National Cinema: Japanese Cinema
160 | CCN: 31762
How does cinema convey meaning? How do the images and sounds of cinema shape the way we think about gender, about our place in the world, about who we are and where we came from, about what is possible for the future? When does cinema open up new imaginative possibilities, question long-held assumptions, and realize previously impossible dreams, and when—and how—can it push our emotional buttons to convince us to hold onto rigid and limited frameworks of thinking? Taking up the case study of Japanese cinema, this course considers how cinema is shaped by social and cultural history, and how it in turn influences and transforms culture. Viewing these questions from outside the Hollywood mainstream affords a new perspective on the languages and contexts of film. We will raise these questions as we embark on a voyage through the twentieth century from the era of silent cinema to wartime cinema, through the New Wave cinema of the sixties and seventies and up to the present day of anime and digital media. Students will emerge with a grasp of the major trends and directors of Japanese cinema as well as knowledge of current directions in research and tools for critical thinking about cinema.
[You do not have to speak Japanese or know anything about Japan to take this course: all the films will have subtitles. Prior knowledge of the methods of film analysis will be helpful, but is not required. We will discuss all the concepts you need in class. Film showings (with a few exceptions) will be on Tuesday nights, every week, and attendance is required.]