Category Archives: Teaching

Another film course

Jerónimo Arellano has an article in RHM (2016) called “The screenplay in the archive: screenwriting, new cinemas, and the Latin American boom.” The boom novelists also wrote screenplays, not all of which were published. This raises a number of interesting questions I am interested in the article primarily for purposes of course creation. Could one not read boom novels and screenplays together, and watch boom films?

It seems that the Cineteca Nacional and Escuela de Cine Universidad Mayor in Chile have published a series of ten key Chilean screenplays. One could get these, and any films that have been made with them, and there would be a course. Similar projects have been undertaken by the Asociación de Guionistas Colombianos and the Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía, in collaboration with the Editorial El Milagro.

(Note how this post would be a perfect item for a file for me in Evernote, about courses, and it would be connected to the stable URL of the article, and everything.)

The corpus in question includes screenplays, teleplays, and film treatments written by García Márquez, Vargs Llosa, Cortázar, Donoso and Cabrera Infante during the 1960s and 70s. There is some work on the connection between the Boom and a/v, and between literature and cinema (see the article, p. 116), and Fuentes’ adaptation of “¿No oyes ladrar a los perros?” and Antonioni’s of “Las babas del diablo” are well known. Vargas Llosa wrote one in 1972 for Os sertões. García M.’s Tiempo de morir (1965) is an allegorical Western. Indeed, the Boom writers appear to form a screenwriting collective of sorts (see further examples, p. 117 and beyond; Rimbaud and Juan Goytisolo are involved, as well as connections Idelber and Brett have made between all of this and “Latin Americanism”).

A keyword here would be transmedia studies, transmedia poetics. Consider the concept “nuevo guión hispanoamericano” (p. 119). Fuentes had 32 film projects that were not made into films, but whose existence makes a difference to the understanding of what the boom was. (And note: there is my languishing article on nueva canción; this is all of a piece somehow.) The screenplay of the boom is “born literary,” says Arellano. NOTE: this means that the Boom writers did not always insist on the primacy of the author (pace Beverley)?


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An unscientific survey of students revealed these as their favorite films in Spanish. I haven’t seen them all, and some of those I have, I have not seen in a long time. But it is a rather good list.

21 gramos
Azul y no tan rosa
Hable con ella
María llena de gracia
Nueve reinas
Relatos salvajes
Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados
Y tu mamá también


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We’ll read him next semester.

«Nuestro atraso cultural se evidencia cuando nos comparamos con otras naciones. Aún no se han impuesto aquí con toda fuerza el derecho, la libertad, el deber. La tierra clásica del honor es la tierra de la arbitrariedad: en política, en el caciquismo deshonroso; en literatura, el elogio interesado y la censura rencorosa.

Se duda de si la ley del progreso es una verdad en España. La apatía nos ata las manos: callamos ante la injusticia y confirmamos las palabras del ilustro arzobispo De Pradt: “La geografía ha cometido un error colocando a España en Europa, porque pertenece a África. Sangre, costumbres, lengua, manera de vivir y de luchar, todo en España es africano”. El militarismo nos ahoga, la marea de la reacción religiosa va subiendo. Espíritus enérgicos, que trabajaron siempre por la ciencia y el arte libres se rinden a un sentimentalismo religioso que antaño les hacía reír. Revolucionarios de toda la vida, vuelven su cara atrás y refunden su programa sobre las bases de la Iglesia y el Ejército.

Cuarenta millones se dedican a los gastos de culto y clero; seis a la enseñanza. Los catedráticos son separados arbitrariamente de sus cátedras. El Poder legislativo es una comedia; el judicial, un orden dependiente del ejecutivo; el ejecutivo, un servidos de la ambición. El obrero no espera nada del Estado.

Dejemos los entusiasmos exagerados y el lirismo del mal gusto. La época de las declamaciones ha pasado. Necesitamos ahora científicos. El triunfo de las nuevas ideas vendrá por la ciencia. Haga la iniciativa privada y particular lo que el Estado no hace: Fúndense instituciones para la enseñanza, laboratorios para científicos, escuelas donde el obrero aprenda a ser hombre y a hacer efectivos sus derechos. Que aprenda el obrero a desconfiar de los apóstoles del falso socialismo; que medite que el credo católico es incompatible con las aspiraciones del mundo que trabaja.» [1895]


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It is not what they do to you, it is what they can get you to do to yourself, is an important point for those of us who are dealing with misogyny or any kind of discrimination, really.

Another thing to remember is that although we are constantly told that most people can never admit they are in the wrong and that the sign of moral progress is to do so, even when you are in fact the wronged party, people lose respect for you when you apologize and you should consider not doing it. Do they? When they have in fact committed major crimes? They do not.

What I would like, though, for 2018 is to have more authority over the students, and therefore be in a position to be kinder to them or at least feel less wounded by them. In the old world, this authority existed in the structure of programs but now it does not. You have to be very, very solid in the bubble that is your courses, your world, and leave things at that.

I am on it.


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Getting rid of grades

This is an important article.


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Une question

How much do students know about you? It appears that they know (correctly) that I had two straight parents who did not divorce, and one brother. They do not know more although they guess (incorrectly) that I am (a) Mexican or Argentine, (b) from “Europe,” and (c) lesbian (reasons for this are wearing black, not wearing stilettos, having strong opinions, going to New Orleans a lot, and never discussing boyfriends or husbands in class). They change their opinion on sexuality and marital status a lot, depending upon which of my mother’s rings I have fancifully decided to wear. They say they feel they know less about me than they do the other professors. I feel they know much more than they would know if we lived elsewhere, because in this culture much more is revealed than would be at home–although at the same time I note that I am far more comfortable than it is said I should be with events such as running into students at the gym. Qu’est-ce que c’est?


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ERIP, Tlatelolco, Theatre

In October, I am going to Morelia, Mexico for a week and it is excellent. I must remember to make these arrangements for ERIP. (And Washington/Baltimore in November, and California in December, but ERIP comes first.)

There are other things to remember, as well, including this inspiring article by Jacqueline Bixler on memory-theatre and Tlateloloco. Its bibliography and comments are enough to create a marvelous course and I would like to do this. And there are simple things I do not know, such that Paz’ Posdata was a posdata to Tlatelolco.


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