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Streaming Video Guides

Use this guide to find streaming alternatives to Media Services DVDs.

Central and South America

Titles Available as of July 2022

This is a selective list of streaming video holdings in the American University Library. Streaming guides are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date streaming holdings, please refer to our streaming catalog.


Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas

In 1989, the Brazilian Workers' Party altered the concept of local government when they installed participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre, allowing residents to participate directly in the allocation of city funds. Ten years later, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was swept into power with the promise of granting direct participation to the Venezuelan people, who later formed tens of thousands of self-organized communal councils. In the Southern Cone, cooperative and recuperated factory numbers have grown, and across the Americas social movements and constitutional assemblies are taking authority away from the ruling elites and putting power into the hands of their members and citizens. The film features interviews with Eduardo Galeano, Amy Goodman, Emir Sader, Marta Harnecker, Ward Churchill, and Leonardo Avritzer, as well as with cooperative and community members, elected representatives, academics, and activists from Brazil, Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, United States, Uruguay, Chile, and Colombia. 

Bolivia: On the Brink

Bolivia, one of the most troubled countries in the region, is fractured by language, race and class. The poorest country in South America, its society is divided into the rich and the very poor. Now, there is a new fault line --globalization. In a recent referendum, voters decided to allow more exports of the country s lucrative natural gas reserves, which will earn the country much needed foreign revenue. The exporting of natural gas is an explosive issue in Bolivia, where public anger at proposals to ship the gas out of Chilean ports toppled the government in October, 2003. Native Indians reinforced the anti-globalization movement when they organized against the privatization of water by the multi-national corporation Bechtel. As Professor Roberto Fernandez, Cochabamba University, points out: "It was theft. Bechtel was stealing from people what they had invested in their small neighborhoods. The water war ... opened a broad path for the popular movement." 

Border South

Reveals the resilience, ingenuity and humor of Central American immigrants while exposing a global migration system that renders human beings invisible in life as well as death. 

Cartagena, Colombia: Spain's Fortress on the Caribbean

Situated in a bay of the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena has the most extensive fortifications in South America. A system of zones divides the city into three quarters: San Pedro, with the Cathedral and many Andalusian-style palaces; San Diego, where merchants and middle-class lived; and Gethsemani, the "popular quarter." 

Che Guevara

A documentary depicting Che Guevara in daily private life.

A Convenient Truth: Urban Solutions from Curitiba, Brazil

The original 'green' city. A Convenient Truth: Urban Solutions from Curitiba, Brazil is an informative, inspirational documentary aimed at sharing ideas to provoke environment-friendly and cost-effective changes in cities worldwide. The documentary focuses on innovations in transportation, recycling, social benefits including affordable housing, seasonal parks, and the processes that transformed Curitiba into one of the most livable cities in the world.

Coyote: Immigration Case Study

For guidance northward, illegal immigrants from Latin America frequently enlist mercenary escorts known as "coyotes." This program examines one such charming and unseemly figure and the three Guatemalans who have placed their trust in him. Viewers follow the nervous foursome through checkpoints and river crossings as they employ unreliable forged documents and take on false identities-while facing physical danger and the constant threat of deportation. Ultimately, the film echoes the heady and traumatic experiences known to millions of undocumented immigrants-especially since only one of the protagonists gains any tangible success from the journey.

Cuzco, Peru: City of the Incas, City of the Spanish

Located in the Peruvian Andes, Cuzco developed, under the Inca ruler Pachacutec, into a complex urban center with distinct religious and administrative functions. It was surrounded by clearly delineated areas for agricultural, artisan and industrial production. When the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th century, they maintained its structure but built Baroque churches and palaces over the ruins of the Indian city.


Until December 11, 1981, El Mozote was just a tiny hamlet, nestled deep in the mountains of El Salvador. Eleven days later, its one thousand people, mostly children, were dead. Surrounding villages were razed. When the elite army battalion that executed the massacre returned to base, its soldiers were sworn to silence. For the next decade, the Salvadoran and U.S. governments put up a wall of denial. Beyond the overgrown ruins of El Mozote, the official 'truth' prevailed. But now the story of what happened, and the question of responsibility, have taken center stage in El Salvador's quest for conciliation.

