Film Interpretation Project Instructions
Book/Film Interpretation Project Instructions
You will need to obtain and read a book or view a film, in order to begin this project.
You should, therefore, get started on it as soon as possible.
A Note about Culture
This project asks you to use a novel or film as a window into the culture of a Spanish-speaking country. By the culture, we are referring to the learned behaviors, everyday practices, customs, worldviews, and beliefs of a group of people. In this broad anthropological sense, the culture of a group (Mexicans, Aymara, Spaniards, etc.) can include aspects such as family structures, interpersonal relations, gender, class and race relations, ways of communicating, body language, dress, arts, crafts, traditions, foodways, festivals, religion, economy and politics. Anthropologists who study the human condition define culture as the traditions and customs transmitted through learning that govern the beliefs and behavior of the people exposed to them.
As you read the book or watch the film you select, pay particular attention to what is being revealed about the culture of that country or of that group of people. What you observe may or may not be directly related to the main plot or theme of the book or film. Aspects of culture may be revealed in the sections or passages that describe everyday life or set the scene for some action in the plot or story line.
For this project you will choose to analyze a film or book from the list below. With your instructor’s approval, however, you may also select a book or film not on this list. Write an analysis of the film’s/book’s contribution to the study of a Spanish-speaking culture. You can look at the book or film in its entirety, or you can focus on a particular chapter or scene if you prefer.
Important: Your essay is not a summary of the book or film. You should analyze the book/film not for a plot or story line, but as a window into the culture.
Use the following points to guide your essay:
What is the central issue(s) of the film/book?
What have you learned or observed about a Spanish-speaking culture from this book/film? (Think about interpersonal or family relationships, customs, religion, food, music, politics, economics, or any other cultural aspect that are discussed or portrayed in the book/film.)
Be sure to include the title of the film or book in your essay.
You need to have consulted a minimum of 3 sources for this project. Remember, whenever you use resources (including books, journal articles, newspaper or magazine articles, websites, class discussion websites, and more), you must document them in accordance with the MLA style and policies on academic integrity and plagiarism.
See MLA—Citing Your Sourcesopens in a new window for help with documentation.
Length of Assignment
Your completed assignment should be approximately 4-5 pages (not counting title page, double spaced, font size 12) or 1300-1700 words.
General Information on Finding Films
It is your responsibility to locate and borrow, rent, or buy the film or book you will review.
Read the plot summary of the film or novel, and possible reviews, before choosing it as your topic so that you know what to expect from it. You can easily find synopses and reviews of these books and films online by searching the title and media type (ex., “Sin Nombre film,” “Waiting for Snow in Havana book”).
You may borrow the book or film from your local library. Check your local library’s website or WorldCat.orgopens in a new window to see if a book or film is available in a library near you. Many libraries have excellent film collections are often able to acquire items through interlibrary loan.
If you are viewing a film, check your preferred video rental or streaming service (such as Netflix, Amazon, etc.) to see if the film is available.
You may also buy the book or film from your preferred vendor. Used copies may be available from independent bookstores and online vendors.
Choices of Films and Books for Your Project
The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentine dictatorship, 2010)
Biutiful (Social problematic in Spain, 2010)
Trópico de sangre (Trujillo dictatorship in Dominican Republic, 2010)
The Wind Journeys (Colombian landscape and travel, 2009)
Crude (Oil contamination in Ecuador, 2009)
Sin nombre (Illegal immigration to US, 2009)
El estudiante (Generation gap in Mexico, 2009)
La Soga (Political corruption in Dominican Republic, 2009)
Road to the Big Leagues (Baseball in Dominican Republic, 2009)
Serpent and the Sun: Tales of an Aztec Apprentice (Aztec healer and shaman in Mexico, 2009)
7 soles (Illegal immigration to US, 2009)
The Desert Within (Faith in Mexico, 2008)
Goya: Crazy Like a Genius (Biography of the painter, 2008)
Cosas insignificantes (Human relations, 2008)
Sugar (Baseball in the Dominican Republic, 2008)
Bella (Latinos in NYC, 2008)
Machuca (Social problematic in Chile at the end of the dictatorship, 2007)
Sangre de mi sangre (Immigration to US from Mexico, 2007)
El Cocalero (Drugs in Peru and Bolivia, 2007)
Under the Same Moon (Illegal immigration to US, 2007)
