Jubilation at Protest: The culmination of the citizens' uprising in 500 YEARS was the bringing down of the President and Vice-President of Guatemala who are now in jail awaiting trial.

Jubilation at Protest: The culmination of the citizens' uprising in 500 YEARS was the bringing down of the President and Vice-President of Guatemala who are now in jail awaiting trial.

Documentary Resistance

In Spanish 372 students delve into documentary films about struggles for social justice.

April 9, 2021

What makes a documentary a form of political resistance? Professor Mónica López Lerma’s Spanish 372 course, Documentary Resistance in Spain and Latin America aims to find out. The class focuses on documentary films from Latin America and Spain that represent struggles for social justice and function as a cultural form of protest and resistance. 

By discussing an array of films (most from the last decade) in their historical and political contexts, students examine the strategies, genres, and techniques that filmmakers use to address and participate in social change. What are the implications, both ethical and aesthetic, of doing politically engaged art, they ask.

The course addresses urban activism and the indignados movement in Spain, the piqueteros movement of Argentina, the Bolivian water war, Mayan women’s resistance to mining exploitation in Guatemala, the Huichol’s fight against multinational mining companies in Mexico, and Chile’s student uprisings in 2019.

Prof. López Lerma hopes that students will learn about democracy, justice and rights in Latin America and Spain and think critically about the relationship between documentary and activism.

Prof. López Lerma holds advanced degrees in both literature and law, including a PhD in Comparative literature from the University of Michigan, a law degree from the University of Valencia (Spain) and a LL.M. in Jurisprudence from the European Academy of Legal Theory (Belgium).  She came to Reed in 2015 and teaches courses in film theory, law and violence, justice and the senses, and cinema and human rights. Her recent book Sensing Justice through Contemporary Spanish Cinema: Aesthetics, Politics, Law was published in 2021 in Edinburgh University Press

Film Viewings for the course include: 

  •   El Forat (The Hole, Falconetti Peña 2004)
  •   Ciutat Morta (Dead City, Xavier Artigas/Xapo Ortega, 2013)
  •   Termitas: El Observatorio DESC contra Bárcenas (Xavier Artigas/Xapo Ortega, 2014)
  •   Libre te quiero (Free I Love You, Basilio Martín Patiño, 2012)
  •   ¿Qué democracia? (What democracy? Patricio Escobar, 2013)
  •   Water Rising (Muireann de Barra & Aisling Crudden 2012)
  •   500 Años: Una Vida En Resistencia (500 Years: A Life of Resistance, Pamela Yates 2017)
  •   Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians (Hernán Vilchez, 2014)
  •   La selva inflada (The Inflated Jungle, Alejandro Naranjo, 2015)
  •   Chile’s Student Uprising (Roberto Navarrete, Alborada films, 2014)
  •   Chile in Flames (2019)
  •   Columnas quebradas (Broken Columns, Mario Handler 2015)

Tags: Academics, Courses We’d Love To Take, Diversity/Equity/Inclusion, Professors