Examining History from All Sides: Cine Hispano Class Holds Mock Trial
In the Cine Hispano classes, students recently watched Motorcycle Diaries, a film in Spanish on the travels of Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
While the movie portrays him as a man of the people and a humanitarian, he can also be a rather polemic figure. Che helped Fidel Castro overthrow the dictatorship of Batista in Cuba, but then the new government just became another dictatorship, thereby initiating the Cuban diaspora that became the large Cuban-American community we now have in the USA. Because of this, instead of analyzing the movie in a traditional style, the classes had a trial of el Che.
From the prosecutor and defense attorney, to a CIA director, and members of the Leper colony, each student took on and researched their role, then acted out and made the necessary arguments and/or provided testimony support for or against Che. The students who were members of the jury then decided on whether he was guilty or not guilty of crimes against humanity.
A process as dramatic as a good Law and Order episode, the students not only learned a lot about Che's history and that of Latin America, but also practiced their Spanish as the entire trial and research was done in Spanish.