Film Nations: Comparative Perspectives on Spanish and U.S. Cinema (in English)

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Film Nations: Comparative Perspectives on Spanish and U.S. Cinema (in English)

  • Host University

    Universidad Pablo de Olavide

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Art History, History

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description

    The course is aimed at establishing the points of convergence and divergence between the history, economy, aesthetics, and social significance of film production in Spain and the United States. Issues like the following will all be addressed:
    - The political economy of American vs. Spanish cinema (industry, technologies, State policies on film, independent production, etc).
    - Main trends, movements and significant works and authors in both Spanish and U.S. cinema.
    - Film as social and cultural indicator (how do Spanish and U.S. Cinema deal with past and contemporary social dilemmas? How does film relate to ideology and politics in the local and global scenarios?...).
    - Audience reception (in which ways have Spanish and American audiences related to domestic and foreign film productions? Are there distinctive ?film cultures? in both countries?...).
    - Spanish and American cinema at the crossroads with other arts and cultural discourses

    Course Goals and Methodology
    - To understand cinema as a multidimensional phenomenon: technological, industrial, artistic and social.
    - To explore two contrasted cinematic traditions.
    - To reflect on the ways film operates between the global and the local, the universal and the culturally and historically specific.
    The course includes in-class lectures and screenings, film discussions, written assignments and exams, and a field research (*small group work) on a topic to be discussed with your professor.

    Learning Objectives
    - Increase visual and media skills.
    - Discuss film in its industrial and technological dimensions.
    - Recognize different trends, traditions/genres, authors and film movements in both Spanish and U.S. Cinema.
    - Apply film theory to the analysis of individual films (in-class screenings and paper assignment).
    - Gain some basic vocabulary to explore the art and technique of filmmaking.
    - Relate film to larger debates on nationality.
    - Understand the ideological/political dimension of film.
    - Complete a project meeting previous learning objectives.

    Required Texts
    There will be a course pack with the compulsory reading assignments available at the copy center in the Celestino Mutis Building (Edificio #17) on campus. Supplementary materials may be provided during the course. Power point presentations, extra readings, study guides for every reading in the course pack and handouts for the screenings will be available on Blackboard (virtual platform).

    Additional texts (selection):

    Altman, R. (1999). Film/Genre. London: BFI.
    Bordwell, D. (1985). Narration in the Fiction Film. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
    Bordwell, D. (1999). On the History of Film Style. Harvard: University Press.
    Bordwell, D. & Thompson, K. (1997). Film Art: An Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill.
    Miller, T. & Stam, R. (1999). A Companion to Film Theory. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
    Shohat, E. & Stam, R. (1994). Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media. London: Routledge.
    Stam, R. (Ed.) (2000). Film Theory: An Introduction. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
    On American Film:
    Biskind, P. (1999). Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and Rock ?N Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. New York: Simon & Schuster.
    Biskind, P. (2007). Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film. London. Bloomsbury.
    Bordwell, D., Staiger, J. & Thompson, K. (1985). The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960. London: Routledge.
    Gomery, D. (1992). Shared Pleasures: A History of Movie Presentation in the United States. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
    Grainge, P. (2007). Brand Hollywood: Selling Entertainment in a Global Media Age. London: Routledge.
    Hoberman, J. (2013). Film after Film: Or what Became of 21st Century Cinema [1st paperback edition]. London & New York: verso.
    Jacobs, L. (1978). The Rise of the American Film: A Critical History (6th print.). New York: Teachers College Press.
    Krutnik et al. (Eds.) (2007). ?Un-American? Hollywood: Politics and Film in the Blacklist Era. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