The Other conquest (Spanish conquest, 2007)
Así del precipicio (Modern city Mexican life, 2007)
Esto huele mal (Social problematic, Colombia, 2007)
Love in the Times of Cholera (Based on the novel, 2007)
Viva Cuba (Children’s friendship in Cuba, 2007)
Casi Casi (High Schoolers in Puerto Rico, 2006)
The Exile (Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, 2006)
Crónica de una fuga (Argentine dictatorship, 2006)
Guadalupe (The story of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico, 2006)
Maroa (Childhood in Venezuela, 2006)
El Inmortal (US influence on Nicaraguan Civil War, 2005)
The Devil’s Miner (Child labor in Bolivia, 2005)
Blessed by Fire (War veterans in Argentina, 2005)
La Fiesta del chivo (Trujillo dictatorship in Dominican Republic, 2005)
Habana Blues (Musicians in Cuba, 2005)
The Violin (Soldier abuse of people in Latin America, 2005)
Mojados: Through the night (Illegal immigration to US, 2005)
La Virgen de Coromoto (Faith in Mexico, 2005)
De nadie (Illegal immigration to US, 2005)
La Sierra (Drugs in Colombia, 2004)
Silencio Roto (War in Spain, 2004)
Digna… Hasta el ultimo aliento (Human rights fighter in Mexico, 2004)
Maria Full of Grace (Drugs in Colombia, 2004)
Dust to Dust (Road trip in Mexico, 2004)
Salvador Allende (the politician’s life in Chile, 2004)
Motorcycle Diaries (Che Guevara in South America, 2004)
Innocent Voices (Childhood in El Salvador, 2004)
Dias de Santiago (War veteran in Peru, 2004)
Al otro lado (Immigration to US, 2004)
El Rey (Drugs in Colombia, 2004)
Celia Cruz- An extraordinary woman (Documentary, 2003)
Paloma de papel (Terrorism in Peru, 2003)
Lucía, Lucía (A woman searching for her missing husband, Mexico, 2003)
Frida (The artist’s life in Mexico, 2003)
La primera noche (Guerrilla reality in Colombia, 2003)
Sicario (Drugs in Colombia, 2003)
El Crimen del Padre Amaro (Catholic Church problematic in Mexico, 2002)
Before Night Falls (Gay rights in Cuba, 2001)
In the Time of the Butterflies (Trijillo dictatorship in Dominican Republic, 2001)
Lista de Espera (Social life in Cuba, 2000)
Amores Perros (Social Problems in Mexico, 2000)
Caracas: Love unto Death (Marginal life in Venezuela, 2000)
El Bola (Family violence, Spain, 2000)
Any film by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar (such as Bad Education, Talk to Her, All About My Mother, What have I done to Deserve This, Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown)
Cuando vuelvas a mi lado (Family in Spain, 1999)
Solas (Social problematic, Spain, 1999)
Butterfly (Life in Spain at the beginning of the Civil War, 1999)
Buena Vista Social Club (Musicians in Cuba, 1999)
La vendedora de rosas (Social problematic in Colombia, 1998)
The Grandfather (Family importance in Spain, 1998)
Guantanamera (Life in Cuba, 1997)
Libertarias (Spanish Women during Civil War, 1996)
A Walk in the Clouds (Mexican-Americans in US, 1995)
Land and Freedom (Spanish Civil War, 1995)
Danzón (Dance in Mexico, 1995)
Strawberry and Chocolate (Social differences in Cuba, 1995)
El Callejón de los milagros (Social problematic in Mexico, 1994)
El Silencio de Neto (Democracy in Guatemala, 1994)
Belle Epoque (Life in Spain just before the Civil War, 1994)
Like Water for Chocolate (Based on the novel, 1993)
Rodrigo D: No future (Drugs in Colombia, 1990)
Romero (Social injustice in El Salvador, 1989)
The Official Story (Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, 1985)
La ciudad y los perros (Social problems in the context of a military school in Peru, 1985)
El Norte (Immigration Guatemala/US, 1983)
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (Dominican Republic) 1995 Plume Books ISBN:0452274427
The Agüero Sisters by Christina Garcia (Cuba) 1998 Ballentine Books ISBN: 0345406516
Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas (Cuba) 1994 Penguin Books ISBN: 0140157654
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (Mexico) 1992. New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-42017-X
The House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferré ( Puerto Rico) 1996 Plume Books ISBN:0452277078
Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real by Celia Correas Zapata eds. (Mexico but stories from authors of many countries) 2003 Modern Library; Modern Lib edition ISBN: 0812967070
The Vintage Book of Latin American Stories by Carlos Fuentes and Julio Ortega (eds.) (Mexico but stories from authors of many countries) 2000 Vintage ISBN: 067977551X
The Storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa 2001Picador ISBN: 0312420285
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende (Chile) 1986 Bantam ISBN: 0553273914
A Tale of the Dispossessed/La Multitue Errante: A Novel by Laura Restrepo (Columbian) 2004 Harper Perennial ISBN: 006072370X
Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy by Carlos Eire 2004 Free Press ISBN:0743246411
Panama Hat Trail by Tom Miller (Ecuador) ? travel tale 2001 National Geographic ISBN:0792263863
My Invented Country by Isabel Allende (Chile) 2004 Perennial ISBN: 0060545674
I, Rigoberta Menchú (Guatelamala) 1987 Verso ISBN: 0860917886