Latinx Screens: Film, TV, and Video

Asynchronous Screening and Blog Post on Decade of Fire

Throughout the 1970s, fires consumed the South Bronx. Black and Puerto Rican residents were blamed for the devastation even as they battled daily to save their neighborhoods. In DECADE OF FIRE, Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry pursues the truth surrounding the fires – uncovering policies of racism and neglect that still shape our cities, and offering hope to communities on the brink today.

-from the Official Website

ASYNCHRONOUS ASSIGNMENT (Due on 9/14 before the class)


1. Watch the documentary Decade of Fire (Gretchen Hildebran and Vivian Vásquez, 2018)

2. In the comment section down below answer ONE of the following prompts (2o0-words minimum).


Discuss specific policies (laws), political or corporate decisions, and/or examples of media representation, that led to the neglect and extreme marginalization of the Bronx during the 1970s.

Refer to scenes and concrete issues presented by the filmmakers.


Elaborate on some of the grassroots efforts and community activism that ended the fires.

Refer to scenes, concrete actions, and solutions presented by the filmmakers.


Select and analyze the function of two different documentary techniques in Decade of Fire (voice-over narration; archival footage or images; interviews; montage; animation). How do these techniques help to convey the results of the filmmakers’ historical research?



Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about Decade of Fire do you want to bring into the discussion?

Elements of Mise en Scene

Entry Question

Apart from the story, the plot, and the actors’ performances, are there other elements of movies and tv shows that you usually pay attention to?

Elements of mise-en-scene-G. Lathrop and D. Sutton

Mise-en-scene, a French term meaning “place on stage,” refers to all the visual elements of a theatrical production within the space provided by the stage itself. Filmmakers have borrowed the term and have extended the meaning to suggest the control the director and his collaborators have over the visual elements within the film image. Four aspects of mise-en-scene which overlap the physical art of the theatre are setting, costume, lighting, and movement of figures and the camera. Control of these elements provides the director an opportunity to stage events and engage in visual storytelling.


Setting, as an important visual element of film, includes all that the viewer sees which informs time and place apart from costume.


Costume, or clothing and its accessories, is also an important visual element in film. Costume can serve to enhance the narrative, or story, for instance, by suggesting social position of characters.

Figure Behavior

Figure expression and movement are used by the director to support the narrative as well as help develop the thematic unity of a film.

Figure expression refers to the facial expressions and the posture of an actor, whereas figure movement refers to all other actions of the actor, including gestures.


Lighting, like the other aspects of mise-en-scene, is a tool used by the director to convey special meaning about a character or the narrative to the viewer. Lighting can help define the setting of a scene or accentuate the behavior of the figures in the film.

Camera Shots and Angles

What mise en scene elements Gregory Nava, the director of Selena, and his collaborators use to convey: a) Selena’s relatability (everydayness; b) social classes, elitism, and ethnic prejudices; c)Selena’s level of success within the music industry?