    Levy, E. (1999). Cinema of Outsiders. The Rise of American Independent Film. New York: NYU Press.
    McDonald, P. & Wasko, J. (Eds.) (2007). The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry. London: Wiley-Blackwell.
    Miller, T. et al. (2001). Global Hollywood 1. London: BFI.
    Miller, T. et al. (2005). Global Hollywood 2. London: BFI.
    Neale, S. (Ed.) (2002). Genre and Contemporary Hollywood. London: BFI.
    Ray, R. B. (1985). A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema, 1930-1980. Princeton, NJ: University Press,
    Ryan, M. & Kellner, D. (1990). Camera Politica: The Politics and Ideology of Contemporary Hollywood Film. Bloomington-Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
    Sklar, R. (1994). Movie-made America: A Cultural History of American Movies. New York: Vintage.
    Westwell, G. (2014). Parallel Lines. Post 9/11 American Cinema. London & New York: Wallflower Press.
    *American Cinema series (?Themes and variations?). Rutgers University Press.
    *History of the American Cinema series (1994-2006, 10 vols.). University of California Press.
    On Spanish Film:
    Benet, V. J. (2012). El cine español. Una historia cultural. Barcelona: Paidós.
    Bentley, B, P. E. (2008). A Companion to Spanish Cinema. Woodbrige, Suffolk: Tamesis.
    Davies, A. (Ed.). Spain on Screen: Developments in Contemporary Spanish Cinema. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011.
    Faulkner, S. (2013). A History of Spanish Film: Cinema and Society 1910-2010. London: Bloomsbury.
    Feenstra, P. (2012). New Mythological Figures in Spanish Cinema: Dissident Bodies under Franco. Amsterdam: University Press.
    Jordan, B. (1998). Contemporary Spanish Cinema. Manchester: University Press.
    Jordan, B. & Allinson, M. (2005). Spanish Cinema: A student´s Guide. London: Hodder Arnold.
    Kinder, M. (1993). Blood cinema. The Reconstruction of National Identity in Spain. Berkeley: University of California Press.
    Labanyi, J.& Pavlovic, T. (Eds.) (2013). A Companion to Spanish Cinema. Malden, MA/Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
    Mira, A. (2005). The Cinema of Spain and Portugal. London: Wallflower.
    Resina, J. R. & Lema-Hincapié, A. (assistant) (Eds.) (2008). Burning Darkness: A Half Century of Spanish Cinema. New York: State University of New York Press.
    Stone, R. (2002). Spanish Cinema. New York: Longman.
    Triana-Toribio, N. (2003). Spanish National Cinema. London: Routledge.
    Grammar books and dictionaries
    - Merriam-Webster's Spanish-English Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2002.

    -The Oxford Spanish Dictionary: Spanish-English/English-Spanish. Oxford: University Press, 2008.
    On-line dictionaries:
    - - Official website of the American Film Institute (AFI).
    - - Official website of the Spanish Ministry of Culture, Education and Sports, including a link to a comprehensive Spanish film database.
    General Course Policies
    - Please keep your cell phones turned off during class.
    - Strictly no food to be consumed in class.
    - Laptops for note-taking only.
    - *Non-compliance with any of the above may result in a student to be removed for the remainder of the class period.
    - Late arrivals and early departures may count as absences. Check the ?Attendance and Punctuality? section for more details.
    - Students? questions will be addressed after class by appointment during office hours, or via e-mail. In the event of an exam or paper submission, make sure to reach the professor 24 hours in advance. Later than that, students? e-mails may not get a timely reply.
    - No further comments/suggestions will be offered by the professor after returning early draft versions of the papers.

    Course Requirements and Grading

    Students? progress will be checked by class participation, an oral presentation, a response essay, and two exams (mid-term plus final). The final grade is broken down as follows:
    1. Participation 10%
    2. Project 20%
    3. Essay 20%
    4. Midterm + Final 50% (25% + 25%)

    Students will come prepared to class, reading the daily assignment from the course pack. Lively discussions will be encouraged at all times. Class participation will therefore be graded in accordance to both the students? previous readings and reflection about the assigned texts and screenings, and also their daily contribution to class discussion with relevant (text-based and not random or just personal experience-oriented) comments. Two different participation grades will be administered during the semester: one right before the midterm exam, and another before the final exam.

    Students will work in small groups (no more than three students) to comply with this assignment. Each group of students will be asked to present on one topic from a list of suggested topics provided by the professor. In getting ready for this assignment, students should carry out a previous research on the chosen topic. Every group will get the professor?s guidance during the process of research. Every group is expected to produce a clear, concise and illustrative power point/Prezi presentation, on which extra material (images, Youtube videos, website links...) may be included. Time limit for each presentation is 20 minutes; *make sure: a) not to exceed your allotted time, and b) not to present for less than 15 minutes). The professor will be available during office hours to solve any doubts on the presentations, and will also provide information on grading parameters.

    Each course participant will write a final paper contrasting a pair of films (Spanish and/vs. American). The papers should rely on the theoretical framework provided in course lectures, so the use of recommended bibliography (listed above) is mandatory.

    Minimum requirements:
    Remember that not fulfilling one of these minimum requirements will lower your grade in this assignment:
    - Length: 8 double-spaced, typed pages (11-point Calibri, Times New Roman or Arial font).
    - Format: place the following information on the left margin of the first page:
    Your name
    Your professor?s name
    Course Title
    On subsequent pages, please use a heading including your last name and page number on the right-hand side of the page, for instance: Smith 2. Handwritten essays will not be accepted.

