Chic 3302 chicano cinema

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1. Course Description
Chicano Cinema examines dimensions of the film industry with respect to the Chicano’s place - historically and culturally - within the genre. Since film has become a genre with cultural implications, methods have emerged enabling the student to “read” the messages shaped by those images as well as the manner in which the story is told. It is within this framework that this course is based. Questions proposed for this examination include: What area the images of Chicanos in commercial Hollywood films and how have they changed as a result of historical developments? What impact did these images have, not only on the viewing public, but on Chicanos themselves? This, however, is only one part of the story.
Because of historical social movements taking place in the 1960s and 70s, Chicanos themselves began the process of reclaiming their own films, their own images, a counter-cinema, if you will. In the last thirty years an emergence of Chicano film has developed with an eye for telling stories from the perspective of this community. Chicano cinema is an interdisciplinary course that makes use of fields of cultural anthropology, sociology, film criticism, and history in order to conduct its review of how and why Chicanos have been depicted as they have. These methodologies will be used to examine how Chicanos responded to these images and in the process contributed to their self-determination and popular culture.
Learning Outcomes

(Attainment of learning outcomes is required at a minimum rate of 70%)

  1. Engage students in an interdisciplinary study of subject and issues central to consideration, aesthetically and culturally, of Chicano films. This will be accomplished through the screening of diverse films covering topics such as history, stereotyping, the role of the woman, forms of cultural expression such as the documentary, short narrative and feature, immigration, colonias, education, and border issues, just to name a few.

  1. Contribute to the comparative, critical and analytical study of Chicano film as an art form through the examination of Hollywood and Chicano film. Discussions will be used to examine differences in the two film forms.

  1. Expand the student’s horizons of Chicano film. Moreover, the course will serve to counterbalance stereotypes, ethnocentrism, racism, and sexism by examining images of Chicanos (and Latinos) in Hollywood and Chicano film.

  1. This course will promote critical written and oral communication skills as a response to Chicano film. This will be achieved through the preparation of critical film reviews, a critical essay where the student will develop a definition of Chicano film based on their viewing and readings from the class. It is anticipated that the students will come away from the class with a more critical eye towards the film industry.

Please consult the Course Format and the Methods of Evaluation for a description of assignments, examinations and course grading criteria.

2. Course Format
This course will consist of lecture, screening of films in class, discussion of both films and reading materials. Students will be engaged in written work consisting of short critical reviews of film, a midterm and take home final. Students may be asked to make oral presentations based on their reviews for purposes of initiating discussion.
Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty is prohibited and is considered a violation of the UTEP Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP). It includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and collusion. Cheating may involve copying from or providing information to another student, possessing unauthorized materials during a test, or falsifying research data on laboratory reports. Plagiarism occurs when someone intentionally or knowingly represents the words or ideas of another person's as ones' own. And, collusion involves collaborating with another person to commit any academically dishonest act. Any act of academic dishonesty attempted by a UTEP student is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Violations will be taken seriously and will be referred to the Dean of Students Office for possible disciplinary action. Students may be suspended or expelled from UTEP for such actions.  Please consult the Handbook of Operating Procedures at for the complete University policy on academic dishonesty. You may also consult with the Assistant Dean of Students at the Student Union Building West, Room 102, or by calling 747-5648. 

Students with Disabilities

If you have or believe you have a disability, you may wish to self-identify. You can do so by providing documentation to the Office of Disabled Student Services located in the Student Union Building East, Room 203 by phone 747-4148 or e-mail If you have a condition that may affect your ability to exit safely from the premises in an emergency or that may cause an emergency during class, you are encouraged to discuss this in confidence with the instructor and/or the director of Disabled Student Services.
ATTENTION GRADUATE STUDENTS: In order to obtain graduate credit for this course, you must satisfactorily complete a term paper or conduct research on a topic, with parameters and editorial style approved beforehand by the course instructor.
3. Readings
Chicano Cinema Reader (to be purchased at the University Copy Center located in the first floor of the library).
Occasional handouts will also be distributed
4. Methods of Evaluation
Final course grades will be based on the following system:
100 - 91: A

90 - 81: B

80 - 71: C

70 - 61: D

60 - 51: F
Evaluation will be based on the following criteria: 1) a midterm – 20 points; 2) a final – 40 points (both exams are take home); 3) 5 film critiques – 30 points; 4) student participation in class discussions – 5 points and, 5) regular attendance – 5 points. Please be informed that three (3) unexcused absences will mean losing credit and perhaps loss of a grade. In addition, excessive tardiness may result in student being dropped from the class.
Course Outline
January 11

  1. Overview of course.

Screen: The Bronze Screen
January 18

  1. Early film stereotypes

Screen: Martyrs of the Alamo (1915, d./w Christy Cabanne)

Reading: José Limón. Stereotyping and Chicano Resistance” (1973)

January 25

  1. Hollywood and Revolution

Screen: Viva Villa (1934, d. Jack Conway)

Reading: Charles Ramírez Berg. “Stereotyping in Films in General and the Hispanic in Particular” (1998)

NOTE: 1st Review Assignment (due Feb. 1)

February 1

  1. Social Problem Films

Screen: Trial (1955, d. Mark Robson)

Reading: Chon Noriega. “Citizen Chicano: The Trials and Titillations of Ethnicity” (1998)

NOTE: 2nd Review assignment (due Feb. 8)
February 8
5. Stereotypical Images? The Border

Screen: The Magnificent Seven (1960, d. John Sturgis)

Reading: to be determined
February 15
6. Counter-Cinema: Redefining Images

Screen: Salt of the Earth (1954, d. Herbert Biberman)

Reading: James J. Lorence “What Kind of Film Was This?” (1999)

Midterm Assignment (due February 22)

February 22
7. The Emergence of Chicano Cinema

Screen: I Am Joaquín (1969, d. Luis Valdez)

Reading: Rodolfo “Corky” González. “ I am Joaquin” (1967) and Rolando Hinojosa. : I Am Joaquín: Relationship Between the Text and Film (1985)
March 1
8. Video Narrative

Screen: A Day Without a Mexican (1998, d. Sergio Arau)

NOTE: 3rd review assignment (due March 8)
March 8
9. Chicano Documentaries

Screen: The Forgotten Americans (2000, p. Héctor Galán)

March 15
10. The Immigrant Experience

Screen: Alambrista (1977, d. Robert Young)

Reading: Nicholas J. Cull. “Border Crossings…”

March 22
11. Spring Break

March 29
12. Chicano Cinema in Hollywood: The First Step

Screen: Zoot Suit (1981, d. Luis Valdez)

Read: Greg Barrios. “Zoot Suit: The Man, The Myth, Still Lives” (1985)

NOTE: 4th review assignment (due April 5)
April 5
13. Crossing School Borders

Screen: Stand and Deliver (1987, d. Ramón Meléndez)

Reading: Ilene S. Goldman. Crossing Invisible Borders: Ramón Meléndez’s ‘Stand and Deliver’.
April 12
14. Can Chicanos Make Action Pictures?

Screen: El Mariachi (1993, d. Robert Rodriguez)

Reading: Charles Ramirez Berg. “Ethnic Ingenuity and Mainstream Cinema” (1996)
April 19
15. The Context of Chicano Culture

Screen: Mi Familia (1995, d. Gregory Nava)

NOTE: 5th written assignment (due April 27)
April 26
16. Another View of the Border

Screen: Lone Star (1996, d. John Sayles)

Reading: Jason Johansen. “Notes on Chicano Cinema”

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