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Study information

Contemporary Latin American Cinema

Module titleContemporary Latin American Cinema
Module codeSML2004
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Natalia Pinazza (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module you will explore some of the most significant films that have emerged in Latin America since the mid-1990s, a period marked by the formation of Mercosur, the consolidation of democracy and neoliberalism. It is designed to enable students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds such as Modern Languages, English, History, Politics and Philosophy to engage critically with the social context and production conditions of Latin American films, as well as critical national and transnational issues. Prior experience of film study is not necessary. The focus of the module is on how Latin American films articulate certain tropes, and how films deal with narratives of nationhood whilst simultaneously inserting themselves into a transnational dialogue. Major themes include the family unit, filmmaking practices, globalization and genre.

The module can count towards Spanish or Portuguese in the BA Modern Languages, providing students satisfy the relevant requirements in their assessment. Students do not need to speak both Portuguese and Spanish.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to appeal to students from a wide range of backgrounds such as Modern Languages, English, History, Politics and Philosophy. It aims to enable you to:

  • Study contemporary films from Latin America that deal with global issues at the local level;
  • Explore thematic questions of national cinema, politics, genre, as well as questions specific to cinematic and visual representation;
  • Draw upon theories of globalization and neoliberalism and place these into a comparative context, including an engagement with international film co-production;
  • Debate and critique filmmaking practices in a global market, including critical national and transnational issues;
  • Carry out textual analysis while simultaneously tracing the films’ social context and production conditions;
  • Consider issues of genre and reasons for the unprecedented commercial and critical success of Latin American films.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an informed understanding of key historical and socio-political issues in Latin America and an ability to apply these to film
  • 2. Demonstrate an understanding of their significance in the broader cultural context in which the films were produced
  • 3. Demonstrate an informed understanding and detailed knowledge of the films studied on the module

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. After initial input from the course tutor(s), apply and evaluate critical approaches to the material under analysis independently
  • 5. Argue at length and in detail about an aspect of the topic, supporting the argument with evidence from the text and with opinions from secondary literature
  • 6. Access and use critically printed and, where appropriate, electronic learning resources identified as useful by the course tutor(s); find independently and evaluate critically other relevant resources
  • 7. Analyse films from a variety of genres and styles, showing awareness of their relation to the social, historical and generic context in which they were written, and present the results orally and in writing

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate proficiency in independent information retrieval and analysis
  • 9. Through research, seminar discussion, and essay writing demonstrate a capacity to question assumptions, to distinguish between fact and opinion, and to reflect critically on your own learning process

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • International Film Co-production
  • Nation and Family
  • Road Movie Genre
  • Border crossing

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10Seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Conclusion
Guided Independent Study134Reading, film viewing, and preparation for seminars and assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Clip Analysis 500 words1-9Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002500 words1-9Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay (2500 words)Essay (2500 words)1-9Written

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • De Luca, Tiago (2017) Casa Grande & Senzala: domestic space and class conflict in Casa Grande and Que horas ela volta? In: da Silva, Antonio Marcio and Cunha, Mariana, (eds.) Space and Subjectivity in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema. Screening Spaces. London: Palgrave, pp. 203-219.
  • Nagib, Lucia, Ed. The New Brazilian Cinema. New York: I. B. Tauris, 2003
  • Page, Joanna. Crisis and Capitalism in Contemporary Argentine Cinema. Duke University Press, 2009.  
  • Pinazza, Natália. Journeys in Argentine and Brazilian Cinema: Road Films in a Global Era. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
  • Shaw, Deborah, Ed. Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Breaking into the Global Market.
    Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Foreign Land (dir. Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, 1995)
  • The Motorcycle Diaries (dir. Walter Salles, 2004)
  • Lost Embrace (dir. Daniel Burman, 2006)
  • The Pope’s Toilet (dir. César Charlone, 2007)
  • The Second Mother (dir. Anna Muylaert, 2015)

Key words search

Latin America, Film Studies, Globalization

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date