Hispanic Cinema

Florida State University-Valencia Study Center

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Hispanic Cinema

  • Host University

    Florida State University-Valencia Study Center

  • Location

    Valencia, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Film Studies, Spanish

  • 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

  • Credits

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

    NOTE: This class serves numerous ¨practical¨ ends: Meets the Area IV Humanities/Fine Arts requirement; it counts towards the Spanish Major/Minor, as well as the Minor in Film Studies, and it is a Core Course for the Iberian Studies Minor...and to top it off, it is a highly stimulating course!

    Course Description, Objectives, and Expectations: of an ¨eye-opening¨ class

    In this course we will study the enormous variety of Hispanic film. Here the term ¨Hispanic¨ is meant to mean film from Spain and Spanish-speaking America, though we will emphasize film from Spain in this course.

    One of the primary objectives of our course is to demonstrate that Hispanic film cannot be stereotyped as falling into a determined genre of film-making. The films we will view and analyze will make you laugh, maybe cry, cause you to feel uneasy, perhaps spark an interest to learn more about Spanish cultural history or explore the thorny dynamics of determined social issues, repel you yet intrigue you at the same time, and even baffle you! Another very important objective of this course is to show that film genres, artistic movements, history, politics, economics and social issues feed off of each other. So, while the ever-popular Almodóvar and Penelope Cruz will be given their due, it is our objective to approach this class with an inclusive attitude towards other very important figures that are not as well known outside of the Spanish-speaking world. It should also be clearly stated here that this is a course primarily concerned with the analysis of themes and cultural indicators rather than with the technical aspects of film-making, direction and production.

    Given the special nature of a study abroad program (ie, Program trips, etc.), we will have little time together--so let´s make the most of it, beginning with our first class session!! We will construct our film viewing centered upon two viewing cycles or thematics with an interlude, though the overall variety of the films themselves will be very noteworthy:




    This type of thematic structure is designed to encourage class discussion and I expect the student to contribute to the discourse of this class!! While it is the professor´s duty to establish the academic criteria of the course, and at times I will offer brief lectures that will require the student to take intelligent notes, your comments are needed, invited, and, yes, required to do well in this course as I embrace a Socratic approach? Which brings us to the topic of CLASS PERFORMANCE.

    CLASS PERFORMANCE: as a course participant (though acting is always welcome!)

    This includes active and constructive participation, ATTENDANCE (and punctuality), interest, and enthusiasm. Again, we have so little time together (!) and I expect my students to be present at all class meetings and assigned activities. At times either small groups or individuals will be asked to give the class a mini presentation on any number of topics related to the subject matter at hand. Each unexcused absence will lower your final grade by one step: ie, A>A- with one absence, A>A->B+ with two absences, etc. It is my expectation, however, that this is a mute point, as I am confident that my ¨filmologists¨ will want to attend all of our classes and activities! If you are sick, and I mean really sick, you must bring me a note from a physician documenting that your illness requires hospitalization or a bedridden state if you want it to be an excused absence. I will also give you an excused absence for family and religious reasons at my discretion. Travel related absences are not excused. Keep in mind that outstanding attendance with constructive participation will be a very significant boost towards the final grade in this course, as the area of Class Performance will comprise 25% of the final grade. Also note that the primary Program trip and corresponding activities of said trip are mandatory and count as regular class time.

    THE FILM FILES: that give order, concise reflections and foundation to your film viewing

    My film scholars will submit FILM FILES based on a total of two (a third File may be turned in for extra credit) of the films viewed in this course. The following must be addressed in a clear, neat, systematic, lucid, concise and thoughtful way:
    --the film´s original title, translated into English title, and year film was released
    --a very brief biography of the film´s director
    --a synopsis/summary of the film
    --the primary characters of the film (with the name of the corresponding actors) and their personality traits, values, and function within the film´s fabric
    --the emotional range expressed in the film
    --the essential themes/motifs/symbols conveyed in the film
    --the use of diagetic and non-diagetic sound
    --the most memorable scene
    --cultural indicators present in the film: in both cross-cultural and Hispanic cultural terms
    --concluding commentary and three (3) questions you would ask the director
    --also, include/incorporate any graphics in relation to the film at hand?this will add life to your film project!! Be advised, though, that the printer in the Computer Lab does not print color.

    The number of words written on each of the films selected for your Film Files might vary to a certain degree, but you should produce about 1,500 words for Film File #1 (25% of final grade) and about 2,500 words for Film File #2 (50% of final grade).

    It should be noted that the Film Files constitute the core component of this course in analytical, philosophical, collective, and, alas, grading terms?and therefore should be taken very seriously.

    Grading: 100-93=A; 92-90=A-
    89-87=B+; 86-83=B; 82-80=B-
    79-77=C+; 76-73=C; 72-70=C-
    69-67=D+; 66-63=D; 62-60=D-

    ADA Policy:
    Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should: (1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center of their home campus; (2) bring a letter to the instructor and the Student Services Dept. of FSU-Spain indicating the need for accommodation and what type. This must be done during the first week of instruction.

    Academic Honor System:
    Students are expected and required to abide by the Academic Honor System of Florida State University. Students should read, understand and abide by stated code as found in the FSU General Bulletin and in the FSU Student Handbook.

    I am always on the hunt for interesting Hispanic films?as long as they are subtitled for the purposes of this course. Since we are in Spain, not all Hispanic films, even if DVD, have subtitles. However, I think that the following films should be of great interest to the students. In order to get the most out of the time that we have together, sometimes we will see fragments of films not listed here that may or may not be be subtitled. This will provide the student with more exposure to more films. The following list may be subject to change as need and interests dictate.


    Introductory Film: Let´s get the camera rolling with El Laberinto del Fauno

    The birth of Kubrick´s Spanish child:
    --Amenábar´s exploration of the possibilities and limits of human cruelty in Tesis

    This world and beyond:
    --Childhood takes a twisted turn in El orfanato


    --When the rats escape their cages in Celda 211



    Shut up, be a good wife, or else:
    --Spain confronts the social reality of spousal abuse in Te Doy Mis Ojos

    What to do with our parents when their mind drifts away?
    --The sad tenderness in El hijo de la novia

    City-scape versus Land-scape: Returning to the mother´s womb of La Mancha:
    --Almodóvar returns to his roots in Volver (Best Actress Award, entire female cast, Cannes Film Festival)

    Off the cliff and into the economic abyss:
    --Spaniards struggle with the unemployed and the underemployed in Los lunes al sol

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.

Some courses may require additional fees.

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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