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Japanese cinema

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East Asian Studies 117-362A


FALL 1997 — WED. 14:00 - 17:00

Instructor: Thomas LAMARRE

Office: 3434 McTavish Street #405

Office Hours: Tuesday 13:00 - 15:00 or by appointment.
Objectives: This course will introduce Japanese cinema, its styles and history. In part one, readings and discussions will center on the formal analysis of cinema, in conjunction with examples from various films. Finally, we will consider the limitations of formal analysis, and in part two, turn to films by major Japanese directors, in order to introduce some approaches to historical and cultural analysis.
Methodology: Initially we will focus our attention on how to analyze film form and style. Students are expected to read the text thoroughly before coming to class, in order to discuss it, and to apply it to clips from various films to be shown in class. Subsequently we will watch entire films and discuss them in relation to the readings.
Readings: The major text for formal analysis will be David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson's Film Art: An Introduction 5th ed. (McGraw-Hill, 1997). It is available at Paragraphe Bookstore. The other readings will be available in a course packet at Copie 2000.
Evaluation: 20% Participation

20% Project (due September 24)

20% Paper (due November 12)

40% Final Paper (due December 8)

September 3 Introduction
Bordwell and Thompson Ch. 1-2
September 10 Film Form
Bordwell and Thompson Ch. 3-5
September 17 Film Style
Bordwell and Thompson Ch. 6-8
September 24 Film Style
Bordwell and Thompson Ch. 9-10
October 1 Ozu

Film: Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu).

—Bordwell and Thompson on "Tokyo Story" (in Ch. 11).

—Tadao Sato, "Ozu," from Currents in Japanese Cinema (Weatherhill, 1982), 185-193.

—David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, "Space and Narrative in the Films of Ozu," Screen (Summer 1976), 41-73.

—Kristin Thompson, "Notes on the Spatial Systems of Ozu's Early Films," Wide Angle

October 8 To the Distant Observer
—Noel Burch, "Ozu Yasujiro," from To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in the Japanese cinema (University of California, 1979).

—Abé Mark Nornes, "Notes for Noel Burch's To the Distant Observer,"

—J. Murphy, "Japanese Film as a Critique of Hollywood Realist Narrative Cinema,"

—Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, "The Difficulty of Being Radical," boundary 2 18:3 (Fall 1991), 242-257.

October 15 Silent Film and Japan in the '20's

Film: Sanji Goto (Thomas Kurihara).

—Bordwell and Thompson, Ch. 12

—Hiroshi Komatu, "Some Characteristics of Japanese Cinema Before World War I," in Reframing Japanese Cinema, ed. Arthur Nolletti, Jr. and David Desser (Indiana University Press, 1992).

—J. L. Anderson, "Spoken Silents in the Japanese Cinema," in Reframing Japanese Cinema.

—Kenji Iwamoto, "Sound in the Early Japanese Talkies," Reframing Japanese Cinema.

October 22 Mizoguchi and the 1930's and 1940's.
Film: Five Women around Utamaro (Kenji Mizoguchi).

—Donald Richie and J. L. Anderson, "Kenji Mizoguchi," in Sight and Sound 25:2 (Autumn 1955), 277-90.

—David Bordwell, "A Cinema of Flourishes," Reframing Japanese Cinema.

—David Bordwell, "Mizoguchi and the Evolution of Film Language," in Cinema and Language, ed. Stephen Heath and Patricia Mellencamp (University Publications of America, 1983).

—Dudley Andrew, "Ways of Seeing Japanese Prints and Films: Mizoguchi's Utamaro," in Cinematic Landscapes, ed. Linda Ehrlich and David Desser (University of Texas Press, 1994).

—Donald Kirihira, "'L'assimilation Mizoguchi/Utamaro est évidente': Five Women around Utamaro and the U. S. Occupation of Japan," East West Film Journal 8:1 (January 1994), 3-23.

—Angela Dalle Vacche, "Kenji Mizoguchi's Five Women Around Utamaro," from Cinema and Painting (University of Texas Press, 1996.
October 29 War and Cinema
Film: Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa).

—Tadao Sato, "Japanese War Films," from Currents in Japanese Cinema.

—John Dower, "Japanese Cinema Goes to War," from Japan in War and Peace (New Press, 1993).

—Kyoko Hirano, "From War to Occupation," from Mr. Smith Goes to Tokyo (Smithsonian Institute, 1992).

—Darrell William Davis, " Approaching the Monumental Style" and "Two Cultures and the Japanese Period Film," from Picturing Japaneseness (Columbia University Press, 1996).

—Donald Richie, "Yojimbo," from The Films of Akira Kurosawa 3rd ed. (University of California Press, 1996).

November 5 Oshima and Sexual Politics
Film: Cruel Story of Youth (Nagisa Oshima).

—David Desser, "Cruel Stories of Youth," from Eros Plus Massacre (Indiana University Press, 1988).

—Catherine Russell, "Oshima Nagisa: The Limits of Nationhood," from Narrative Mortality (University of Minnesota Press, 1995).

—Nagisa Oshima, "Creation and Destruction of the Japanese Cinema," from Cinema, Censorship, and the State (MIT Press, 1992).

—Alan Casebier, "Oshima in Contemporary Theoretical Perspective," Wide Angle 9.2 (1987), 4-17.
November 12 Drama and Melodrama
Film: An Actor's Revenge (Ishikawa Kon)

—Ian Breakwell, An Actor's Revenge(British Film Institute, 1995).

—Keiko McDonald, "Kabuki Stage and An Actor's Revenge," from Japanese Classical Theatre in Film (Associated University Presses, 1994).

—Susan Sontag, "Theatre and Film," from Styles of Radical Will (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1969).

—Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, "Melodrama, postmodernism, and Japanese cinema," in Melodrama and Asian Cinema, ed. Wimal Dissanayake (Cambridge University Press, 1993).

—Scott Nygren, "Inscribing the Subject: The melodramatization of gender in An Actor's Revenge," in Melodrama and Asian Cinema.

November 19 Naruse and Women's Cinema.
Film: Late Chrysanthemums (Mikio Naruse).

—Audie Bock, "Mikio Naruse," from Japanese Film Directors (Kodansha International, 1980).

—Noël Carroll, "The Image of Women in Film," from Theorizing the Moving Image (Cambridge University Press, 1996).

—Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," in Movies and Methods 2, ed. Bill Nichols (University of California Press, 1985).

—D. N. Rodowick, "The Difficulty of Difference," from The Difficulty of Difference (Routledge, 1995).

—Theresa de Laurentis, "Rethinking Women's Cinema: Aesthetics and Feminist Theory," in Issues in Feminist Film Criticism, ed. Patricia Erens (Indiana University Press, 1990).

—Jane Gaines, "White Privilege and Looking Relations: Race and Gender in Feminist Film Theory," in Multiple Voices in Feminist Film Criticism (University of Minnesota Press, 1994).

November 26 Comedy and Itami Jûzo
Film: Minbo, or the Gentle Art of Japanese Exortion (Juzo Itami).

—Jeffery Sipe, "Death and Taxes," Sight and Sound 58:3 (Summer 1989), 186-9.

—Ian Buruma, "Humor in Japanese Cinema," East West Film Journal 2:1 (December 1987), 26-31.

—Gregory Barrett, "Comic Targets and Comic Styles: An Introduction to Japanese Film Comedy," in in Reframing Japanese Cinema.

December 3 T.B.A

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