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? The course surveys the 100-year history of Chinese cinema, from the melodramas of the 1930s to the hard-hitting documentaries of recent years.

The course offers 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.




Hours: MTTh 3:30 - 5:20
Classroom:MGH 295
5 credits


Instructor:†† Yomi Braester
  office: C-504 Padelford
  office hours: MTh 2:30- 3:20 and by appointment
  e-mail: yomi@u.washington.edu


Course Description
Grading Components
Policies and Procedures
Class Schedule


Students will submit a typed reading response in each class, based on the questions (at least one paragraph on each question).

Reading responses 16 x  1.5 24
Film responses 10 x 1.5 15
Midterm (film analysis) paper   25

Final (research) paper:

Participation bonus   5

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.

readings are available at https://eres.lib.washington.edu/eres/coursepage.aspx?cid=6630

Class Schedule (subject to change)

Thursday, 9/25 Introduction
Monday, 9/29 Traditions and transitions in Chinese cinema; beginning of screening In the Heat of the Sun  
  Reading #1: Berry and Farquhar, "Introduction" and "Time and the National" (in China on Screen)
Tuesday, 9/30 Screening:  In the Heat of the Sun (1994; 134 mins) In the Heat of the Sun
Thursday, 10/2 History and identity in In the Heat of the Sun
  Viewing report due
Reading #2: Braester, "Memory at a Standstill: From Maohistory to Hooligan History" (in Witness against History)
Monday, 10/6 The beginnings of Chinese cinema; screening of Laborer's Love
  Reading #3: Zhang Zhen, "Worldly Shanghai, Metropolitan Spectators" and "Teahouse, Shadowplay, and Laborer's Love" (in An Amourous History of the Silver Screen)  
Tuesday, 10/7 Screening:  Song at Midnight (1937; 113 mins)
Thursday, 10/9 The revolutionary unconcscious: Song at Midnight
  Viewing report due
Reading #4
: Zhang Zhen, "Song at Midnight" (in An Amorous History of the Silver Screen)
Monday, 10/13 Screening:

Red Detachment of Women (1961; 115 mins)

Tuesday, 10/14 The logic of the wound: Red Detachment of Women
  Reading #5: Clark, "Beyond Shanghai" (in Chinese Cinema); Chi, "The Red Detachment of Women: Resenting, Regendering, Remembering"
Thursday, 10/16 NO CLASS
Monday, 10/20 The fifth-generation revolution; beginning of screening Farewell My Concubine
  Reading #6: Ni Zhen, "Graduation" and "Postscript" (in Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy)
Tuesday, 10/21 Screening:

Farewell My Concubine (1993; 171 mins)

Thursday, 10/23 Nationalism and localism: Farewell My Concubine
  Reading #7: Braester, "Farewell My Concubine: National Myth and City Memories"
Monday, 10/27 Hong Kong: no cinema is an island
  Reading #8: Abbas, "The New Hong Kong Cinema and the deja disparu" (in Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance)
Tuesday, 10/28 Screening:

In the Mood for Love (2000; 98 mins)

Thursday, 10/30 Sculpting in time: In the Mood for Love
  Reading #9: Abbas, "Wong Kar-wai: Hong Kong Filmmaker" (in Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance)
Monday, 11/3 Urban Cinema and New Urban Cinema ; writing workshop
  Reading #10: Xiaobing Tang, "In Search of the Real City" (in Chinese Modern)
Tuesday, 11/4 Screening:

Black Snow (107 mins)

Thursday, 11/6 NO CLASS
Monday, 11/10 China goes WTO

  Reading #11: Zhu, "Post-Wave" (in Chinese Cinema during the Era of Reform)
Tuesday, 11/11 Veterans' Day: NO CLASS
Thursday, 11/13  Screening: 

Zhang Yang, Shower (1999; 92 mins)


Monday, 11/17

Urban Trouble


  Reading #12: Zhang Zhen, "Bearing Witness: Chinese Urban Cinema in the Era of 'Transformation'"; Braester, "Tracing the City's Scars" (in Zhang, The Urban Generation)
Tuesday, 11/18  Screening:

Yang Lina, Home Video (2001; 64 mins);
Wu Wenguang, Dancing with Farmworkders (2001; 57 mins)

Thursday, 11/20 The New Documentary Movement
  Reading #13: Yiman Wang, "The Amateurís Lightning Rod: DV Documentary in Postsocialist China"; "Robinson, "Contingency and Event in China's New Documentary Movement"

Monday, 11/24

Independent cinema


  Reading #14: Pickowicz, "Social and Political Dynamics of Underground Filmmaking in China"; Yingjin Zhang, "My Camera Doesn't Lie?" (in From Underground to Independent)
Tuesday, 11/25 Screening: 

Jia Zhangke, Still Life (1006; 111 mins)




Monday, 12/1

Jia Zhangke: the emergence of an autueur


  Reading #15: McGrath, "The Independent Cinema of Jia Zhangke" (in Zhang, The Urban Generation)
Tuesday, 12/2 Screening:

The Banquet (2006; 131 mins)

Thursday, 12/4 The new cool


  Reading #16: McGrath, "New Year's Films" (in Postsocialist Modernity)
Tuesday, 12/9 Final paper due