GEOGRAPHY OF LATIN AMERICA-Geography and Film Exercise How do we what we know?

GEOGRAPHY OF LATIN AMERICA-Geography and Film Exercise
How do we what we know? Pause for a minute or two and think about what you know about Latin America (or any place for that matter—think about Los Angeles). Now, think about how you know these things? Maybe it was first-hand experience by living or traveling there or, in many cases, it is through some type of media exposure such as a magazine, television show, novel, film, or social media. Now, think about how accurate or inaccurate your perceptions may be. The point of this exercise is to provide you with one more lens into the region through those who live and work there using film. In this exercise students will choose a film made in Latin America (i.e. not a Hollywood film taking place in Latin America so for example films such as “Man on Fire”, “Proof of Life” are not acceptable). If you have are unsure whether a film is acceptable or not, please consult with me in advance. Films can provide an educational window into a particular geography, exaggerate certain elements of a place to make it seem surreal, or mostly ignore that place giving the viewer the impression that it could be occurring anywhere. Students are required to write a 2-3 page, single-spaced review and critique of a film, with the review focusing on the role of place and integrating two themes or concepts from the course. The structure of the paper should be divided into two parts as follows: 1) a one to two paragraph summary of the film (NO MORE THAN THAT-THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE I HAVE ALSO SEEN THE FILM, SO DON’T NEED A RECAP); and 2) a critique of the role of place in the film. The following questions are intended to guide through this part of the exercise: Where did the film occur? How important was the location to the storyline? What did you learn about this place because of the film? Do you feel this place was misrepresented in anyway? If so, how? If not, why not? Also, try to identify aspects of the film that helped to depict the place (e.g architecture, clothing, landscapes). Your grade will be based largely on how well you discuss the role of place should include such things as: architecture, clothes, food, street scenes, as well as cultural elements such as the role of gender, religion, or anything else that might be relevant to the storyline. Here are a few suggestions: Central Station, Amores Perros, City of God, Strawberry and Chocolate, Guantanamera, Y Tu Mama Tambien, The Motorcycle Diaries, Buena Vista Social Club, Amores Perros, Maria Full of Grace, Sugar, Rudo y Cursi, The Violin, Sin Nombre, Behind the Sun, Silent Light, Like Water for Chocolate, Elite Squad, House of Sand, Bus 174, God is Brazilian, Wild Tales, The Crime of Padre Amaro, Trash, A Fantastic Woman, Roma, and many, many more. You can simply type Latin American films into your Netflix or other streaming platform search engine or look at one of these websites for more ideas: or Obviously, there are many more that would be appropriate but please be sure that the film is foreign (non-US) directed and produced. ENJOY!!

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