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SN2113 Twentieth Century Mexican Visual Arts and Film

2018-9 Term 1 only

Convenor: Jessica Wax-Edwards


Formative Coursework (0%): an essay plan on one of the primary texts we are studying (not to be repeated in the summative coursework).

Summative Coursework:

(30%) Assessment Student Presentation in class.

(70%) Extended Essay in English (2,000-2,500 words).


On this course we will learn how to analyse paintings and frescoes from early twentieth century Mexican visual arts, placing these in their socio-historic context, alongside other forms of visual expression such as photography and film. Firstly students will study the Mexican Mural Movement and will analyse the work of its most prominent members. Particular attention will be paid to the works of Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco as exemplary of this artistic movement. Then students will learn about the photographic works of Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Tina Modotti, Mariana Yampolski, Araceli Herrera, Graciela Iturbide, and Francisco Mata Rosas amongst others. After reading week students will be introduced to some of the most significant cinematic works from Mexico’s century of filmmaking. During this stage of the course students will analyse a selection of films and will learn how to read some of the most important filmic genres from a wide range of directors and periods in Mexican cinema history. We will examine how issues such as the nation state,  gender and sexual identity are manifest and explored on the screen. On this course students will be introduced to some areas of film theory and will learn how to apply theoretical concepts to a reading of Mexican visual arts and films. All films studied on this course are subtitled.

Set Filmic Texts on the Course (in the order they will be studied):

  • Enamorada (1946) dir. Emilio ‘el indio’ Fernández
  • Aventurera (1950) dir. Alberto Gout
  • Los olvidados (1950) dir. Luis Buñuel
  • Canoa (1975) dir. Felipe Cazals
  • El lugar sin limites (1978) dir. Arturo Ripstein
  • Sexo, pudor y lágrimas (1998) dir. Antonio Serrano.

Secondary Literature: General, Theoretical, Introductory

For Visual Arts:

Ballinger, James, K, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Twentieth Century Mexican Art: The Jacques and

Natasha Gelman Collection (San Francisco: Museum of Contemporary Art, 2000)

Cruz, Barbara, José Clemente Orozco: Mexican Artist (Hispanic Biographies) (Enslow Publishers Inc, 1998)

Hamill, Peter, Diego Rivera (Harry N Abrams, 1999)

Marnham, Patrick, Dreaming with his Eyes Open: A life of Diego Rivera (Knopf, 1998)

Newham Helms, Cynthia, (ed), Diego Rivera: A Retrospective (W.W. Norton & Company, 1998)

Reed, Alma, José Clemente Orozco (Hacker Art Books, 1985.)  

Rochfort, Desmond, Mexican Muralists: Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros (Chronicle Books, 1998)

Stein, Philip, Siqueiros: His Life and Works (International Publishers Co. 1994)

For film:

Antonio Paranaua, P, Mexican Cinema (translated by Ana López) (London: British Film Institute, 1995)

Ayala Blanco, Jorge, La aventura del cine mexicano (1931-1967) ( Mexico City: Posada, 1985)

Ayala Blanco, Jorge, La eficacia del cine mexicano: entre lo viejo y lo nuevo (Mexico City: Girjalbo,1994)

Buñuel: una mirada del siglo XX: Feliz centenario y Buñuel mexicano, el ciclo (México: Conaculta, 2000)

Cine años de cine mexicano, 1896 – 1996. Colima:IMC, 1999 (CD- ROM – Founders Library)

Consandaey, Mikelle (ed.,) 100 Years of Filmmaking in New Mexico (University of New Mexico Press, 1998)

Carlos Salinas de Gortari: el hombre que quiso ser rey / RTC, 1999.

Foster, David William, Mexico City in Contemporary Mexican Cinema (Austin : University of Texas Press, 2002)

García Riera, Emilio, Breve historia del cine Mexicano: primer siglo 1897 – 1997 (Jalisco: Mapa, 1998)

Hershfield, Joanna, Mexican Cinema / Mexican Woman 1940- 1950 (University of Arizona Press, 1996)

Hershfield, Joanna and Maciel, David. R, (eds.,) Mexico’s Cinema: A Century of Film and Filmmakers (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources Inc, 1999)

King, John, Magical Reels: a History of Cinema in Latin America (London: Verson, 1990)

Medrano Platas, Alejandro, Quince directores del cine mexicano: entrevista (México, D.F.: Plaza y Valdés, 1999)

Millan, Margara, Derivas de un cine en femenino (Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1999)

Monsivais, Carlos, Através del espejo: el cine mexicano y su público (Mexico: Ediciones El Milagro /IMCINE, 1994)

Mora, Carl. J, Mexican Cinema: Reflections of a Society (Berkeley, Los Angeles/ London: University of California Press, 1989)

Noriega, Chon. A, (ed.,) Chicanos and Film (University of Minnesota Press, 1992)

Pettit, Arthur G, Images of the Mexican American in fiction and film (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, c1980)

Pilcher, Jeffrey. M, Cantiflas and the Chaos of Mexican Modernity (Scholarly Resources, 2000)

Ramirez Berg, C, Cinema of Solitude: a Critical Study of Mexican Film, 1967-1983 (Austin: Texas University Press, 1992)

Torrans, Thomas. The magic curtain : the Mexican-American border in fiction, film and song (Fort Worth : Texas Christian University Press, 2002)

Tuñon, Julia, Mujeres de luz y sombra en el cine mexicano: la construcción de una imagen (1939 – 1952) (Mexico: Colegio de México, 1998)



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