Overview of Span 404

Posted by: | April 1, 2009 | Comments Off on Overview of Span 404

This class had a topic of things I’m interested in life: film and Spanish, and Mexico. I liked that we talked about film, because I need to continue expanding my knowledge of movies and how they’re put together and why they’re made if I want to continue writing films. It’s interesting to study the difference between Mexican and American cinema and how they each portray Mexico’s standard of living. In the first movie we watched with Cantinflas, we saw slapstick Mexican comedy parodying parts of Mexican life from the 1930s. There was a warmth and a humility to his humor that felt timeless, even though the movie itself was obviously very dated.
The way Mexico is portrayed in the Hollywood films was an entirely different kettle of fish. In the slapstick American movie about Mexico, Mexicans are portrayed as in need of American help and highly underdeveloped, especially in comparison with the American lifestyle. Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Sheen act bumbling and stupid, but they arrive to help a small Mexican pueblo, filled with people waiting to be rescued from the antagonist of the movie. Granted this film was mimicking old Westerns and previous Hollywood movies that truly depicted Mexico as such, but the fact that there were enough Hollywood movies to begin with that stereotyped Mexicans as dirty, helpless beings that The Three Amigos had such a launching pad to jump off from says something about Hollywood cinema.
I liked the film discussions and I liked seeing the vast differences between Mexican dramas and comedies and American ones. I wished we could have spoken more Spanish in class, as having discussions in Spanish continually helps me speak it better, but at least this class stayed in the general topic of what I’m studying. I liked that I got the chance to see movies that I never would have watched on my own because it can help me build on my ideas about screenplays and how to write and produce movies, and how cinematic elements can enhance the narrative of a film.


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