How important was the location to the storyline? What did you learn about this place because of the film?

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Learning Goal: I’m working on a geography writing question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
The point of this exercise is to provide you with one more lens into the region through those who
live and work there using film. In this exercise students will choose a film made in Latin
America (i.e. not a Hollywood film taking place in Latin America so for example films such as
“Man on Fire”, “Proof of Life” are not acceptable). If you have are unsure whether a film is
acceptable or not, please consult with me in advance. Films can provide an educational window
into a particular geography, exaggerate certain elements of a place to make it seem surreal, or
mostly ignore that place giving the viewer the impression that it could be occurring anywhere.
Students are required to write a 2-3 page, single-spaced review and critique of a film, with the
review focusing on the role of place and integrating two themes or concepts from the course. The
structure of the paper should be divided into two parts as follows: 1) a one to two paragraph
summary of the film (NO MORE THAN THAT-THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE I HAVE ALSO
SEEN THE FILM, SO DON’T NEED A RECAP); and 2) a critique of the role of place in the
film. The following questions are intended to guide through this part of the exercise: Where did
the film occur? How important was the location to the storyline? What did you learn about this
place because of the film? Do you feel this place was misrepresented in anyway? If so, how? If
not, why not? Also, try to identify aspects of the film that helped to depict the place (e.g
architecture, clothing, landscapes). Your grade will be based largely on how well you discuss the
role of place should include such things as: architecture, clothes, food, street scenes, as well as
cultural elements such as the role of gender, religion, or anything else that might be relevant to
the storyline.
Here are a few suggestions: Central Station, Amores Perros, City of God, Strawberry and
Chocolate, Guantanamera, Y Tu Mama Tambien, The Motorcycle Diaries, Buena Vista Social
Club, Amores Perros, Maria Full of Grace, Sugar, Rudo y Cursi, The Violin, Sin Nombre,
Behind the Sun, Silent Light, Like Water for Chocolate, Elite Squad, House of Sand, Bus 174,
God is Brazilian, Wild Tales, The Crime of Padre Amaro, Trash, A Fantastic Woman, Roma,
and many, many more.
Obviously, there are many more that would be appropriate but please be sure that the film is
foreign (non-US) directed and produced.

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