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From the swashbuckling samurai films of Kurosawa and delicate family dramas of Ozu to edgy cinematic experiments and a breathtaking range of animation, Japan has one of the most varied and exciting film traditions in the world. This course will introduce you to major periods, genres, and directors in that tradition. We will read film criticism that represents a range of approaches, but we’ll focus particularly on learning and practicing the kind of close visual analysis that will allow you to build your own original descriptions of how a given scene “works.” Throughout the course we will consider the relationship between classic cinema and popular genres like sword flicks, melodramas, psychological thrillers, and anime, focusing particularly on directors whose work seems to borrow equally from genre film and the artistic avant-garde. All texts are translated or subtitled. All levels welcome.
Format: lecture; This class will have a hybrid format: on-campus students will meet in a classroom during the scheduled class slot (observing campus distancing protocols), while off-campus students participate simultaneously via Zoom. Off-campus students must be able to Zoom in during the scheduled class times.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
attendance & participation, a few short response assignments, two 5-page papers, in-class test
students majoring or considering a major in comparative literature
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
FMST Core Courses