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University of Massachusetts Amherst

SPANISH 797AS- PhD Seminar: Aging Studies and Spanish and Latin American Cinemas


In a context of obsession with physical perfection and eternal youth, the cinematic representation of the older body, especially the older woman’s body, implies a thematic and aesthetic challenge. Unlike mainstream cinema, where glamorous girls are in the spotlight and ageing female actors are virtually invisible, a considerable number of female-authored films feature powerful (and often erotic) mature women center-stage.

In this class we will tackle the intersection between age and gender in cinema by addressing the following topics: Elder Stereotypes in cinema (Narratives of Decline/Successful Ageing/Affirmative Ageing); The invisibility of ageing women in mainstream cinema; The representation of ageing women vis-à-vis ageing men; The evolution of older women’s representation: are their roles becoming more (or less) visible (and if visible, more empowering) throughout the history of cinema?; Aging in a cultural context: cross-national differences; Aging and violence: Films that transform established narratives on elder women’s abuse and neglect and seek to reverse the traditional absence and/or stereotyping of older female characters in contexts of violence.; Aging and sex: female eroticism after 50 (… or after 40); Aging and homosexuality; Aging and sickness; Aging/loss of memory/loss of historical memory; Death and Euthanasia

The goal of this class is to provide students with specialized material for a deep understanding of the field of aging studies.  (The class is taught in Spanish)

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