Images of Dissent: Spanish Film under Franco (MLS2017)

StaffDr Jara Fernandez Meneses -
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

In this module you will explore the extraordinary films that arose from the historical contexts of the Franco dictatorship and subsequent Transition. You will acquire a nuanced understanding of such terms as ‘propaganda’ film, ‘popular’ film and oppositional ‘auteurist’ cinema in order to consider what an ‘image of dissent’ in these contexts might be. You will consider production contexts in this period and consider questions such as how a film a film is financed and how are the director and creative team trained? Your main focus will be to analyse the use of film form in the selected texts, including the deployment of genre and casting, and the use of mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing and sound.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a sound general understanding of the chosen films, including reference to their place in the historical and cultural contexts of their time.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 2. With some guidance from the course tutor, evaluate and apply a range of critical approaches to the material covered.
  • 3. Mount a detailed argument in the appropriate register of English, mustering a range of textual or other evidence in its support.
  • 4. Understand and use, in written and oral contexts, a range of film-critical terms.
  • 5. Access and use critically printed and, where appropriate, electronic learning resources identified as useful by the course tutor, and, to a limited extent, discover other useful materials independently.
  • 6. Analyse selected films, relating them to significant elements in their historical and cultural contexts.
  • 7. Demonstrate visual literacy skills appropriate to the level, e.g. an ability to relate images to meanings beyond the images themselves and an understanding that the cinematic image is the product of a combination of personal values, technological practices and cultural and industrial contexts.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Undertake defined learning activities with a measure of autonomy, asking for guidance where necessary.
  • 9. Adopt a critical approach to the selection and organisation of material in order to produce, to a deadline, an oral /or a written argument.
  • 10. Present information and arguments on a defined topic to a group of listeners.
  • 11. Present a cogent and sustained argument orally and in writing, in English, on a topic chosen from a range of options provided, following broad guidelines but selecting and adapting them as required.

Syllabus plan

  • Introductions: I. Film Studies: analysis of film language; overview of genres; theory and criticism. II. Spanish Cinema: cinema of the regime; cinema of resistance; popular and art cinemas.
  • Bienvenido Míster Marshall / Welcome, Mr. Marshall (Berlanga 1952)
  • Muerte de un ciclista / Death of a Cyclist (Bardem 1955)
  • Viridiana (Buñuel, 1961)Gary Cooper, que estás en los cielos / Gary Cooper, Who Art in Heaven (Miró 1980)
  • Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón / Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls on the Heap (Almodóvar 1980)
  • Module Review

NB Films may vary depending on availability. Alternative films may include Plácido (Berlanga 1961), La gran familia / The Great Family (Palacios 1962), El mundo sigue / Life Goes On (Fernán-Gómez 1963), La tía Tula / Aunt Tula (Picazo, 1964) and La caza / The Hunt (Saura 1965).


Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 10Lectures will be used to provide a framework within which key ideas, events and selected films will be studied, and to outline the main themes and techniques employed by directors
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 5Seminars will give students the opportunity to explore the points raised in the lectures and develop their own ideas about them through group presentations and close textual analysis. Group presentations will be based on specific topics and tasks, the latter ranging from analyses of critical material to interpretations of selected scenes from the films. These will be followed by question and answer sessions leading to discussions in which all students will be expected to participate.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 105 film screenings
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 1End-of session conclusion hour
Guided Independent Study124This is the majority of a students’ time. It will be spent in private viewing of the films; reading; planning and writing essays and presentations; revising, where relevant. Students will also be assigned a Study Group with which they will prepare a presentation for one of the films studied on the module.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 Words1-11Written and Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002500 Words1-11Written and Oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-11Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Bentley, Bernard. A Companion to Spanish Cinema, Woodbridge: Tamesis, 2008
  • Faulkner, Sally, A History of Spanish Film: Cinema and Society 1910-2010, New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013
  • Hopewell, John. Out of the Past: Spanish Cinema after Franco, London: BFI, 1986
  • Jordan, Barry, and Mark Allinson, Spanish Cinema: A Student's Guide, London: Hodder Arnold, 2005
  • Labanyi, Jo and Tatjana Pavlovic (eds), A Companion to Spanish Cinema, Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013
  • Pavlovic, Tatjana and others, 2009, 100 Years of Spanish Cinema,Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009
  • Stone, Rob. Spanish Cinema, Harlow: Longman, 2002
  • Triana-Toribio, Núria. Spanish National Cinema, London: Routledge, 2003

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Films in syllabus plan

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Spanish film; Franco’s Spain; Auteurist Cinema; Dissident Cinema; Transition