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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Part IB | Option

Course Description

This course provides students with the opportunity to explore the film traditions of East Asia and the Middle East through a number of possible themes, including modernity, identity and nation, and genre. These broad concerns encompass common themes of comparative significance, such as gender, city and countryside, love, marriage, and family and violence and are expressed in genres such as melodrama.

Cinema was the major globalizing cultural medium of 20th-century modernity, at once transnational and yet deeply embedded in the lived experience of particular societies. East Asian and Middle Eastern countries have developed indigenous and independent film industries since the very early days of cinema, and film has played an important role in the cultural imagination of the different modern nations. The importance of cinema has, if anything, increased in this new century of the internet and a wide area of electronic means of conveying, storing, consuming (and stealing) moving images. All have combined to significantly broaden access to film and film culture for individuals and audiences around the world. Apart from being a subject of study in its own right, film can be an invaluable adjunct to the study of literature and history. It can offer a window on social reality and visual culture, and, like literature, can pose new questions or offer new perspectives. Finally, although this is not a language-based course, it can offer as by-product a record of living voices exercising the widest range of linguistic expression for students working with films from the area of their specialisation.

Students will be given access to a range of interesting classic and less well-known films while developing the skills and vocabulary to perform good cinematic analysis. Secondary readings and lectures will help to familiarise students with the historical, social, political and cultural contexts behind each film and thus deepen their understanding and appreciation for the films discussed.

Terms taught
Michaelmas, Lent
Michaelmas, Lent