1 Description This course taught in Spanish



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SPAN 484: Studies in Visual and Material Culture

Trauma and Memory in Post-Dictatorship Spanish and Latin American Cinema (taught in Spanish)

Professor Julián Daniel Gutiérrez-Albilla

THH 156, (213) 740-1258

juliangu@usc.edu





1) Description

This course taught in Spanish focuses on the ethics and politics of trauma and memory by looking at some examples of post-dictatorship Spanish and Latin American cinema, including fiction and documentary films. We explore the way that these films function as a mode of witnessing the traumatic past, mediating between subjective and collective experiences. The course will ask: how do these films reflect and respond to complex and contradictory political and social concerns with remembering the victims of state terror? How do these fiction and documentary films articulate the way that state terror impinges on concrete and intangible realities, as Suely Rolnik suggests? Is trauma a helpful theoretical concept to think about how the effects of state terror, whether in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, or Spain, impact on the present, or to reflect on the experiences of victims of war or state terror, or are we reducing and distilling complex, multilayered and contentious historical, social, and cultural processes to the category of trauma? What are the affective, emotional, and critical implications in effective witnessing practices? How does cinema represent horror and traumatic experiences without running the risk of objectifying the other and the horrific? Can historical memory be interpreted as symptomatic of the way in which the public use of history could be reduced to its commemorative dimension, or does cinema function as a thoughtful cultural practice that brings together subjective and collective memories and discourses as constitutive forces for a rethinking of the fragments of history? These questions will be considered by looking at the following fiction and documentary films: Nostalgia de la luz (Patricio Guzmán), No (Pablo Larraín), Chile, la memoria obstinada (Patricio Guzmán), Machuca (Andres Wood), Las madres de Plaza de Mayo (Lourdes Portillo), Infancia clandestina (Benjamin Avila), Crónica de una fuga (Adrián Caetano), La mujer sin cabeza (Lucrecia Martel), Um Passaporte Húngaro (Sandra Kogut), O Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias (Cao Hamburger), El espinazo del diablo (Guillermo del Toro), La mala eduacación (Pedro Almodóvar), El perro negro (Péter Forgács), and Pa negre (Agustí Villaronga). The course allows students to become familiar with current political debates on memory and trauma in the US and on the ethics and politics of memory and amnesia in Spain and Latin America.

2) Course Objectives

a) Students will explore the historical, cultural and political context of post-dictatorship Spanish and Latin American societies and arrive at a nuanced understanding of current theoretical debates on memory and trauma and on the ethics and politics of memory and amnesia in post-dictatorship Spain and Latin America, namely Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

b) Students will pay attention to the conventions of fiction and documentary filmmaking to understand the way in which post-dictatorship Spanish and Latin American cinema represent the traumatic past and its effects on the present.

c) Students will demonstrate a sound general understanding of the chosen films, their relation to the historical contexts in which these films are produced and to which they refer, and their aesthetic, ethical and political value.

d) Students will demonstrate a sound general understanding of debates on trauma and memory through the formal and cultural analysis of the selected fiction and documentary films.

e) Students will evaluate and apply a range of critical approaches to the material covered.

f) Students will access and use critically printed and, where appropriate, electronic bibliographical resources identified as useful by the instructor, and discovered other useful materials independently.

g) Students will mount a detailed argument in the appropriate register of Spanish, mustering a range of textual or other evidence in its support.

h) Students will analyze selected films, relating them to significant elements in the historical and cultural contexts in which they are produced and to which they relate.

i) Students will demonstrate cinematic literacy skills appropriate to the level (i.e.: an ability to read the formal qualities and cultural value of cinematic images and an understanding of the relation between film to wider social, political and ethical issues).

j) Students will adopt a critical approach to the selection and organization of the material in order to present oral and written arguments in a coherent and structured manner and to contribute to group discussions.

k) Students will acquire the ability to express individual and collective opinions by means of developing their own initiative and their interpersonal skills and their ability to move beyond their “comfort zone” as a way of confronting critically cultural difference.



3) Films to be discussed in class: We will divide the films by country (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Spain) and will arrange them chronologically

Chile:


Chile, La memoria obstinada by Patricio Guzman (1997)

Machuca by Andres Wood (2004)

Nostalgia de la luz by Patricio Guzmán (2010)

No by Pablo Larraín (2012)

Argentina:



Las madres de Plaza de Mayo by Lourdes Portillo (1985)

Crónica de una fuga by Adrian Caetano (2006)

La mujer sin cabeza by Lucrecia Martel (2008)

Infancia clandestina by Benjamin Avila (2011)

Brazil:


Um Passaporte Húngaro by Sandra Kogut (2001)

O Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias by Cao Hamburger (2006)

Spain:


El espinazo del diablo by Guillermo del Toro (2001)

La mala educación by Pedro Almodóvar (2004)

El perro negro by Péter Forgács (2005)

Pa negre by Agustí Villaronga (2010)

In addition, I will upload onto BLACKBOARD all the required readings for the discussion each film a week before we discuss that specific fiction or documentary film



4) Course requirements

2 short papers (4-5 pages each) 20%

Presentation on a film or a book 10%

Midterm exam 20%

Final paper (8-10 pages) 20%

Final exam 20%

Class attendance and participation 10%

5) Class Schedule:

CHILE:

Week 1: Introduction to the Ethics and the Politics of Memory and Trauma in Post-Dictatorship Spanish and Latin American Cinema and Cinematic Terms

Week 2: Chile, La memoria obstinada by Patricio Guzman (1997)

Week 3: Machuca by Andres Wood (2004)

Week 4: Nostalgia de la luz by Patricio Guzmán (2010)

Week 5: No by Pablo Larraín (2012) (PAPER 1 DUE)



ARGENTINA:

Week 6: Las madres de Plaza de Mayo by Lourdes Portillo (1985)

Week 7: Crónica de una fuga by Adrian Caetano (2006)

Week 8: La mujer sin cabeza by Lucrecia Martel (2008)

Week 9: REVISION and MIDTERM EXAM

Week 10: Infancia clandestina by Benjamin Avila (2011)



BRAZIL:

Week 11: Um Passaporte Húngaro by Sandra Kogut (2001)

Week 12: O Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias by Cao Hamburger (2006) (PAPER 2 DUE)

SPAIN:

Week 13: El espinazo del diablo by Guillermo del Toro (2001)

Week 14: La mala educación by Pedro Almodóvar (2004)

Week 15: El perro negro by Péter Forgács (2005)

Week 16: Pa negre by Agustí Villaronga (2010) (FINAL PAPER DUE).

Students With Disabilities:

Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP. Please be sure the letter is delivered to me (or to TA) as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located in STU 301 and is open 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone number for DSP is (213) 740-0776.



Statement on Academic Integrity:

USC seeks to maintain an optimal learning environment. General principles of academic honesty include the concept of respect for the intellectual property of others, the expectation that individual work will be submitted unless otherwise allowed by an instructor, and the obligations both to protect one’s own academic work from misuse by others as well as to avoid using another’s work as one’s own. All students are expected to understand and abide by these principles. Scampus, the Student Guidebook, contains the Student Conduct Code in Section 11.00, while the recommended sanctions are located in Appendix A: http://www.usc.edu/dept/publications/SCAMPUS/gov/. Students will be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for further review, should there be any suspicion of academic dishonesty. The Review process can be found at: http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/SJACS/.




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