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This content is taken from the Purdue University's online course, Hispanic Film and Culture. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Welcome to this opportunity to learn something about Hispanic culture through film. I’m Dr. Patricia Hart from Purdue University and I’m delighted to be with you. Now you just started looking at me, but I’m going to ask you to close your eyes so that we can do an experiment, okay? Do you all have your eyes closed? Now let’s take a couple of deep relaxing breaths.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds Are you relaxed? Is your mind a blank? Now I’m going to say a series of words and I want you to flash on the first image that comes into your head and remember it. Ready, house, mother, tree, school, church. Okay now, you can open your eyes. I did this experiment to show you that I would bet anything, that the images that came into my mind were different from the ones the each and everyone of you had. Why did I do this? Well it’s because we’re going to talk a little bit about meaning. Meaning in a work of art, is not an email that the director or the author sends and that we open and read.

Skip to 1 minute and 34 seconds We like to say in literature and film studies, that meaning is something that’s negotiated. You bring what you bring to a work of art and then you take from the work of art what you can. Now you might think that visual art is different, That the image tells us what to think, but in fact I would disagree. What we see and what goes into our brain really varies depending upon our background. For example, in some of the films we might see a statue of a Christian martyr. Now those who have an experience with Christianity might interpret this statue according to dogma.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 seconds Other people might look at it if it’s a martyr who’s been tortured, Saint Stephen, you might look at it and think about your experiences with man’s inhumanity to man. Or an artist might look it and simply look at color and line. I’m thrilled to see that our group includes learners from around the world. We all bring our independent life experiences and our individuality to our discussions, as we look at film and talk about it. Now, I hope that you get vigorous conversations going and you share your diverse reactions. That can be so interesting. The one thing that we’re not going to say to each other is you’re wrong.

Skip to 2 minutes and 51 seconds You might say yes, but did you consider, or have you forgotten, or did you notice, or what about? But we’re going to be polite at all times. We’re looking at three very famous Hispanic directors, Luis Buñuel, Pedro Almodóvar, and Guillermo del Toro. And we will study them through a combination of lectures, readings and clips. I’d like to take this opportunity to exhort you to rent, stream, or buy as many films as you can by these directors and have time to view, because that will the experience much more interesting for you. And without further ado, let’s get started.

Introduction to the Course

Dr. Patricia Hart provides a brief overview of the course, and what you can expect as a learner.

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This video is from the free online course:

Hispanic Film and Culture

Purdue University