Summarizing a film

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Film is a powerful medium through which societies express concerns and aspirations, providing us an opportunity to explore visually some of the topics of the course. You will receive a list of films from which you will select one. Your review should include a very brief summary (maximum two pages double-spaced) and your reaction (minimum two pages double-spaced) to the piece. What is the film’s argument? What are the writer and director trying to say to the viewer? Also include any questions you still have of the film.




Group One:  Conquest and Colonization

Cabeza de Vaca (Mexico): Story of a 16th century explorer in present-day Mexico and United States

The Mission (US): On the 18th century Jesuit missions in present day Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay

Aguirre, Wrath of God (Germany): On failed expedition to El Dorado, greed and madness in the 16th century Amazon

Fitzcarraldo (Germany): An early- 20th century rubber baron in the Peruvian Amazon

I, The Worst of All (Argentina): On the life of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, brilliant 17th c. Mexican intellectual, poet and nun.

The Other Conquest (Mexico): On the conquest of the Aztec Empire

La monja alférez (Spain): About Catalina de Erauso, a transgendered lieutenant-nun living in 17th c. Peru


Group Two:  Early-to mid 20th Century

La Patagonia Rebelde (Argentina): On worker/anarchist rebellion in 1920s Southern Argentina

Black Orpheus (France/Brazil): A Greek-style tragedy unfolds in a 1950’s Rio favela during Carnival

Machuca (Chile): On the 1973 coup against Salvador Allende

Missing (US): On Pinochet’s coup in Chile

Romero (US): On the assassination of Bishop Romero in 1980s El Salvador

The Official Story (Argentina): On the aftermath of the military Junta

La Cautiva (Argentina): On the children of the desaparecidos

The Panama Deception (US): Documentary on US invasion of Panama in 1989

Innocent Voices (El Salvador): Violence in 1980s El Salvador

Ché (Spain, France, US): Two part film on Ernesto Guevara (Part One: Cuba; Part Two: Bolivia)

Motorcycle Diaries (Argentina, Brazil, US, etc.): On the journeys and memoir of Ernesto (Che) Guevara

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Argentina): On the struggles of a group who opposed the military regime

El Norte (US-Guatemala): The story of two undocumented immigrants from Guatemala

Fitzcarraldo (Germany/Peru): About greed and madness in early 20th century Amazon

Paper Dove (Peru): About a young man in Peru’s civil war


Group Three:  Modern Social Issues and Movements

Bolivia (Argentina): The story of a Bolivian migrant in Argentina

Wetback – The Undocumented Documentary (US): On the struggle to cross the US border

The Revolution will not be Televised (Venezuela/Ireland): Coup attempt on Venezuela’s  Hugo Chavez

Cocalero (Argentina/Bolivia): Documentary on Evo Morales’ rise to President of Bolivia

City of God (Brazil): An extremely violent view of life in the favelas

Madeinusa (Peru): On the complexities of intercultural relations in Peru

The Milk of Sorrow (Peru): On the lingering effects of Peru’s violence

The Maid (Chile/Mexico): A realistic portrayal of a Chilean family, through the eyes of its maid

The Gift of Pachamama (Bolivia/Japan): A child coming of age in a salt-harvesting family of Bolivia

The Pinochet Case (France/Chile): What was hoped to be the long-awaited justice for Pinochet

La dictadura perfecta (Mexico): On the media, society and politics

Siete soles (Mexico): The story of undocumented immigrants making their way to the US

César Chávez (México/US): Follows the life of the 1960s-70s Mexican-American labor leader

Sins of my Father (Colombia): The life and death of drug lord Pablo Escobar, as told by his son

The Devil’s Miner (US/Germany): A documentary on Bolivian silver miners

Even the Rain (Spain/Bolivia): Fictional account of a film crew making a documentary about Columbus in Bolivia


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