailers, such as Amazon, and on reserve at the library.

Reserve Readings

Required readings not found in the textbooks will be posted as PDFs on this website. When prompted, enter the username and password I provided to you in class.

Reserve Screenings

You must also screen films available on reserve at the video library at the Visual and Multimedia Resources, on the lower level of the Library. Those titles will be labeled On Reserve on the course schedule.

I encourage you to stream these titles online whenever they are available.


We will not be using the LMS for this course.


This class consists of five components. You cannot satisfactorily complete this course without all five of these.


At each class, we will discuss material you should know for the midterm exam and writing assignments. We will cover the historical and cultural context relevant to the films presented in class.


Each week, there will be at in-class screening. Some screenings are available to stream online and you may be able to purchase titles online and local video stores. However, the greatest value of this class comes from our watching films together and discussing them as a group, in the context of other films, readings, and spontaneous conversation.


Please read the assigned course material before each week’s class. Consult the Course Schedule, listed below, for the specific reading assignments.

Midterm Exam

The midterm exam is designed to reward regular attendance and diligent studying. There will be an in-class screening portion, along with a take-home portion due at the beginning of class the following week.


All assignments must be completed on time in order to receive full credit. Late assignments will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After seven calendar days, the assignment will not be accepted, and you could fail this class.



Please respect the classroom environment. You should pay attention to the lecture, take notes, and avoid distractions, such as web surfing or using your mobile phone. Studies have consistently shown that students using laptops and mobile phones perform about 11% worse than students who are not distracted by these devices. On a personal note, it’s very difficult to stay motivated as a teacher if I see students seemingly disinterested in their own education. If I find you engaging in disruptive behavior, such as watching online videos, passing notes, instant messaging, chatting, or texting, I will remove you from the classroom and have you withdraw from the class.

Community Standards

Students must adhere to all Institute-wide policies listed in the Bulletin under “Community Standards” and which include policies on attendance, academic integrity, plagiarism, computer, and network use.

Late Work and “Incomplete” Grades

Please submit your work on time. Late work will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After one calendar week, the assignment will not be accepted and you will likely fail this class.

There will be no incomplete grades for this class except in the case of a documented emergency in the final weeks of the semester. If you experience such an emergency, please contact me immediately, and we will work out a schedule for you to complete the outstanding work before the beginning of the following semester.

But aside from these circumstances, no late work will be accepted and no “incomplete” grades will be granted. If you have difficulty keeping up with coursework, consider giving yourself extra time to complete assignments, reducing your overall course load, and/or taking this class at a later semester.

Academic Integrity

Absolute integrity is expected of every member of the Pratt Community in all academic matters, particularly with regard to academic honesty.

The latter includes plagiarism and cheating. In addition, the continued registration of any student is contingent upon regular attendance, the quality of work, and proper conduct. Irregular class attendance, neglect of work, failure to comply with Institute rules, and official notices or conduct not consistent with general good order is regarded as sufficient reasons for dismissal.

Computers, Tablets, and Mobile Phones

Please refrain from using your digital devices during class. Also remember to silence your mobile phone, or turn it off to save your battery.

It is particularly rude to use your devices in class because it distracts not only me but also the students around you. And others can see what you’re doing.


Please check your official email account on a daily basis, if not more often. I will broadcast announcements and send point-to-point communiques using your official email address.

Please note that I am not allowed to discuss your grade from an account that is not your official email account.

Students with Disabilities

The mission of the Disability Resource Center, a part of the Office for the Vice President for Student Affairs, is to ensure that all students with disabilities can freely and actively participate in all facets of Pratt life. To this end the office provides and coordinates services and programs that support student development, enable students to maximize their educational and creative potential, and assist students to develop their independence to the fullest extent possible. Furthermore, the office’s goal is to increase the level of awareness among all members of the Pratt community so that students with disabilities are able to perform at a level limited only by their abilities, not their disabilities.

Students who require special accommodations for disabilities must obtain clearance from the Office of Disability Services at the beginning of the semester. They should contact Mai McDonald, Disability Services Coordinator, in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Main Building, Lower Level: 718–636- 3711.



Regular attendance is required and will count towards your grade.

  • Weight: 10%

Timeline of Latin American History

For each event listed below, provide the year of the event and a one-sentence summary of its importance to the history of Latin America.

  • September 24
  • Weight: 20%
  1. A military junta stages a coup d’etat in Chile, leading the overthrow of and suicide of President Salvador Allende.
  2. In an address to the United States Congress, President James Monroe offers a doctrine emphasizing US interest in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere and warns European powers not to interfere.
  3. Mexican president Lazaro Cardenas nationalizes oil industry and forms Pemex.
  4. Cuba establishes the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos.
  5. Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino publish a manifesto, “Hacia un tercer cine [Towards a Third Cinema].”
  6. The Panama Canal opens to maritime traffic, culminating a years long effort of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” diplomacy.
  7. US President Franklin Roosevelt commits the United States to “the policy of the good neighbor.”
  8. Simon Bolivar writes the “Jamaica Letter.”
  9. Argentina holds in first general election since 1976.
  10. Brazilian armed forces overthrow President Joao Goulart and install an authoritarian regime.

Extra credit: buy this puzzle (or build your own), assemble it, display it prominently in your workspace, and document it with a snapshot. Consider yourself a Latin Americanist! 5 points.

Midterm Exam

The midterm exam will consist of four essay questions requiring you to engage the screenings and readings related to Latin American film and its relationship to history and culture.

