This course takes a two-pronged approach to the study of Japanese film. On one side is “the canon” – the classic list of Japanese films esteemed by critics and frequently featured in university courses like this one. On the other side are “pop” films – cult movies, B-pictures, and blockbusters that were popular with the average Japanese moviegoer throughout the decades. Through assigned readings and weekly film screenings of both canonic and cult films, we will examine the reflexive role cinema played in Japan’s changing socio-political identity during the 20th and early 21st centuries, while at the same time positioning Japanese cinema vis-à-vis filmmaking traditions from Hollywood and other national cinemas.
Through lectures, film viewings and writing assignments, students will learn to:
Recognize the work of important filmmakers, genres, and movements in the history of Japanese cinema; and to critically think about the place of such works in the broader socio-historical context of modern Japan
Analyze cinema’s role as both a reflection and a creative agent of Japanese cultural identity
Critically evaluate cinematic depictions of traditional Japanese culture (such as the samurai and geisha) and their allegorical meaning(s) for modern movie audiences.
Consider the limits and usefulness of the category of “national cinemas” in general and “Japanese cinema” in particular, and engage with Japanese filmic works in terms of both domestic and global markets, audiences, and reception
Consider how differences between Japanese films made with an eye to foreign distribution versus films made for popular domestic consumption impact content and production
Critically discuss and analyze film, both in written and oral presentation
Identify filmmaking techniques and styles using the terminology of film studies
Mode of instruction
Paper (approximately 2,000 words): 50%
Written Examination with short open questions: 50%
The final mark for the course is the weighted average of the paper and the written examination. Students must score a minimum passing mark of 6.0 on the paper to pass the course.
There will be a 2nd resit deadline for paper submissions.
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
Sikov, Ed. Film Studies: An Introduction (Film and Culture Series). 2nd ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020).
All other assigned readings will be made available via Brightspace.
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.
Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs