In the last fifteen years, Chinese films have regularly won important awards in international film festivals. Who are the major filmmakers, actors and producers? How can the recent success be traced to the Chinese film industry that has thrived since 1905? What are some of the critical terms often used in conjunction with Chinese cinema? Full-feature screenings as well as extensive clips, mostly from rare films, will allow us to examine the history of Chinese cinemas in the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
link to take-home essay



Hours: MW 3:30 - 4:50; F 3:30 - 6:20
Classroom:MGH 238
5 credits


Instructor:†† Yomi Braester
office: C-504 Padelford
office hours: MW 4:50- 5:30 and by appointment
e-mail: yomi@u.washington.edu
course website: http://faculty.washington.edu/yomi/Chinese%20Cinema.html


message board
Film Links

Course Description
Grading Components
Policies and Procedures
Class Schedule


The course offers a survey of Chinese cinema, from the 1920s to the present day. Equal emphasis will be laid on narrative themes, cinematic technique, and cultural background. No previous knowledge of cinema studies is required, but students are encouraged to read an introductory book such as Film Art by Bordwell and Thompson or The Art of Movie-Making by Peacock. Grading includes a large component of writing. If you want to talk about any matter related to the course, please take advantage of my office hours. Iím here for you.


Students will submit a typed reading response in each class, based on the questions (at least one paragraph on each question). Time will be given at the end of each class to modify the answers accordig to class discussion. Two quizzes will be administered, based on the readings and class discussion. A take-home 3-page essay on a pre-assigned topic will take place at mid-term. A one-page paper outline and a 5-page final paper, which must engage topics and texts discussed in class, are due toward the end of the term.

Consult here on topics for final papers (will be updated)


Reading responses 14 x  3 (each part 0.75) = 42
Quizzes  2 x 10 = 20
Take-home essay   15
Paper outline:   3

Final paper:


Sorry -- no second screenings can be arranged.† All assignments must be printed, double-spaced, font size 12, with numbered pages, and stapled together. The course emphasizes good writing ó if you feel unconfident about your writing, please contact the writing workshop. Late submissions must be pre-approved by the instructor.The course adheres to UWís rules on plagiarism (see http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/honesty.htm).Students with disabilities are encouraged to inform me, and Iíll do my best to provide suitable accommodations.

All required readings are included in the packet, and the books from which they are extracted are on reserve at the relevant library.


Class Schedule (subject to change)
Wednesday, 1/3 Chinese cinemas: an introduction
Film clips shown in class
Lumiere et Compagnie
Friday, 1/5 SCREENING Jiang Wen, In the Heat of the Sun In the Heat of the Sun
Monday, 1/8 Chinese film: cinema, narrative, culture
  Reading: Rey Chow, "Introduction," in Writing Diaspora  questions
  Film clips shown in class
Wednesday, 1/10 Chinese cinema -- Third cinema or transnational cinema?
  Reading: Roy Armes, Part I inThird World Film Making and the West  questions
  Film clips shown in class
texts discussed in class
Friday, 1/12 SCREENING Wu Yonggang, Goddess

Full script
Monday, 1/15 MLK DAY - NO CLASS
Wednesday, 1/17 The Shanghai days
  Reading: Rothman, "The Goddess: Reflections on Melodrama East and West," in Wimal Dissanayake, Melodrama and Asian Cinema.  questions
  Film clips shown in class
Friday, 1/19 SCREENING

Zheng Junli, Crows and Sparrows

Monday, 1/22 The myth of a woman: Ruan Lingyu
  Reading: Kristin Harris, "The New Woman  Incident," in Sheldon Lu, Transnational Chinese Cinemas; Lu Xun, "Gossip is a Fearful Thing"  questions
  Film clips shown in class
Wednesday, 1/24 Early film - conclusion
  No reading
  Film clips shown in class
Friday, 1/26 SCREENING

Xie Jin, The Opium War

Opium War
Monday, 1/29 A new cinema for a new China
  Reading: Gina Marchetti, Two Stage Sisters: The Blossoming of a Revolutionary Aesthetic," in Transnational Chinese Cinemas  questions
  Film clips shown in class
Wednesday, 1/31 Film through the 1980s; Xie Jin
  Reading: Paul Clark, "Two Hundred Flowers on Chinaís Screens"; Zhang and Li , "The Modernization of Film Language"; Xie, "My View of the Concept of Film"  questions
  Film clips shown in class
Friday, 2/2 SCREENING

Zhang Yimou, Red Sorghum

Red Sorghum
Monday, 2/5 The cinematic revolution of the Fifth Generation
  Reading: Xudong Zhang, "Ideology and Utopia in Zhang Yimouís Red Sorghum"  questions
  Film clips shown in class
Wednesday, 2/7 Nationalism and globalism in late Fifth Generation films
  Reading: Ann Kaplan, "Reading Formations and Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine," in Lu, Transnational Chinese Cinemas   questions
  Film clips shown in class
Friday, 2/9 SCREENING

Chen Kaige, The Emperor and the Assassin

Emperor and Assassin
Monday, 2/12 Alternative national identities
  Reading: Berry, "A Nation T(w/o)o: Chinese Cinema(s) and Nationahood(s)"  questions
  Quiz #1
  Take-home essay assigned
  Film clips shown in class
Wednesday, 2/14 Cinematic cityscapes
  Reading: Tang, "Configuring the Modern Space: Cinematic Representations of Beijing and Its Politics."  questions
  Film clips shown in class
Friday, 2/16 SCREENING

Ts'ai Ming-liang , Vive L'amour

Vive l'amour
Wednesday, 2/21 Hong Kong as an allegory
  Reading: Anne Ciecko, "Transnational Action," in Transnational Chinese Cinemas; Abbas, "The New Hong Kong Cinema and the deja disparu"  questions
  Take-home essay due
  Film clips shown in class
Friday, 2/23 SCREENING

Peter Chan, Comrades, Almost a Love Story

Monday, 2/26 Nostalgia for a cinema for China
  Reading: Dai Jinhua, "Imagined Nostalgia," in Boundary 2  24: 3  questions
  paper outlines due
  Film clips shown in class
Wednesday, Chinese movies go cool: The Sixth Generation
2/28 Reading: Chen Xiaoming, "The Mysterious Other: Postpolitics in Chinese Film," in Boundary 2  24: 3  questions
  paper outlines returned

Quiz #2

  Film clips shown in class

Friday, 3/2


Feng Xiaogang, The Dream Factory

Dream Factory
Monday, 3/5 SCREENING

Wang Xiaoshuai , Frozen  (part I)

  Reading: Paul Clark, "Ethnic Minorities in Chinese Films: Cinema and the Exotic"  questions
Wednesday, 3/7 SCREENING

Wang Xiaoshuai , Frozen  (part II)

  No reading
Friday, 3/9 SCREENING

Zhang Yuan, Behind the Forbidden City  

Monday, 3/12 Final paper due