C LIT 315 Autumn Quarter, 2008
QUESTIONS FOR READING RESPONSE #1 (DUE 9/29)
1. What are the assumptions and implications of talking about “national cinemas”?
2. What are the problems with the “national cinema” paradigm?
3. What does Benedict Anderson understand as “Imagined Communities”?
QUESTIONS FOR FILM VIEWING REPORT - In
the Heat of the Sun (DUE 10/2)
1. In what ways is In the Heat of the Sun a "Chinese film"?
2. In what ways is In the Heat of the Sun a "universal film"?
3. How is temporal disjunction manifested in the film?
FOR READING RESPONSE #3 (DUE 10/2)
1. What is the relationship between factual history and memory in In the Heat of the Sun?
2. What role does the history of cinema play in conveying that relationship?
3. What reasons can you think of for the failure of memory?
FOR READING RESPONSE #4 (DUE 10/3)
1. Describe at least three examples of aspects of visual culture other than film in Shanghai during the 1920s.
2. How was the cinema connected to other aspects of visual culture?
3. How, according to Zhang Zhen, does Laborer's Love relate to the tension between narrative and visual pleasure?
QUESTIONS FOR FILM VIEWING REPORT - Song at Midnight
1. What visual pleasures does the film emphasize?
2. What narrative elements does the film emphasize?
3. How does the film present horror?
FOR READING RESPONSE #4 (DUE 10/9)
1. How were theme songs used in the 1930s?
2. In what ways is the sound important to the narrative development in Song at Midnight?.
3. Must Song Danping die? Why?
FOR READING RESPONSE #5 (DUE 10/13)
1. Describe three novelties in the cinema of the Seventeen Years.
2. What was the Hundred Flowers Campaign and how did it affect filmmaking?
3. According to Robert Chi, what is the role of memory in revolutionary cinema?
QUESTIONS FOR FILM VIEWING REPORT - Red Detachment of Women
1. Point out three distinct strands of the plot that continue throughout the film.
2-3. What makes this an effective propaganda film, in your view?
QUESTIONS FOR READING RESPONSE #6 (DUE 10/20)
1. What was the advantage of working in a provincial studio such as the Guangxi Film Studio?
2. What elements were new and not easily acceptable in The One and the Eight?
3. How have 5th-generation directors changed with the years?
QUESTIONS FOR FILM VIEWING REPORT - Farewell My Concubine
1. How does the film fit your expectations from a 5th-generation film?
2. How does the film portray 20th-century Chinese history?
3. What is the importance of Xiaolou's scar to the relationship between him and Dieyi?
FOR READING RESPONSE #7 (DUE 10/20)
1. In what ways is Farewell a film about the nation?
2. In what ways is Farewell a film about Beijing?
3. In what ways is Farewell a film about film?
FOR READING RESPONSE #8 (DUE 10/27)
1.Why is it a mintake to identify Hong Kong cinema with action films?
2. How was 1982 a turning point in Hong Kong cinema?
3. What is the déjà disparu and how is it manifested in film?
QUESTIONS FOR FILM VIEWING REPORT - In the Mood for Love
How is mood conveyed in the film through:
FOR READING RESPONSE #9 (DUE 10/30)
1. What kind of problematic does space mark in Wong's Films?
2. Give examples of split time in Wong Kar-wai's films.
3 . Give examples of character doubling in Wong's films.
FOR READING RESPONSE #10 (DUE 11/3)
1-2. Give two examples of how urban landscape in Good Morning, Beijing and/or Black Snow acquire symbolic meanings.
3 . How do the films position China as a third-world, developing country?
QUESTIONS FOR FILM VIEWING REPORT - Black Snow (DUE
1. How does the film give a sense of space?
2. What does Beijing look like in the film?
3. Is Quanzi's death inevitable, in your view?
FOR READING RESPONSE #11 (DUE 11/10)
1. What were the reasons for the crisis in Chinese cinema in the mid-1990s?
2. How did the Chinese film industry cope with these challenges?
3 .What developments took place in Chinese film genre since the mid-1990s?
QUESTIONS FOR FILM VIEWING REPORT - Shower (DUE
1. What happened during the period that the elder son has been away from Beijing?
2. How do the locals cope with the impending urban change?
3. How do you understand the fact that the elderly residents have bought a camcorder and use it to document their neighborhood during the time of demolition?
