Courses > 2014 Spring

Elective Courses

CINE 388 - Introduction to Spanish Cinema

SPAN 388
401 | M 2-3:30pm (plus REC) | CHEM 514

Spanish cinema has a rich but turbulent tradition that, until recently, occupied a marginal position within Film Studies departments in American universities. From the pioneering shorts of Segundo de Chomón —often nicknamed “the Spanish Méliès”— to the worldwide success of Pedro Almodóvar’s melodramatic and irreverent films that caricature contemporary (Spanish) culture, this course offers both a survey of Spanish film and an introduction to critical thought in the field of Film Studies. We analyze the trajectory of Spanish film beginning in its silent origins in the nineteenth century, passing through the censorship and ideology of the Francoist regime, and ending in the years of Spain’s progressive transition to democracy that leads us to the present-day status of Spanish cinema. Along the way, we supplement the shorts and feature-length films with a diverse selection of critical readings that present pertinent historical and cultural contexts, fundamental cinematic concepts, as well as current theoretical debates in Film Studies. We conclude the class by exploring new trends in cinematic productions including short digital cinema, recent developments in new media, and the rise in participatory cinema. Over the course of the semester students will learn to discuss the technical and stylistic aspects of cinema while developing a theoretical language to think critically about the cultural and historical contexts of Spanish cinema. We interrogate the specificity of cinema as a means of representation (in comparison with literature) and we question the particularities of a cinema “made in Spain.”