China on Screen
Thursdays 9:30 am-1:15 pm
Dr. Abraham OVERBEEKE
Many 20th century Chinese films were concerned with issues of nationhood, identity, trauma, and a national past. In recent years, however, while some directors have continued to focus on the nation’s past, others have chosen to look at the present and the effects of globalization on Chinese society and culture. This course asks that students begin to understand Chinese cinema(s) as transnational, a triangular composite of Mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong cinema that has also been influenced by Hollywood, Japanese and Korean cinema, amongst others. Students will be introduced to Chinese film history and criticism via an examination of eleven films directed by some of Greater China’s most skilled directors.
Week 1: 11 January Introduction
Berry, Chris. “Transnational Chinese Cinema Studies.” In The Chinese Cinema Book, edited by Song Hwee Lim and Julian Ward, 9-16. London: British Film Institute, 2011.
Week 2: 18 January The Goddess (1934)
Harris, Kristine. “The Goddess: Fallen Woman of Shanghai.” In Chinese Films in Focus: 25 New Takes, edited by Chris Berry, 111-19. London: British Film Institute, 2003.
*Hansen, Miriam Bratu. “Fallen Women, Rising Stars, New Horizons: Shanghai Silent Film as Vernacular Modernism.” Film Quarterly 54, no. 1 (Autumn 2000): 10-22.
Week 3: 25 January Spring in a Small Town (1948)
Daruvala, Susan. “The Aesthetics and Moral Politics of Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town.” Journal of Chinese Cinemas 1, no. 3 (2007): 171-187.
*Pickowicz, Paul G. “Chinese Film-making on the Eve of the Communist Revolution.” In The Chinese Cinema Book, edited by Song Hwee Lim and Julian Ward, 76-84. London: British Film Institute, 2011.
*FitzGerald, Carolyn. “Spring in a Small Town: Gazing at Ruins.” In Chinese Films in Focus II, edited by Chris Berry, 205-11. Basingstoke/New York: BFI/Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
Week 4: 1 February Two Stage Sisters (1964)
Marchetti, Gina. “Two Stage Sisters: The Blossoming of a Revolutionary Aesthetic.” In Transnational Chinese Cinemas: Identity, Nationhood, Gender, edited by Sheldon Hsiao-peng Lu, 59-80. Honolulu: U of Hawai’i P, 1997.
*Clark, Paul. “Artists, Cadres, and Audiences: Chinese Socialist Cinema, 1949-1978.” In A Companion to Chinese Cinema, edited by Yingjin Zhang, 42-56. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
***Monday 5 February Assignment 1 Due (REQUIRED!)***
Week 5: 8 February A Better Tomorrow (1986)
Stringer, Julian. “‘Your Tender Smiles Give Me Strength’: Paradigms of Masculinity in John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow and The Killer.” Screen 38, no. 1 (Spring 1997): 25-41.
*Bordwell, David. Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment. 2nd ed. Madison: Irvington Way Institute Press, 2011. 60-71.
Week 6: 22 February Dust in the Wind (1986)
Lupke, Christopher. The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien: Culture, Style, Voice and Motion. Amherst: Cambria Press, 2016. 153-67.
*Bordwell, David. Figures Traced in Light: On Cinematic Staging. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. 186-214.
***Monday 26 February Assignment 2 Due***
Week 7: 29 February Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
Larson, Wendy. “The Fifth Generation: A Reassessment.” In The Chinese Cinema Book, edited by Song Hwee Lim and Julian Ward, 113-21. Basingstoke: British Film Institute/Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
*Lu, Sheldon Hsiao-peng. “National Cinema, Cultural Critique, Transnational Capital: The Films of Zhang Yimou.” In Transnational Chinese Cinemas: Identity, Nationhood, Gender, edited by Sheldon Hsiao-peng Lu, 105-36. Honolulu: U of Hawai’i P, 1997.
Week 8: 14 March Chungking Express (1994)
Teo, Stephen. Wong Kar-wai. London: BFI Pub., 2005. 47-64.
*Abbas, Ackbar. “The New Hong Kong Cinema and the Deja Disparu.” In Asian Cinemas: A Reader & Guide, edited by Dimitris Eleftheriotis and Gary Needham, 72-99. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2006.
***Monday 18 March Assignment 3 Due***
Week 9: 21 March Devils on the Doorstep (2000)
Ward, Julian. “Filming the Anti-Japanese War: The Devils and Buffoons of Jiang Wen’s Guizi Laile.” New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film 2, no. 2 (2004): 107-118.
Week 10: 28 March Still Life (2006)
McGrath, Jason. “The Independent Cinema of Jia Zhangke: From Postsocialist Realism to a Transnational Aesthetic.” In The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century, edited by Zhang Zhen, 81-114. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.
***Wednesday 3 April Short Assignment 4 Due***
Week 11: 11 April Drug War (2012)
Fan, Victor. “Cultural Extraterritoriality: Intra-Regional Politics in Contemporary Hong Kong Cinema.” East Asian Journal of Popular Culture 1, no. 3 (2015): 389-402.
*Bordwell, David. Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment. 2nd ed. Madison: Irvington Way Institute Press, 2011. 251-64.
Week 12: 18 April Yi Yi (2000)
Chen, Leo Chanjen. “The Frustrated Architect: The Cinema of Edward Yang.” New Left Review 11 (Sep 2001): 115-28.
*Davis, Darrell William. “Second Coming: The Legacy of Taiwan New Cinema.” In A Companion to Chinese Cinema, edited by Yingjin Zhang, 133-150. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
***Friday 3 May Final Assignment Due***
Assessment & Assignments
Short assignments 50%
Final Take-Home Assignment 40%
Honesty in Academic Work
Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/policy/academichonesty/. With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of the policies, regulations and procedures.