2014 Fall: Critical Approaches to East Asian Cinemas

Fall 2014

Co-teaching between Chiao Tung University and Hong Kong

Critical Approaches to East Asian Cinemas

This seminar will explore the Korean, Japanese, and Chinese-language cinemas in sociohistorical, cultural, and inter-Asian contexts. Each section on a given region or language group will focus on the issues and challenges specific that region or group, we will also examine how these systems implicate each other. The third section of the course on Chinese language cinemas will be co-taught by several leading scholars in the field. Each visiting scholar will teach one meeting of the regular Thursday morning seminar, plus an additional Wednesday afternoon session, and give a public lecture on the Tuesday of that week.

Korean Cinema

This section will be divided into two major sub-sections: Colonial and Post-Colonial. The Colonial period will feature films made under Japanese rule – both propaganda films and those with implicit subversive intentions even under scrutiny. The Post-Colonial Period will proceed through a selective survey of Korean auteurs from the 1950s to the present. While the auteur-focus might seem somewhat regressive, this is a strategy for several reasons: [1] to highlight the importance of the work of the filmmakers before the “Korean Wave”; [2] to delineate a radical continuity in Korean cinema history – against the general presumption in the West that Korean cinema began in the 1990s; [3] rather than elevating the directors to the mystification of “genius”, these names will be place markers for the intersections of history, expressive possibilities, and epistemic shifts.

Week One. The Silent Period

Film: Sweet Dream (Yang Ju-nam 1936)

Also the case history of the Pyeonsa – The Crossroads of Youth.

Readings: Chonghwa Chung and Sue Kim, “Negotiating Colonial Korean Cinema in the Japanese Empire: From the Silent Era to the Talkies, 1923-1939”Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, Volume 2, Number 1, May 2013, pp. 139-169; Richard J. Meyer, Jin Yan The Rudolph Valentino of Shanghai [excerpts]

Week Two: Contradiction in Colonial Film

Film: Military Train (Seo Gwang-je,1938); Volunteer (An Seok-yeong, 1941);

Readings: Mark Caprio, Japanese Assimilation Policies in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945.

Week Three: Resistance and Remediation

Films: Spring on the Korean Peninsula (Yi Byeong-il 1941); Hurrah for Freedom (Choi In-gyu 1946)Readings: Stephen Chung, “ Visibility, Nationality, Archive

Journal of Korean Studies, Volume 16, Number 2, Fall 2011 , pp. 193-211; Earl Jackson,

“Affective Affinities: The Politics of Excess in Korean Cinema”

Week Three: Yi Man-hui

Films: The Devil’s Staircase ; A Day Off

Readings: Jeong, Kelly. Crisis of Gender and the Nation in Korean Literature and Cinema: Modernity Arrives Again [excerpts];

Week Four: Kim Ki-young

Films: Yangsando ; The Housemaid; Woman Chases a Killer Butterfly.

Kim Soyoung, “Modernity in Suspense”; Chris Berry: “Meet Mr. Monster”; Earl Jackson, “Subjectivity and Representation in Korean Cinema: Two Case Histories”

Week Five: Hong Sang-soo

Films: The Day the Pig Fell into the Well; In Another Country

Kyung Hyun Kim , “Death, Eroticism, and Virtual Nationalism in the Films of Hong SangsooAzalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture, Volume 3, 2010 , pp. 135-169 ; Youngmin Choe, “ Transitional Emotions: Boredom and Distraction in Hong Sang-su's Travel Films ” Korean Studies, Volume 33, 2009, pp. 1-28

Week Six: Yi Chang-dong and Pak Chan-wook

Films: Peppermint Candy ; Old Boy

Kim Soyoung, “Don’t Include me in US”; Todd McGowan, “ Affirmation of the Lost Object:Peppermint Candy and the End of Progress ” symploke, Volume 15, Numbers 1-2, 2007, pp. 170-189Joseph Jonghyun Jeon, “Residual Selves: Trauma and Forgetting in Park Chan-wook's Oldboy positions: east asia cultures critique, Volume 17, Number 3, Winter 2009, pp. 713-740 Earl Jackson, “Borrowing Trouble: Old Boy as Adaptation and Intervention.”


Week Seven. Kim Ki-duk

Films: 3-Iron; Breath; Moebius.

Readings: Steve Choe, “ Kim Ki-duk's Cinema of Cruelty: Ethics and Spectatorship in the Global Economy positions: east asia cultures critique, Volume 15, Number 1, Spring 2007 , pp. 65-90; Hye Seung Chung, Kim Ki-duk [excerpts]


Week Eight. Japanese Cinema – Colonial Period

Films: Atarashiki Tsuchi (Itami Mansaku and Arnold Franck 1936);

Sayon’s Bell (Shimizu Hiroshi 1943).

Readings: Between Ideology and Spectatorship: The "Ethnic Harmony" of the Manchuria Motion Picture Corporation, 1937-1945 Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review , Volume 2, Number 1, May 2013 , pp. 116-138. ; Alan Tansman, ed The Culture of Japanese Fascism [excerpts]


Week Nine. The Aftermath

Films: Carmen Comes Home (Kinoshita Keisuke 1952): The Tragedy of Japan (Kinoshita Keisuke 1953);

Readings: Harry Harootunian, History’s Disquiet [excerpts] selections from Japanese film theorists, translated Earl Jackson.


Week Ten. Japanese New Wave I.

Films: Black Test Car (Masumura Yasuzo 1963); Gishiki (Oshima Nagisa 1969) Readings: Writings by Masumura and Oshima, trans. Earl Jackson.


Week Eleven. The Underground

Films: A Season of Violence (Wakamatsu 1969); AKA: Serial Killer (Adachi Masao 1969) Readings: Furuhata Yuriko, Cinema of Actuality: Japanese Avant-garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics. [excerpts]


Week Twelve. Japan and Asia – the New Ambivalence

Films: World Apartment Horror (Otomo Katsuhiro 1991); Swallowtail (Iwai Shunji 1995); Readings: Aaron Gerow, “Consuming Asia, Consuming Japan: The New Nationalist Revision in Japan” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars; Yomoda Inuhiko, “Stranger than Tokyo”; Earl Jackson, “Entertaining Otherness: Strategies of Difference in Contemporary Japanese Cinema”


Weeks 13-17. Chinese Language Cinemas. Co-taught.

Esther Yau. University of Hong Kong, Topic: “Trauma Memory and Testimony in Chinese Language Films”

Esther Cheung , University of Hong Kong, Topic: Crisis and Topography in Hong Kong Urban Films .

Tan See Kam. University of Macau, Topic: TBA

Lim Song-Hwee, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Topic: TBA

Gina Marchetti, University of Hong Kong. Topic: TBA