Advanced Conversation/Cinema

Discipline: Spanish
Instructor: Gies
Credits: 3

Field Class: Panama Download Syllabus

This course is designed as an advanced-level conversation class for students wishing to improve fluency in spoken Spanish, build vocabulary, strengthen oral ability, increase listening skills, and learn more “everyday” Spanish. In addition, the subject matter of the films will coincide with the UN Millennium Development Goals and with the ports we will be visiting. Each class will focus on one Spanish film (to be viewed in whole or in part outside of class) and classroom activities will focus on debate, dialogue, role-playing, and oral reports. In-country assignments and visits (FDP’s; Faculty Directed Practica) will tie into the themes of the films and of the voyage. Grades will be based on participation, improvement of oral Spanish, daily vocabulary quizzes, in-class reports, and oral final exam.

Special Requirements:

Spanish 2020 (4 semesters of college Spanish) or the equivalent; closed to native speakers. Students will be required to take the UVa on-line placement test. See: (password: cavalier1). Scroll down to the bottom (language: Spanish), hit “begin”. Fill out form. For U.Va. computing ID, enter your email address. Send results to Students may take this exam only once. (Be sure to print the grade confirmation page at the end of the exam.)

Field Class

Country: Panama

This very exciting field program will take us to Panama City by coach to meet the directors of two of the films we will have studied in class (Mr. Abner Benaím, director of "Chance" and Ms. Pituka Heilbron Ortega, director of "Los puños de una nación"). Both directors will receive us and talk with us about the film industry in Panama, the challenges posed by making film outside of major film centers such as Hollywood, how films are financed, and the opportunities they see for the future. Students will come prepared with questions —in Spanish, naturally!— for the directors, and a lively discussion will enable us to gain an insider's perspective into the Panamanian film industry. The day's activities will also include lunch in a local restaurant (make sure you order the national dish, "sancocho"; maybe the directors will join us?) and a short walking tour of some of the sites used in the films we have seen.