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CMS 321 A: Oppositional Cinema/Media

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 1:10pm - 3:20pm
THO 334
Sebastian Lopez Vergara

Syllabus Description:

“Third World” and Indigenous Cinema: Memory, Politics, and Film

M-Th: 1:10-3:20, Thomson 334

Continuing the waves of decolonization and liberation from the previous decade, revolutionary movements (national, ethnic, feminist, student, workers) proliferated in the 1960s across geographies known as the “Third World” or “underdeveloped” countries. These movements not only intended to dispute the political and economic organization of their local nation-states and of global structures, but also saw cultural practices as key sites for revolutionary thought and practice.


In this class, we will study the practices, aesthetics, and theories of film produced during this juncture in order to explore how cinema can be much more than a source of distraction. We will also complement and trouble this political and cultural history by exploring Indigenous political movements and Indigenous media from the 1990s-2000s. We will use films as our primary texts for discussion and analysis, but, equally important, we will put them in conversation with many other important topics in the social sciences and humanities. This class proposes to examine critiques of race, colonialism, capitalism, gender and sexuality as key topics to understand the films as well as the moments they are reflecting upon. The goal of studying these “big topics” is to trouble notions of “(under)development,” “modernity,” “freedom,” “globalization,” “security,” and “violence” from the perspective these films and texts provide.


06/26: Lissy Carey-Fuson, Sivan Luo, Tony Hill

07/03: Hongming, Payton, Will

07/10: Heather Do, Linjie Huang

07/11: Robin McGahey, Jameson Olsen



Week 1: Revolutionary Cinemas, Latin American Liberation


June 18, Monday

  • Read: Eduardo Galeano, Introduction to The Open Veins of Latin America


June 19, Tuesday

  • Watch: The Hour of the Furnaces, Part 1: Notes and Testimonies on Neocolonialism, Violence, and Liberation (1968)
  • Read: Getino and Solana, “Towards a Third Cinema”


June 20, Wednesday

  • Watch (in class): The Hour of the Furnaces, Part 3: Violence and Liberation (1968)
  • Read: Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America


June 21, Thursday

  • Watch: Yawar Malku (1969)
  • Read: Jorge Sanjinés, “Problems of Form and Content in Revolutionary Cinema” and finish selection from Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America
  • Graded work: Response 1 on Friday at 3pm.


Week 2: The Afterlives of Slavery and the (In)Visibility of Blackness

June 25, Monday

  • Watch: Ceddo (1977) (on Youtube, I'll post the link)
  • Read: Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother


June 26, Tuesday

  • Read: Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother
  • Graded work: 2-3 students lead discussion.


June 27, Wednesday

  • Watch: One Way or Another (1974)
  • Read: Julio García Espinosa, “For an Imperfect Cinema,” and Jafari Allen, ¡Venceremos?


June 28, Thursday

  • Read: Jafari Allen, ¡Venceremos?
  • Graded work: 2-3 students lead discussion and Response 2 on Friday at 3pm.


Week 3: The Obstinate Memory of Liberation and Indigenous Visual Sovereignty


July 2, Monday

  • Watch: Nostalgia for the Light (2010)
  • Read: Tamara Spira, “Towards a New Temporality and Archive of ‘Revolution’: Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia for the Light


July 3, Tuesday

  • Watch: Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner
  • Read: Michelle Raheja, “Visual Sovereignty”
  • Graded work: 2-3 students lead discussion and response 3 on Friday at 3pm.


July 4, Wednesday: No Class

July 5, Thursday: No Class


Week 4: Abya Yala Uprisings: Zapatistas and Aymara/Quechua (Visual) Activisms


July 9, Monday

  • Watch in class: Women United (1999) and The Healer in the Indigenous of Communities of the Highlands of Chiapas (1994)
  • Read: Alexander Halkin, “Outside the Indigenous Lens: Zapatistas and Autonomous Videomaking”


July 10, Tuesday

  • Watch: Loving Each Other in the Shadows (2001)
  • Read: “Packaging Indigenous Media: An Interview with Ivan Sanjinés and Jesús Tapia”
  • Graded work: 2-3 students lead discussion


July 11, Wednesday

  • Watch: Cocanchej Sutimpy/In the Name of Our Coca (2004)
  • Read: Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar, “The Disputed Territories of the Chapare: The Coca Growers’ Struggle from 2000 to 2003”
  • Graded work: 2-3 students lead discussion and response 4 on Friday at 3pm.


July 12, Thursday

            No Class


Week 5

July 16, Monday

            Turn in 5-6-page final essay.

Catalog Description: 
Approaches film and related media as socially and politically engaged practice, with focus on screen media produced or received in "opposition" to dominant cultural and entertainment industry norms. Topics vary.
Department Requirements Met: 
Cinema & Media Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: 
Diversity (DIV)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
February 20, 2021 - 9:55am