FOR READING RESPONSE #12 (DUE 11/17)
The questions are all about the Zhang Zhen reading. The Braester reading is optional. You can also ignore the part of the Zhang Zhen reading starting in the middle of page 33.
1. What is "the urban generation"?
2. How is it related to independent filmmaking, PRC style?
3. What changes in spectatorship is it linked to?
(DUE 11/17 - NO EXTENSIONS!)
Answer the following questions about ONE of the images below.
(Song at Midnight, around 11:00; Red Detachment of Women, around 34:50)
It is highly recommended that you watch again the relevant film(s), available at the Odegaard Media Library.
• Describe the gaze of the woman in this shot. What is she looking at? Why does she look at it that way? What is the significance of this look for the film?
• Compare this shot to at least two other shots, one in the same film and one in another watched in this class. How is this shot similar to and/or different from those shots? Why?
• Base your response on your own observations of the shots, and refer also to the relevant assigned readings and their analysis of periods/directors/ideology.
• Key terms, to some of which you may want to refer: the national, the sublime, revolutionary realism, the logic of the wound, off-screen space, off-screen sound.
* For 25 points, the essay should be at least 4 pages (1,000 words) long; for 40 points, the essay should be at least 5 pages (1,250 words) long. Please make sure to use the specified font and page format. The midterm essay and final are worth 65 points together. A midterm essay 5+ pages long, but graded lower than the final, will be given 25 points (the final will then be given 40 points).
QUESTIONS FOR FILM VIEWING REPORT - documentaries (DUE
1. What does the director of Dancing with Farm Workers seem to have in mind when shooting the film?
2. What unexpected aspects come out during the shooting?
3. What relationship does the director of Home Video establish with her subjects (her family) during the shoot?
FOR READING RESPONSE #13 (DUE 11/20)
1. What is fundamentally different about DV technology?
2. How do new Chinese documentaries constitute a form of cruelty?
3. How do directors assert their presence in documentary films?
FOR READING RESPONSE #14 (DUE 11/24)
How have the following terms been understood by independent Chinese filmmakers in the past 15 year?
1. Independent filmmaking
2. The truth value of film
3. The filmmaker as an author (auteur).
QUESTIONS FOR FILM VIEWING REPORT - Still Life (DUE
1. Jia Zhangke is praised for his sense of realism. Can you understand why?
2. Is the film realistic, in your view? What may compromise the realism?
3. What, in your view, is the film's view of the Three Gorges Dam project?
FOR READING RESPONSE #15 (DUE 12/1)
1. How is realism connected to the ideology of postsocialist China?
2. What are the characteristics of Jia Zhangke's form of realism?
2. Platform marked both an intensification and a turning point in Jia's filmmaking. In what senses?
QUESTIONS FOR FILM VIEWING REPORT - The Banquet (DUE
1. In what ways is this an art-house film?
2. In what ways is this a commercial film?
3. Is this a good adaptation of Hamlet, in your view?
FOR READING RESPONSE #16 (DUE 12/4)
1. How are Feng Xiaogang's films metacinematic (cinema about cinema)?
2. What are New Year Movies (hesuipian)?
2. Based on what you can infer from the readings, how is The Banquet different from Feng's earlier films, in being set in premodern China?
(25 / 40 points*) (DUE 12/9; EXTENSIONS MUST BE PREAPPROVED!)
Answer the following questions about both of the sequences posted on line: 1 (Mpeg); 1 (DivX) and 2 (Mpeg); 2 (DivX)
Describe and explain the relationship of the character in each sequence to the environment around him. How does the camera work emphasize this aspect? What is the significance of the sequences for the respective films?
Compare the two assigned sequences. How are the sequences similar and different
from each other? To what effect?
Base your response on your own observations of the shots, and refer also to the relevant assigned readings, especially in regards to discussions of:
• Film and truthfulness
• Filmmaking and social criticism
Key terms, to some of which you should refer:
• The documentary impulse, underground film, independent film, on-the-spot realism
• Shot length, camera positioning, camera movement, off-screen space
* For a 25 points, the essay should be at least 4 pages (1,000 words) long; for a 40 points, the essay should be at least 5 pages (1,250 words) long. Please make sure to use the specified font and page format.
The midterm essay and final are worth 65 points together. If your midterm was also graded on a x/40 scale, you can choose to write a final essay under 5 pages (but at least 4 pages) and still maximize your grade. If both your midterm and final are at least 5 pages long, the best of them will be graded on a x/40 scale.