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Teaching film in modern languages. University of Bristol 19 th June 2009 Dr. Miriam Haddu Documentary Filmmaking from Mexico. Mexican Filmmaking. Research: Books, articles and papers Teaching: Hispanic Studies

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teaching film in modern languages

Teaching film in modern languages

University of Bristol

19th June 2009

Dr. Miriam Haddu

Documentary Filmmaking from Mexico

mexican filmmaking
Mexican Filmmaking
  • Research:
    • Books, articles and papers
  • Teaching:
    • Hispanic Studies
    • Modern Languages (co-taught courses running within the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures)
  • New teaching subject – documentary filmmaking: coincides with new research project.
mexican visual arts and film
Mexican Visual Arts and Film
  • Second year course – half devoted to analysing the still image (photography, murals) and other half to Mexican film.
  • Film component is introductory exploring:
    • key moments in Mexican filmmaking history
    • filmic movements
    • formulas from Golden Age
    • Stylistics and social concerns from Golden Age, Generation of ’68 to the Contemporary period (1990s and beyond).
  • Prepares students for the final year option, and develops their analytical skills in relation to a variety of visual texts.
contemporary mexican cinema
Contemporary Mexican Cinema
  • Contemporary Mexican Cinema: History, Space and Identity
  • Final Year Course ‘Contemporary Mexican Cinema’
  • Course content:
    • Mixture of filmic material (some written on, others not).
    • Each year new material added – keeps novelty value, allows progression through film history.
    • At times films being worked on are taught (En la mente del asesino / In the Mind of a Killer)
    • Subjects covered:
      • Characteristics of filmmaking
      • Women filmmakers
      • Genres
  • Seminar room becomes a forum for learning, interpreting filmic texts, discussion and the investigation of new ideas.
documentary filmmaking from mexico
Documentary Filmmaking from Mexico
  • Modern Languages co-taught course
  • Second year level:
    • Spanish studies students
    • Film studies with a modern language
  • Aims and Objectives:
    • Introduce students to a selection of documentaries from the region
    • Expand analytical skills acquired elsewhere on the course
    • Contextualise and interpret visual constructs
    • Address the issue of genre when applied to documentary.
documentary filmmaking from mexico6
Documentary Filmmaking from Mexico
  • Teaching in Practice:
    • Teaching of some principles of documentary filmmaking:
      • Basic principles:
        • Distinction between ‘fiction’ and ‘reality’ filmmaking. Some myths addressed.
        • Issues of representing ‘reality’
      • Theoretical framework for reading these outputs
        • Types of documentary: observational, reflexive, interactive, etc.
        • Primary text to exemplify generic definition: En el hoyo / In the Pit.
documentary filmmaking from mexico7
Documentary Filmmaking from Mexico
  • Teaching Practice:
    • Theoretical framework for reading these texts
        • Documentary modes of representation:
          • Expository Mode
          • Observational Mode
          • Interactive Mode
          • Reflexive Mode
        • Primary text to exemplify generic definition: En el hoyo/In the Pit
juan carlos rulfo s en el hoyo in the pit 2007
Juan Carlos Rulfo’s En el hoyo / In the Pit (2007)
  • Example of ‘observational mode’ documentary
  • Tagline:
    • Starting point for exploring issues of reality in documentary
  • Methods of documentary filmmaking
  • Role of the director.
documentary filmmaking from mexico10
Documentary filmmaking from Mexico
  • Pedagogical challenges:
    • Knowledge of cultural context (theoretical tools not sufficient)
    • ‘Re-training of the eye’ – build upon skills developed from other courses/modules
    • New discipline for modern languages students.
documentary filmmaking from mexico11
Documentary Filmmaking from Mexico
  • Methodological issues / Teaching in Practice:
    • Accessibility:

1. Distribution within the film industry

2. Language (target language)

3. Secondary sources (reference material)

documentary filmmaking from mexico12
Documentary Filmmaking from Mexico

1. Distribution:

  • Documentaries shown at film festivals:
    • Access and Delivery of teaching material
    • Limitations on student viewing
  • Resolution:
    • Contact filmmakers directly
    • Film Institutes
documentary filmmaking from mexico13
Documentary Filmmaking from Mexico

2. Language:

  • Effect from poor distribution is limited subtitled material – excludes non- Spanish speakers.
  • Lack of subtitles limits the audience to a certain level of Spanish speakers only.
  • Local problem – accent – Mexico City’s chilango presents problems of reception.
documentary filmmaking from mexico14
Documentary Filmmaking from Mexico

3. Secondary Sources:

  • New films – little publication available
  • Most written form of criticism in the target language
  • Possible solution:
    • Newspaper reviews from archives in Mexico City
    • Study packs for students (internet resources and reviews)
documentary filmmaking from mexico15
Documentary Filmmaking from Mexico
  • Pedagogical benefits of research-informed teaching:
    • Cutting Edge teaching
    • Expert knowledge
    • Forum for discussion and exploring of new ideas – works both for the researcher and the student.