There will be an in-class portion where you identify an except from four different films. In addition, a take-home portion of four essay questions will be due the following week at the begininng of class.

  • In-class: October 16
  • Take-home due: October 23
  • Weight: 30%

Final Paper

Compare at least two films assigned for in-class or outside screenings and how they emerge from their period in Latin American history and culture.

Your paper should be at least 2,000 words in length, use and cite outside sources, and have a central argument (a thesis). At our last meeting, you will present your paper in class.

  • Due: December 17, in class
  • Paper: 30%
  • Presentation: 10%

Course Schedule

The following schedule will be frequently revised depending on a number of factors. We might not be able to rent some of the titles. I might increase or decrease the volume of readings. Also, our discussion might veer into unexpected directions so we might follow that rather than to stick to a plan I threw together sometime in August.

August 27 • Welcome

September 3 • A Revolution in Mexico

  • Que Viva Mexico (Sergei Eisenstein, 1931, Mexico, 85 min.)

September 10 • Commercial Production in Mexico and Brazil

  • María Candelaria (Emilio Fernandez, 1944, Mexico, 76 min.) On Reserve
  • O Cangaceiro (Lima Barreto, 1953, Brazil, 91 min.)

September 17 • Magical Neorealism

  • Los Olividados (Luis Buñuel, 1950, Mexico, 77 min.)
  • Tire Dié (Fernando Birri, 1958, Argentina, 33 min.)

September 24 • Brazil and Cinema Novo


Your Timeline of Latin American History is due in class today.

  • Orfeu Negro (Marcel Camus, 1959, Brazil, 100 min.) On Reserve
  • Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (Glauber Rocha, 1964, Brazil, 125 min.)

October 1 • Cuba, Revolution, and Imperfect Cinema

  • Memorias del Subdesarrollo (Tomas Gutiérrez Allea, 1968, Cuba, 97 min.)
  • Lucía (Humberto Solas, 1968, Cuba, 160 min.) On Reserve
Recommended Film

The Pratt Film Society is screening Soy Cuba (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1964, Cuba, 140 min.) on Tuesday, October 6, 5:30 PM, at Higgins Hall Auditorium.

  • King, “Cuba: Revolutionary Projects.”
  • Nancy Berthier, “Memorias del Subdesarrollo” in The Cinema of Latin America.
  • Julia Amiot, “Lucía,” in The Cinema of Latin America.
  • Julio García Espinosa, “For an Imperfect Cinema” (1969), translated by Julianne Burton.

October 8 • Chile, Violence, and Exile

  • El Chacal de Nahueltoro (Miguel Littin, 1969, Chile, 95 min.) On Reserve at Library
  • Diálogos de exiliados (Raúl Ruiz, 1975, Chile/France, 100 min.)
  • King, “Chilean Cinema in Revolution and Exile.”
  • Stephen Hart, “El Chacal de Nahueltoro,” A Companion to Latin American Film (Woodbridge, UK: Tamesis, 2004), 62–68.

October 15 • Midterm Exam

The identification portion of the exam will be held in class today.

October 22 • Bolivia

Midterm Exam

The take-home portion of the exam will be due at the beginning of class today.

  • “Neo-colonialism and Violence,” La Hora de los Hornos (Fernando Solanas and Octavio Gettino, 1968, Argentina, 84 min.)
  • Yawar Mallku: La Sangre del Cóndor (Jorge Sanjinés, 1969, Bolivia, 70 min.)
  • King, “Andean Images: Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru.”

October 29 • Before and After the Argentine Dictatorship

  • La Histora Official (Luis Puenzo, 1984, Argentina, 112 min.)
  • King, “Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.”
  • Fernando Solanas and Octavio Gettino, “Towards a Third Cinema” (1969), translated by Julianne Brown.
  • Mariano Mestman, “La Hora de los Hornos,” in The Cinema of Latin America.
  • Clara Kriger, “La Historia Oficial,” in The Cinema of Latin America.

November 5 • Imaging the Personal and National

  • Como Agua Para Chocolate (Alfonso Arau, 1993, Mexico, 105 min.) On Reserve
  • Central do Brasil (Walter Salles, 1998, Brazil/France, 131 min.)

November 12 • “Slick Grit” of Latin America

  • Amores Perros (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2000, Mexico, 153 min.) On Reserve
  • Nueve Reinas (Fabian Bielinsky, 2000, Argentina, 114 min.)
  • Hart, “The Slick Grit of Contemporary Latin American Cinema.”
  • Marvin de Lugo, “Amores Perros,” in The Cinema of Latin America.

November 19 • Global Latin Americanism

  • Cidade de Deus (Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, 2004, Brazil/France, 130 min.) On Reserve
  • Maria, Llena Eres de Gracia (Joshua Marston, 2004, Colombia/USA/Ecuador, 101 min.)
  • Continue reading: Hart, “The Slick Grit of Contemporary Latin American Cinema.”
  • King, “Afterword to the New Edition: Cinema in the Nineties: The Snail’s Strategy.”

December 3 • The Three Amigos

  • Cronos (Guillermo del Toro, 1993, Mexico, 94 min.)
  • Y tu mamá también (Alfonso Cuarón, 2001, Mexico, 106 min.) On Reserve

From Deborah Shaw, The Three Amigos: The Transnational Filmmaking of Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Alfonso Cuarón (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013):

December 17 • Final

Please bring your final papers and be prepared to present your final papers in class today.