Full week course on Bioethics and Film

Looking at Bioethics through the Lens of Both American and Spanish Films

University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Donostia – San Sebastian, March 11-16, 2012

This is the first time we host this international program in collaboration with Case Western Reserve University. Taught by faculty from CWRU and UPV/EHU this course offers students a cross-cultural perspective on bioethics in the United States and Spain. This course uses the medium of film, complemented by readings in bioethics, film criticism, and medical research, to introduce students to a number of compelling bioethics issues.

Attendance to San Sebastian activities free of charge for IAS-Research members, UPV/EHU researchers and “Filosofía, Ciencia y Valores / Filosofia, Zientzia eta Balioak” master students.

More info: antonio.casado AT ehu DOT es

Course Faculty

Invited Lecturers:

Films to be Watched Together:

  • Frankenstein, 1931 –to be watched in Cleveland
  • The Sea Inside (Mar adentro), 2004
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (La escafandra y la mariposa), 2007
  • Talk to Her (Hable con ella), 2002
  • My Life without Me (Mi vida sin mí), 2003
  • Wit (Amar la vida), 2001
  • Lightborne (Alumbramiento), 2007
  • The Basque Ball, 2003 –only bits and pieces

Program at Donostia – San Sebastian

Sunday, March 11


10:00-11:00 Guided Visit to the Museum (in English)
11:00-12:00 Introductory Film: The Basque Ball (selections)
12:00-13:00 Discussion: Basque culture and history. Debate with Jon Umerez

Monday, March 12

10:00-14:00 Film & Discussion at SS campus: The Sea Inside (at the Sala de Grados)
16:00-18:00 Debate with Koldo Martinez

Tuesday, March 13

10:00-14:00 Film & Discussion at SS campus: Talk to Her (at the Sala Polivalente)

Wednesday, March 14


9:00-12:00 Film & Discussion at Leioa campus: My Life without Me
12:00-13:00 Tour of Medical School, including Arboretum (if weather permits) and Forest of Life
13:00 Lunch at traditional restaurant
15:00-18:00 Visit to Guggenheim Museum

Thursday, March 15

VISIT TO AIETE PALACE (House of Peace and Human Rights Centre)

10:00-13:00 Film & Discussion at SS campus: Wit (at the Sala de Grados)
15:30-16:30 Welcome to Aiete by the Globernance Institute
16:30-18:30 Lightborne + Debate with Jesús García Cívico on Film, Human Rights, and the Law

Friday, March 16

10:00-14:00 Film & Discussion at SS campus: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (at the Sala de Grados)

How to Get to the Venues:

  • Sala de Grados / Gradu Aretoa: Philosophy and Education Sciences Faculty, Tolosa Hiribidea, 17, Donostia – San Sebastian. 2nd floor (entrance through central doors).
  • Sala Polivalente / Erabilera Anitzeko Gela: Philosophy and Education Sciences Faculty, Tolosa Hiribidea, 17, Donostia – San Sebastian. 3rd floor (entrance through the right-hand hall of the building).
  • San Telmo, Bilbao and Aiete sessions: access by bus to be be announced.

Required Reading:

Bioethics at the Movies, edited by Sandra Shapshay, 2009.
part 3 chapter 12, “She’s DNR! She’s Research!: Conflicting Role-Related Obligations in Wit”
part 5 chapter 19, “Talk to Whom? Redefining Autonomy in Talk to Her.”
Part 5 chapter 20, “Stars and Triangles: Controversial Bioethics in Contemporary Spanish Film.”

The Picture of Health: Medical Ethics and the Movies, edited by Henri Colt, Silvia Quadrelli, Lester Friedman, 2011.
part 1 chapter 1, “Frankenstein and the Birth of Medical Ethics”
part 2 chapter 3, “The Ethics of Self-determination”
part 6 chapter 5, “Subject Participation in Research”
part 8 chapter 5, “Do Not Resuscitate Orders”
part 8 chapter 10, “Suicide”
part 9 chapter 5, “Futility of Care”
part 9 chapter 6, “Futility in the NICU”

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death, Jean-Dominique Bauby, 1998.
Because you need to read the whole book, it is recommended that you purchase this one: ISBN-10: 0375701214
Encyclopedia of Bioethics 3rd Edition, pp. 278-286, “Bioethics”

Journal Articles

A Casado da Rocha, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, J Med Mov, 2009; 5: 45-46
E. Clave Arruabarrena, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007):
P R Ferguson, Patients’ Perceptions of Information Provided in Clinical Trials, Journal of Medical Ethics, 2002; 28:45-48
A D Gaines and Eric T. Juengst, Origin Myths in Bioethics: Constructing Sources, Motives and Reason in Bioethic(s), Cult Med Psychiatry, 2008; 32:303–327
M J Guerra, Euthanasia in Spain: The Public Debate after Ramon Sampedro’s Case, Bioethics, 1999; V13 Number 5: 66-73.
P Guinan, Bioterrorism, Embryonic Stem Cells, and Frankenstein, Journal of Religion and Health, 2002; 41:305-310
S Joffe, et al, Quality of Informed Consent in Cancer Clinical Trials: a Cross-sectional Survey, The Lancet, 2001; 358:1772-1777
H van den Belt, Playing God in Frankenstein’s Footsteps: Synthetic Biology and the Meaning of Life, NanoEthics, 2009; 3: 257-268