MLA Proseminar: Cinema and Politics
This seminar has a bold aim: it seeks to understand better what has
happened in our world since the era of decolonization, by considering
the term “politics” in its very broadest and most dramatic
connotations, as the dream of social change (and its failure). Another
way of describing its subject matter is to say that it is about
revolution and counterrevolution since the Bandung Conference.
Together we will investigate the way in which major historical events,
including the struggle for Algerian independence, the military coup in
Indonesia, the Cuban Revolution, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba
in Congo, the Vietnam War, Latin American dictatorships, the Israeli
-Palestinian conflict, the fall of the Soviet Union, the end of
apartheid in South Africa, 9/11, and the Iraq War and its aftermath,
have been represented in some of the most innovative and moving films
of our time. Attention will therefore be paid to a variety of genres,
including cinema verité, documentary, the thriller, the biopic,
animation, the global conspiracy film, hyperlink cinema, science
fiction and dystopia. Films will include: The Battle of Algiers, The
Year of Living Dangerously, Memories of Underdevelopment, Lumumba and
Lumumba: La Mort du Prophète, The Fog of War, The Lives of Others, Y
Tu Mama Tambien, Even the Rain, The Constant Gardener, Syriana, The
Reluctant Fundamentalist, Waltz with Bashir, Caché, Children of Men, and
The Possibility of Hope. An archive of secondary readings will be provided on Canvas.
Writing requirements: a final paper of around 15 pp. Students will also be invited to volunteer in-class presentations.