Essays on Latin American Films This essay on films and videos continues the regular column on teaching-related issues, sponsored by the CLAH Teaching Materials Committee.
2 (Fall 1995) TEACHING LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY This review continues the regular column on teaching-related issues, sponsored by the CLAH Teaching Materials Committee.
On this same theme is Rigoberta Menchu: Broken Silence.
This new release from Films for the Humanities and Sciences works well when coordinated with I, Rigoberta Menchu, ed. Films on Caribbean countries are more difficult to locate than for the rest of Latin America, with the exception of Cuba.
For the urban scene, see Growing Up in the South, a documentary of street kids in Cusco, Peru, and Villa El Salvador: A Desert Dream, an optimistic portrayal of a squatter settlement in Lima.
The last three films are available from Cinema Guild.Space permits mention of only a handful of films which members have used with success in stimulating class discussion and portraying those aspects of Latin American culture best portrayed visually.This essay excludes Mexico, which merits an essay on its own.Many of the current films on Central America reflect the themes of guerrilla warfare and indigenous cultures.Refugees in Our Backyard (Icarus) examines the violence and poverty causing flight, as well as public reaction to the entrance of undocumented aliens in the United States.Military governments and the desaparecidos in Argentina and Chile have attracted many film makers.The Official Story poignantly relates that grim period in Argentina.The latter is available from the University of California Extension which provides numerous films with an anthropological perspective.A number of recent films focus on the violence of guerrilla movements and drug mafia.The increase in the number and variety of films and videos for use in the classroom has greatly enhanced the teaching of Latin American history.The availability of videos through CD ROM has even greater potential.