Eyes Wide Open: Exploring Today’s South America

South America has tilted to the left, and its socialist governments are forging an economic alliance that places public power, not market dynamics, at the center. The plan? To exploit revenues from the continent's abundant natural resources to build a better future where all will benefit from that wealth-and, in the process, to become free from North American interference. To explore the sociopolitical changes and the vast lands upon which these dramas are being played out, this program travels to the Venezuela of Hugo Chavez, the Brazil of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Bolivia of Evo Morales, the Ecuador of Rafael Correa, the Paraguay of Fernando Lugo, and elsewhere on a continent that is emerging as the master of its own destiny. 

Fidel: The Untold Story

Whether dismissed as a relic or revered as a savior, many agree that Fidel Castro is one of the most influential and controversial figures of our time. Rarely are Americans given a chance to see inside the world of this socialist leader. The documentary Fidel offers a unique opportunity to view the man through exclusive interviews with Castro himself, historians, public figures and close friends, with rare footage from the Cuban State archives. Alice Walker, Harry Belafonte, and Sydney Pollack discuss Fidel as a person, while former and current US government figures including Arthur Schlesinger, Ramsey Clark, Wayne Smith, Congressman Charles Rangel and a former CIA agent offer political and historical perspectives on Castro and the long-standing US embargo against Cuba. Family members and close friends, including Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, offer a window into his rarely seen personal life. 

The Galapagos Affair

Darwin meets Hitchcock in this true-crime tale of paradise found and lost. A extraordinary documentary portrait of a 1930s murder mystery as strange and alluring as the famous archipelago itself. Fleeing conventional society, a Berlin doctor and his mistress start a new life on uninhabited Floreana Island. But after the international press sensationalizes the exploits of the island's 'Adam and Eve,' others flock there, including a self-styled Swiss Family Robinson. 

Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso, Chile

The colonial city of Valparaíso presents an excellent example of late-19th-century urban and architectural development in Latin America. In its natural amphitheater-like setting, the city is characterized by a vernacular urban fabric adapted to the hillsides that are dotted with a great variety of church spires. It contrasts with the geometrical layout utilized in the plain. The city has well preserved its interesting early industrial infrastructures, such as the numerous "elevators" on the steep hillsides. 

In Search of History: The Aztec Empire

This program explores the riveting history of the Aztec empire, a civilization that rose to dominate nearly all of Mexico over the course of 400 years. 

Indians in Brazil: Our Languages

Part of the Indians in Brazil series, Our Languages relates the historic repression of indigenous languages in Brazil. Many Indian languages were nearly lost thanks to missionaries and merchants - who rewarded Indians for learning Portuguese with status and material gifts - and government-sponsored schools that punished children for speaking in their native tongues.

The Longing: The Forgotten Jews of South America

A small group of South Americans are eager to affirm their Jewish faith. Their ancestors, Spanish Jews, were forced to convert during the Inquisition. Even after centuries of living in the New World as Catholics and intermarrying, their families still managed to secretly pass down some Jewish traditions from generation to generation. These practices have convinced them that they were originally Jews and fuel their desire to convert. The Longing, set in Ecuador, tells the story of a group of "conversos" attempting to regain their birthright. Among those featured are three women who traveled 36 hours roundtrip, by bus, from Colombia and a couple from a small Ecuadorian town. On the Internet, they have found an American rabbi from Kansas City committed to helping "lost Jews" throughout the world reclaim their identities. For two years they have studied online, following the rabbi's conversion course to Judaism. Now they are meeting the rabbi in Guayaquil, Ecuador. When the rabbi arrives, he finds the local established Jewish community uncooperative. The congregation is suspicious of the groups claim to their Jewish roots, even locking the Temple doors against these outsiders. Ultimately, the rabbi is able to get several local Jews to reluctantly participate in the conversion. Lost no more, the new converts dreams are fulfilled. Yet they face an uncertain future. They are isolated in their Catholic towns and receive little support from the Jewish community, which questions the religious authenticity of the rabbi s conversions. 

