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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cynthia Steele
C LIT 493
Seattle Campus

Comparative Literature Honors Seminar

Special topics in comparative literature. Required of Honors students in comparative literature.

Class description

Analysis 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 Fernandez; Bunuel’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 Fernandez, 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 Maria Novaro, Dana Rotberg, Alejandro Gomez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron, interrogate changing definitions of gender, ethnicity and global citizenship. The films will be in Spanish with English subtitles.

Student learning goals

Texts: Andrea Noble, Mexican National Cinema. New York: Routledge, 2005. Paul Julian Smith, Amores perros / Love’s a Bitch. London: British Film Institute, 2003. Mark Polizzotti, Los Olvidados. London: British Film Institute, 2006.

Films: Films: Que viva México, La mujer del puerto, Vámonos con Pancho Villa, Allá en el rancho grande, Flor silvestre, Salón México, Macario, Los olvidados, El lugar sin límites, Rojo amanecer, La ley de Herodes, Amores perros, Sin dejar huella

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: 08/19/2009