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Trio of Colombian films concludes downtown lecture series

November 06, 2013

Colombia’s 50-year history of expelling people who are considered a threat to ensure territories and populations will close out a popular downtown lecture series.

“Latin American Cinema and the Human Condition,” presented by Dr. Eduardo Caro Melendez is the final installment of the 2013 fall Humanities Lecture Series, now in its sixth year. Hosted by ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences, the lecture starts at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 14, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communicationroom 128, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.

The lecture series is free and open to the public. 

“The Humanities Lecture Series provides us with opportunities to analyze, discuss and interpret current events. We look forward to public discussions that help us understand and appreciate various points of view on political, social and cultural issues,” says Frederick C. Corey, director of ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences and dean of University College. 

The theme for this year’s series is “The Human Condition.” In addition to film, the series has focused on Romantic poetry, humor and ethnicity.

The School of Letters and Sciences provides students across ASU with the knowledge and skills to comprehend and effectively engage the changing world of the 21st century at local, national and global levels. Theory, creativity and applied learning are integrated as students build entrepreneurial opportunities both inside the university and in their communities.

Caro Meléndez, a course coordinator and an instructor of Spanish for the professions and Latin American Literature and Film in the School of Letters and Sciences, is a native of Baranquilla, Colombia. He will discuss in his 30-minute presentation three Colombian-produced films – "The First Night" (2003), "Little Voices" (2010) and "The Colors of the Mountain" (2010). Caro Meléndez said the trio of pictures underscores the country’s humanitarian crisis of forcibly displacing local people.

“Displacement is a problem that has plagued Colombia for more than half a century and is something very afro-colombian and indigenous to the country, and has been captured in cinema,” Caro Melendez said. “When these peasants get displaced – if they manage to survive – they have to start a new life in a large city, which causes conflict and confusion, adding another layer of violence to the already existing one, wherever they go. It’s quite difficult for them to adapt in the city, coming from these rural areas.”

The country’s drug lords, guerillas, arms traffickers and paramilitary groups have often used displacement as a war tactic to control regions, drain peasants of their land and valuables, and take anything of economic value. Caro Melendez said that, once in the urban space, displaced peasants often endure discrimination, violence, joblessness and exploitation.

A 2012 report by the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement stated that 36 percent of Colombia’s population was forced to flee their homes, and continues to climb.

For more information on the fall 2013 Humanities Lecture Series, call Dr. Mirna Lattouf, series organizer, at 602-496-0638, or email her, at