Lost Road of the Inca

Karin Muller is an American on a quest to understand other cultures. This program follows her as she begins her journey of discovery along the route of the ancient Incan highway through South America. In Ecuador, she endures tear gas during a labor riot and witnesses backbreaking toil in a crude, antiquated gold mine. On the disputed border between Ecuador and Peru, she watches ordnance troops unearth and detonate a land mine, visits the lonely graves of fallen soldiers, and-in a life-affirming turn-finds welcome respite in drinking boiled yucca tea at a family farm. Muller provides engaging and eloquent voice-over commentary as her trek progresses. 

Mama’s Coca War: How the war on drugs impacts South America

Since the United Nations prohibited coca cultivation in 1961, a battle has raged around the simple, versatile plant. In the West, coca is synonymous with violence and terror. For the people of the Andes, however, coca represents a viable and ancient livelihood. This program follows their resistance to the sweeping illegalization and eradication measures instituted by Latin American governments, the United States, and other global powers. Viewers will learn how activist networks cross national borders with increasing momentum while risking reprisals by death squads and guerilla forces. The film also presents the perspective of police and drug enforcement agencies that patrol the Latin American "drug route."

The Ona People: Life and Death in Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego, "land of fire," was first discovered by Europeans early in the sixteenth century. A group of islands that had separated from the southern tip of the South American mainland long ago, Tierra del Fuego had probably been inhabited by different groups of Indians for at least 9000 years. The largest island in the zone, the "Great Island," now divided between Chile and Argentina, was the homeland of the Selk'nam Indians, sometimes known as the Ona. Until their extermination began in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, there were between 3500 and 4000 Ona on the island. In 1919, Father Martin Gusinde counted fewer then 300, and by 1930 less than 100 Ona remained. By 1977, when this film was released, Angela, the last full-blooded Ona Indian, had died. 

Ouro Preto, Brazil: The City of Black Gold

Founded at the end of the 17th century, Ouro Preto ("Black Gold") was the focal point of the gold rush and "Brazil's Golden Age" in the 18th century. With the exhaustion of the gold mines in the 19th century, Ouro Preto's influence declined, but many churches, bridges and fountains remain as a testimony to its past prosperity and the exceptional talent of the Baroque sculptor Aleijadinho. 

Potosi, Bolivia: The Devil's Silver

In the 16th century, this area was regarded as the world’s largest industrial complex. The extraction of silver ore relied on a series of hydraulic mills. The site consists of the industrial monuments of the Cerro Rico, where water is provided by an intricate system of aqueducts and artificial lakes; the colonial town with the Casa de la Moneda; the Church of San Lorenzo; several patrician houses; and the barrios mitayos, the areas where the workers lived. 

South America

South America is a territory of contrasts and excesses. It contains the world's longest mountain chain, the largest rainforest, the most powerful river, the driest desert and the largest biodiversity on the planet. This world travelled around the heart of the South Pacific for billions of years, before leaving Gondwana for good to join North America and build ... the Americas. 

South America -- BBC Worldwide Learning

South America - the most species rich continent on Earth. 

South American Landscapes and the Endangered Black Sea Turtle in Baja, Mexico: Wild Chronicles Episode 241

Wild Chronicles host Boyd Matson takes to the skies over South America with aerial photographer Robert Haas as he shoots incredible images for his remarkable new photography book, "Through the Eyes of the Condor." Hanging out the side of a helicopter, these adventurers will do anything for the shot. Haas captures the continent's defining landscapes from above to create an unprecedented big picture perspective of the largely unseen beauty below. In a determined effort to help protect the highly endangered black sea turtle, one extraordinary American biologist deploys Crittercam to record a turtle's view of life in the warm waters along the coast of Baja, Mexico. His work will not only fascinate, but may protect the species from extinction: gaining new insight on how and where the turtles feed may prevent these graceful and ancient creatures from disappearing forever. 


