Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu directed Amores Perros, 21 Grams and the Oscar nominated Babel. Iñarritu has a very distinctive style of storytelling which some people call disjointed, others literary. With his latest film, Biutiful, the director has broken with his “disjointed style” but continues to explore the themes of fate, love, alienation, vulnerability, compassion and interconnectedness. Examine and compare either 21 Grams, Amores Perros or Babel with Beautiful. How does Iñarritu see the world around him whether it be California, Morocco or the underworld of Mexico City and Barcelona? What about the themes and links, between locations, the characters, and the world’s they inhabit. Why are the connections important and how do they serve the plots? What is he trying to say? Are his films significant and relevant to North American and international audiences in 2013 and if they are- how and why?
2- In Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer, a number of complex and interlocking themes are raised which include immigration, technology, labor, water and land use rights, and the exploitation of human capital both within and across national borders. Analyze the film’s commentary on one or more of these themes in relation to other sources and perspectives on these issues. Other sources can include journalistic accounts like newspaper and magazine articles, academic theoretical and empirical research and narrative films like Children of Men. You may also choose to compare and contrast the future Rivera presents against a historical analysis of the themes you select; for example, what is the history of migration between the U.S. and Mexico and how does this compare and contrast with Rivera’s vision of the future? What about the contemporary narrative being played out in border states like Arizona where draconian immigration laws are already in place?
3- Luis Mandoki’s film Innocent Voices is about children and their families facing the terror of war in El Salvador. Machuca is about Chilean kids from different classes caught in a country in turmoil. These are coming of age films told from a child’s point of view. In these stories the children face terrific challenges and are tested in different ways. Compare these two films or pick one of the two and compare it with one not screened in class from the list below. What do they have to say about war, violence, evil and worlds the children create in order to survive? What do the directors/films have to say about courage, compassion, love and beauty? What is it about these films that make them appeal to audiences of all ages. Consider, in each case, how the directors tell their stories and the devices they use to reach the audience such as music, sound, cinematography. Examine the development of characters and their relationships to each other. Among the films you may compare are: Lacombe Lucien, A Revoire Les Enfants, Malena, Kite Runner, Pan’s Labyrinth and Cria Cuervos .