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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cynthia Steele
C LIT 397
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Cinema Studies

Varying topics relating to film in social contexts. Offered by resident or visiting faculty.

Class description

C LIT 315A / JSIS 480B Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Dictatorship and Recovery in Argentina

During the Argentine military dictatorship of 1973-1985, tens of thousands of Argentine dissidents were imprisoned, and often tortured, for their beliefs and some 30,000 of them were disappeared (murdered by the military). Many of the disappeared prisoners bore babies in captivity that were adopted illegally to military families. In the wake of the dictatorship the Argentine people have been with the legacy of fascism. On one level, family members—first the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, and later HIJOS, the children of the disappeared—have organized to demand that the truth about the victims’ deaths be told, that the remains be recovered and buried, that the kidnapped children be returned to their families, and that those responsible for ordering and carrying out the massive violations of human rights be punished. Over the past three decades, dozens of Argentine films, both documentary and fiction, have examined this period in Argentine history. We will analyze eight of these films and see how Argentine directors have employed a variety of genres, and have adopted more or less realistic approaches, in their treatment of these issues over the past three decades. Readings will be posted to our Catalyst web site. Students will do an oral presentation (in pairs), write one three- to four-page analytical essay, and take four quizzes.

We will watch films on Instant Streaming on Mondays and Wednesdays and meet as a class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Films: Botin de guerra/Spoils of War, La historia oficial/The Official Story, Kamchatka, Trelew, Cronica de una fuga/Chronicle of an Escape, Cautiva, El secreto de sus ojos/The Secret in their Eyes, and La mirada invisible / The Invisible Eye. The films will be in Spanish with English subtitles, and will be available on instant streaming.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Cynthia Steele
Date: 04/17/2013