Hum Update: Week 5

Art and Film in Mexico

Week five, the penultimate week of the Tenochtitlan/Mexico City unit, has passed. On Monday, February 25, Assistant Professor of Art History Alberto McKelligan-Hernández from Portland State University gave a guest lecture. He discussed the Mexican Avant-Garde art movement and how it reflected the political revolution of the 1920s. José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and Davíd Alfaro Siqueiros, known as los tres grandes (or the three great ones), were the leaders of the Avant-Garde and painted many ingenious murals among other works. McKelligan-Hernández is an expert in Mexican art and provided invaluable insight on the material.

There was no lecture on Wednesday, February 27. There was a short reading by Robin Adéle Greeley called “Muralism and the State in Post-Revolution Mexico 1920–1970,” and students reviewed the painting galleries from Monday.

For Friday, March 1, Associate Professor of Russian and Humanities Marat Grinberg lectured on Luis Buñuel’s film Los Olvidados, translated as The Young and the Damned in English. There was a screening of the film (with popcorn!) Wednesday night in Vollum lecture hall. Grinberg lectured on cinematic strategies and how to analyse film, while also covering Buñuel’s style and body of work. Students were assigned two readings: one by Buñuel and one by Cesare Zavattini, an early Italian neorealist screenwriter.

I loved this week so much. The murals were definitely my favorite thing that we’ve looked at so far. They were incredibly detailed with complex narratives and symbolism. The colors were rich and vibrant. Every mural created a multitude of emotions and an intricate visual experience. Next week is the last week of the Mexico City unit, and while I’m excited for the Harlem Renaissance unit, I’m disappointed that this unit is almost over.

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