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FLM 121 — Masterpieces of Asian Cinema: An Introduction to the Auteurs of India, China, and Japan

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 7 weeks
Date(s): Jun 27—Aug 15
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Jul 17
Unit: 1
Tuition: $355
Instructor(s): Jonathan Crow
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on July 4
6:30—9:00 pm
Jun 27—Aug 15
7 weeks
Drop By
Jul 17
1 Unit
Jonathan Crow
Please Note: No class on July 4
The history of film, as it is usually taught, is filled with masterpieces from Hollywood and Europe, but it tends to overlook great filmmakers from non-Western countries. This course will focus on transformative filmmakers from East and South Asia. We will start with Japan, the first Asian country to get critical attention from the West, where we will explore the work of Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, and other directors. Then we will look at the complex film culture of India, delving into both Bollywood spectaculars and the parallel cinema masterworks of Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak. Finally, we will turn to the trifurcated tradition of Chinese cinema. Here, students will encounter fifth-generation auteurs like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige along with later filmmakers like Jia Zhangke; the vibrant, kinetic films of Hong Kong—from the kung fu epics of King Hu and Jackie Chan, to the balletic ultra-violence of John Woo and the swooningly romantic films of Wong Kar-wai; and finally the unfairly overlooked art cinema of Taiwan, particularly the masterpieces by Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Edward Yang. Students will come away from this course with a sense of not only the rapidly changing cultures of these Asian nations but also their rich cinematic tradition.

Students will watch assigned films outside of class. All films can be purchased or rented on DVD, and most can be streamed instantly through Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play Movies, and other online providers.

Jonathan Crow, Writer; Filmmaker

Jonathan Crow has worked in film production in Hollywood and Japan and has taught film at the University of Michigan and the New York Film Academy. He has also written about cinema for Yahoo Movies, The Hollywood Reporter, Open Culture, and other publications. He received an MFA in film/video from the California Institute of the Arts and an MA in Japanese studies from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.