Globalization Through Film

Discipline: Media Studies
Instructor: Mason
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 08:00
End: 09:15
Field Work: Day 1 - Buenos Aires - Tuesday, 12 November | Argentina
Prerequisites: A previous course on film or media studies strongly advised. For those new to film study, necessary introductory and background materials will be briefly reviewed and indicated with readings Download Syllabus

In the globalized world of today, Hollywood films rule. People everywhere eagerly watch films but most of them are made in the USA. From its earliest days, silent film was hailed as the bearer of a “universal language” of gesture that could unite humanity. Charlie Chaplin was the universal “little man,” and viewers embraced him worldwide. The advent of sound brought an accompanying babble of competing languages, while the postwar economic and political dominance of the United States led to a Hollywood-dominated film industry around the world.

At the same time, the development of low-cost digital technology has allowed filmmakers worldwide to work, often outside the studio system, to develop original, alternative styles. Inspired by national and regional traditions, such filmmakers are expressing their memories, dreams and aspirations in visual and auditory languages that come not from Hollywood, but from their own cultures. They are also engaging the critical issues that arise from the conflicts between traditional ways and the pervasive, homogenizing influences of globalization. This course will study both films that celebrate the influences of globalization and those that resist it, as individual filmmakers try to reach large audiences and still chart their own authentic paths. At the same time, it will use the medium of film as a vehicle through which to explore and understand the many facets of globalization. Whenever possible, course films will be set in the countries of ports of call on our voyage and showcase some aspect of the country and its culture.

Field Work

Country: Argentina
Day: 1 - Buenos Aires - Tuesday, 12 November

The day will begin in a seminar setting, where the class will meet with our host filmmaker, who will give the class some background about the current filmmaking scene in Argentina, and the situation of the independent filmmaker. The class will learn about the level of funding and other support filmmakers in Argentina enjoy, and more generally about the various challenges and opportunities they encounter. After discussion on these issues, Mr. Piñeyro will introduce one of his films and the class will then move to a viewing room where the film will be screened  for us. After watching the film, Mr. Piñeyro will host a discussion of the film over lunch. In the afternoon, the class will take either a walking or driving tour to some destinations that are important for the city’s film culture, perhaps locations where films have been shot, archives where films are curated and stored, or even art cinemas or cafes that attract the city’s film aficionados. Academic Objectives: 1. To learn about the opportunities and challenges confronting an independent filmmaker, and of the current film industry and film culture scene in Argentina through a personal meeting with leading independent filmmaker, Enrique Piñeyro. 2. To watch a film in the presence of the filmmaker, to be followed by a question and answer session 3. To gain a sense of the similarities and differences in film culture in Argentina today as compared to the USA. To see firsthand the reach of, or resistance to globalization that has occurred in this vibrant culture