Third Cinema: Reckoning with Civilization in Brazilian, Cuban and African Film

Elective Courses

CINE 224 - Third Cinema: Reckoning with Civilization in Brazilian, Cuban and African Film

AFRC 224 | ANTH 221 | COML 210 | LALS 224
401 |Rachel Neyra |MW 3:30-5pm |FBH 244

In this course, we will first read from the diaries of Christopher Columbus about the Antilles, the ethnographic essays of Claude Lévi-Strauss about Brazil, as well as the anthropological studies of Marcel Griaule about the Dogon people of Mali. These readings will crystallize a sense of the historical Euro-colonial gaze at peoples and places that it considered barbaric, feared, in some cases, as cannibalistic, and that it eventually came to categorize as “third world” by contributing to their economic underdevelopment. Rather than a lament of “Europe’s” history of havoc, this course will show the cinematic reckonings of “Third Cinema” with this violent history, which visually re-frame and question what is human, what is civilized, and what is not. We will move by the third week into select films of Brazil, Cuba, Africa (specifically Algeria, Mali, and Senegal), and Martinique, and see how they respond to Western Europe’s idea that it is the center of the gravity of civilization. The cinemas of Glauber Rocha, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Sara Gómez, Manthia Diawara, Abderrahmane Sissako, Ousmane Sembene, and Euzhan Palcy radically tangle the dangerous line between the human and the anthropological object of study, between civilization and barbarism. The director’s work that will be the conceptual hinge between the brief early readings and the aforementioned directors is that of Jean Rouch, specifically his pictures shot in Africa in the 1940s-60s. To accompany our viewings, we will also read the literature of the Antropofaga (Cannibalism) movement in early 20th century Brazil, poems by Aimé Césaire (Martiniquan), and a couple essays by the revolutionary thinker, Frantz Fanon (Martiniquan, Algerian). All of the films have English subtitles. Final essays may be written in English or Spanish. 

last updated 06/16/2014 - 2:03pm

Cinema Studies Program
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