This program takes viewers through the chief temple of pre-Hispanic Mexico, tracing the myths, rituals, history, and daily life and death of the Aztec civilizations it served. 

Trade Not Aid

Latin America's chequered history with multi-national companies can make big business a hard sell. In this film we look at some business projects in South America, centered on the poor to see what can happen. ""It is not about philanthropy or giving away resources,"" says the boss of one of the world's largest multinational cement companies, when asked what his company is doing lending money to the poor to build houses and supplying them with building materials. It's turning a profit on the deal, and it's not the only one: multinationals, growing bananas, coffee, and producing chocolate are not just selling to the poor but working with them. One development agency sees business as crucial in the process of moving the poor from two to eight dollars a day. But can these practical solutions built on business models really deliver? 

Two Indian Tribes in South America

Anthropologist and psychologist Peter Elsass studied two Indian tribes in Colombia and Venezuela over a 16-year period. In his film, The Earth is Our Mother (Part I), we see their different ways of dealing with encroaching white civilization. The Motilon Indians in the lowland of Venezuela gave up their traditional ways and became dependent on the Catholic missionaries who converted them. They became spiritually and economically impoverished. The Arhuaco Indians, in the mountains of northern Colombia, threw out the missionaries and maintained their cultural integrity. They have an abiding spiritual attachment to their land. 

The War on Democracy

Journalist John Pilger examines the role of the United States' government in Latin American government, arguing that the United States has covertly worked to stifle "true" Latin American democracies whose policies have run counter to the United States' best political and economic interests.

Which Way Home

A feature documentary that follows unaccompanied child migrants on their journey through Mexico as they try to reach the United States. We follow children like Olga and Freddy, 9-year old Hondurans, who are trying to reach their parents in the US. Children like Jose, a 10-year old El Salvadoran, who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and Kevin, a streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach the US. As the United States continues to build a wall between itself and Mexico, this documentary shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness as they endeavor to make it to the United States.


Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Noted by legendary film critic Roger Ebert as one of his top ten favorite films of all time, this masterpiece from Oscar-nominated director Werner Herzog is an unforgettable portrait of madness and power. In the mid-16th century, after annihilating the Incan empire, Gonzalo Pizarro (Allejandro Repulles) leads his army of conquistadors over the Andes into the heart of the most savage environment on earth in search of the fabled City of Gold, El Dorado. As the soldiers battle starvation, Indians, the forces of nature, and each other, Don Lope de Aguirre (Klaus Kinski), "The Wrath of God," is consumed with visions of conquering all of South America and revolts, leading his own army down a treacherous river on a doomed quest into oblivion. 

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch and Sundance are the two leaders of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. Butch is all ideas, Sundance is all action and skill. The west is becoming civilized and when Butch and Sundance rob a train once too often, a special posse begins trailing them no matter where they run. Over rock, through towns, across rivers, the group is always just behind them. When they finally escape through sheer luck, Butch has another idea, "Let's go to Bolivia". Based on the exploits of the historical characters. 

City of God

Built in the 1960s, Cidade de Deus (City of God) is a sprawling housing project built to keep the poor as far as possible from Rio's glamorous beaches and resorts. By the 1980s, it has degenerated into a war zone so dangerous that visitors from outside risk being shot to death on sight, a poisonous stew of poverty, drugs, and crime. "If you run away, they get you, and if you stay, they get you, too," says Rocket, who wants to be a photographer. Rocket's brother, friends, and neighbors begin with truck stick-ups, which lead to brothel hold-ups that lead to murder that leads to coke dealing that leads to street brawls with armies of gun-toting 11-year-olds. Soon a full-scale gang war rages in the City of God--understandably not covered by wary Rio photojournalists--but just the opportunity Rocket needs to make his move, get a job at a newspaper, and get out.

Motorcycle Diaries

An inspirational adventure, based on the true story of Ernesto Guevara and Alberto Granado, whose thrilling and dangerous road trip across Latin America becomes a life-changing journey of self-discovery.