    Exams are aimed at evaluating both the students? specific knowledge of the topics covered in class and their ability to analyze and provide insightful reflections on the material presented in the readings. Questions will cover the contents of the related section/s of the syllabus (*the final will NOT be cumulative) and focus on establishing thematic links between units. The final exam?s date will be announced in class. Exam dates will not be changed under any circumstances. Exams and every other assignment will be marked following the Spanish numerical range:

    10-9,5 (USA Equivilant: A)
    9,4-9 (USA Equivilant: A-)
    8,9-8,5 (USA Equivilant: B+)
    8,4-,7,5 (USA Equivilant: B)
    7,4-7 (USA Equivilant: B-)
    6,9-6,5 (USA Equivilant: C+)
    6,4-5,5 (USA Equivilant: C)
    5,4-5 (USA Equivilant: C-)
    4,9 (USA Equivilant: F)

    Essential factors in order to qualify for an A/A+ grade in this course are:
    - To comply with reading assignments on a weekly basis.
    - To develop analytical and critical skills.
    - To participate in class voluntarily and to contribute to discussions with informed reactions.
    - To show excellent writing and interpretative skills when submitting papers and/or exams.

    Attendance and Punctuality
    Due to the nature of the class (participation, screenings, and discussions), attendance to class is mandatory. Be prompt! Punctuality is required. Late arrivals or early departures exceeding 10 minutes will be penalised by 0.5 (half) or 1 full absence (over 30mins). Official documented excuses are verifiable: doctor?s notes and/or hospital bills. A note that does not meet the above stated requirements is not an official excuse. Travel arrangements of individual students and/or group of students will not qualify for excused absence. Make sure to check dates for every assignment in the syllabus. Students are responsible to contact classmates for any updates on class schedule.

    Missed or Late Work
    No late work will be accepted and no make-up assignments will be provided. In the occasion of a missed class, students are responsible for asking classmates for notes or information on any likely activities to be developed later in class.

    Academic Dishonesty
    Academic integrity is a guiding principle for all academic activity at Pablo de Olavide University. Cheating on exams and plagiarism (which includes copying from the internet) are clear violations of academic honesty. A student is guilty of plagiarism when he or she presents another person?s intellectual property as his or her own. The penalty for plagiarism and cheating is a failing grade for the assignment/exam and a failing grade for the course. Avoid plagiarism by citing sources properly (using footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography).

    Students with Disabilities
    If you have a disability that requires special academic accommodation, please speak to your professor within the first three (3) weeks of the semester in order to discuss any adjustments. It is the student's responsibility to provide the International Center with documentation confirming the disability and the accommodations required (*if you have provided this to your study abroad organization, they have most likely informed the International Center already, but please confirm).

    Behavior Policy
    Students are expected to show integrity and act in a professional and respectful manner at all times. A student?s attitude in class may influence his/her participation grade. The professor has a right to ask a student to leave the classroom if the student is unruly or appears intoxicated. If a student is asked to leave the classroom, that day will count as an absence regardless of how long the student has been in class.

    Class contents

    Topic 1: Introduction: Dimensions of Film.
    - What is film?: Film as a technological medium, art, and commodity.

    Topic 2: The Political Economy of Early Spanish and U.S. Cinema.
    - The Motion Picture Patents War in the U.S.
    - Film Production in Spain (The Silent Age): From Barcelona to Madrid.

    Topic 3: From Film Pioneers to the Institutional Mode of Representation (IMR).
    - The search for specificity in film language.
    - The canonical film narrative.

    Topic 4: The Classical Film.
    - Hollywood system vs. upheavals in film production in Spain (The Republican period and early francoism).
    - Hollywood genres. The Western as American (film) mythology.
    - ?Españolada? in film.

    Topic 5: Hollywood Decline and Spanish Dissidents.
    - The end of classicism.
    - ?Conversaciones de Salamanca? (Spain).

    Topic 6: The New Wages.
    - Hollywood in Transition.
    - Independent filmmaking in the U.S.
    - Realismo crítico in Spanish Cinema.
    - Avant-garde cinema in Catalonia.

    Topic 7: The Emergence of Globalised Cinema in the Neoliberal Age.
    - The New Hollywood. American cinema in the age of Reagan.
    - The Transition Cinema in Spain: From historical reassessment to experimentalism.
    - The 90s and the consolidation of Blockbuster cinema.
    - ?Glocal? cinema in Spain.

    Topic 8: (Post-)Cinema in the 21st Century.
    -The political economy of world cinema in the digital age.
    - Hollywood 9/11. The rise of the superhero franchise.
    -Cine resistente in Spain.

    *This syllabus is subject to change.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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