Japanese Cinema

EALC 466 (Spring 2020)
frame from Mizoguchi film

This course surveys Japanese cinema from its early history to the contemporary period following a roughly chronological order. We will use (but also question) concepts such as ?auteur, genre, national traditions, gender and racial hierarchy, culture, Commercial vs. Art, Tradition vs. Modernity, the East and the West? to understand Japanese films. We will focus on both the cultural contents and formal aspect. Whether it is the production of films or their reception by audiences, the art of cinema has always been a social practice shaped by technology, social change, ideological demands, politics, not to mention the history of earlier films. Each week we will view a "moment" from the history of Japanese cinema and a methodological issue in film studies brought into focus by a film. For example, we will study modernism in the 1930s Japan, the war film and propaganda. We will of course pay attention to the Masters of Japanese cinema (Mizoguchi, Ozu, Kurosawa, Oshima et. al.), but we will also study film in relation to broader sociocultural movements such as the rise and fall of benshi, Japanese imperialism, American Occupation, and postwar "new wave." All readings in the course are in English; no Japanese language skill is required though memorizing Japanese names is necessary -- some familiarity with modern Japanese history will be helpful.

Instructor: Robert Tierney

TR  02:00PM - 03:20PM221 Gregory Hall