C LIT 271A (11723 + 11724 -11731)
Perspectives on Film: Great Directors

Film Director Zhang Yimou
The mastermind behind the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, Zhang Yimou, gained world fame for his martial arts movies, Hero and House of Flying Daggers. Twenty years earlier, Zhang was among the pioneers of the new Chinese cinema, with great works such as Raise the Red Lantern. The course follows the trajectory of one of the world’s most fascinating filmmakers and asks, What makes a great director?
Hours (LEctures and Screenings:
MTWTh 1:30-3:20*
and one hour on Friday (varies)
Classroom: KNE 220

Friday classroom varies
5 credits

*NOTE ON MEETING TIME: Most meetings will take 90 minutes; screenings may run over 90 minutes
Instructor Yomi Braester: yomi@u
Teaching assistants:

AA 11724 11:30-12:20 MGH 228 Treza Rosado: tjrosado@u
AB 11725 10:30-11:20 MGH 074 Anagha Kulkarni: ak102@u
AE 11728 12:30-1:20 MGH 284
Donghee Han: dhhan@u
AI 11731 1:30-2:20 SAVE 162 Kathy Morrow: kjmorrow@u

office: C-504 Padelford
office hours:
Yomi Braester : TTh 3:30-4:30 and by appointment. Students should email Yomi in advance to ensure his presence.
Donghee Han MTh 3:30-4:30 Communications B015
Anagha Kulkarni Th 12.30-1.15, 3.30-4.15 Allen Library Research Commons.
Kathy Morrow M 3:30-5:30 Communications B015
Treza Rosado T 3:30-5:30Paccar Hall coffee shop.




All assignments must be completed and handed in on time. Students are very strongly advised to attend all lectures and discussion sections. They are also encouraged to attend the scheduled in-class screenings. The main component of homework consists of viewing each film before the relevant lectures and discussion.
Written assignments:
     (1) In-class Quizzes: After each lecture students write a response on issues discussed in class . During the term each student should hand in 17 quizzes out of 19.*
    (2) First paper: a 600-word essay on an assigned frame.
    (3) Second paper: a 900-word essay on an assigned shot.
    (4) Third paper: a 1,200-word essay on an assigned sequence.

    * Two quizzes may be skipped without penalty for any reason. For excusing any other absences, official documentation must be presented. No make-up quizzes will be administered.

Grading components

in-class responses (17 x 2) 34
First paper (frame analysis)     10
Second paper (shot analysis)     20
Third paper (sequence analysis)     30
participation     6

Policies and Procedures

      Late submissions will be accepted only when the students can demonstrate circumstances beyond their control.
      The essays must be typed. To ensure a standard length, please make sure to use Times New Roman font, size 12, double-spaced, with page margins not exceeding 1.25 inches on each side. The word count must appear at the end of the paper.
      The course adheres strictly to UWs rules on plagiarism.
      Students with disabilities are encouraged to inform the instructor, who will do his best to provide the relevant accommodations.

Readings available through workspace links and links on this page
Lectures will be streamed at http://www.css.washington.edu/course/CLIT271A
Films, on reserve at the Odegaard Media Center:
- Happy Times (2000, 102 mins)
- Hero
(2002, 99 mins)
- Ju Dou
(1990, 95 mins)
- Lifetimes (1994, 125 mins)
- Not One Less
(1999, 106 mins)
- Raise the Red Lantern (1991, 125 mins)
- Red Sorghum
(1987, 91 mins)
- The Road Home
- Shanghai Triad
(1995, 103 mins)
- The Story of Qiuju (1992, 110 mins)

CLASS SCHEDULE (subject to change)

week 1

Monday, 1/7
Zhang Yimou: a success story (quiz 1)
Tuesday, 1/8

Screening: Film trailers and Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympics
The film trailers can be viewed here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Wednesday, 1/9


Thursday, 1/10

How to read a film? What is a director? (quiz 2)
Read for today: (1) Ni Zhen, Memoirs, 43-50; (2) "film authorship"

Friday, 1/11 Group discussion: Zhang's directorial style: analysis of a sequence from Hero; tricks for succeeding in the course

week 2

Monday, 1/14 NO CLASS
Tuesday, 1/15 Screening: Red Sorghum
Wednesday, 1/16

The Fifth Generation of Chinese Filmmakers (quiz 3)
Read for today: Tony Rayns, "King of Children and the New Chinese Cinema, 1-26.
Thursday, 1/17

National cinema, national allegory, and individual expression (quiz 4)
Read for today: (1) Xudong Zhang, "Ideology and Utopia" (306-312)*; (2) "international art cinema"
Friday, 1/18 Group discussion: Frame analysis (vats and more vats)


week 3

Monday, 1/21 MLK Day - NO CLASS
Tuesday, 1/22 Screening: Ju Dou
Wednesday, 1/23
Chinese patriarchy and the screen; Gong Li as film stars (quiz 5)
Read for today: Chow, Primitive Passions, 166-68*
Thursday, 1/24

The politics of film in China; cinematography (quiz 6)
Read for today: (1) "the shot"; (2) Sun, "Oscar push for banned film brings punishment in China."
Friday, 1/25
Group discussion: peer review of essay draft

week 4

Monday, 1/28 Screening: Raise the Red Lantern (I)
Tuesday, 1/29 Screening: Raise the Red Lantern (II)
Wednesday, 1/30

Mise-en-scene (quiz 7)
Read for today: "composition"
Thursday, 1/31

The obsession with history (quiz 8)
Read for today: Dai Qing, "Raised Eyebrows for Raise the Red Lantern"
Friday, 2/1

Group discussion: shot analysis

week 5

Monday, 2/4 NO CLASS
Tuesday, 2/5 Screening: Story of Qiuju
Wednesday, 2/6
Telling a story; music (quiz 9)
Read for today: (1) "The Relationship between Sound and Image"; (2) Stone, "Comedy and Culture".
Thursday, 2/7

The country and the city (quiz 10)
Read for today: Zhang, "Narrative, Culture, and Legitimacy" (289-302).
Friday, 2/8
Group discussion: writing workshop

week 6

Monday, 2/11
Screening: Lifetimes (aka To Live) (I)
Tuesday, 2/12

Screening: Lifetimes (aka To Live) (II)

Wednesday, 2/13

Editing (quiz 11)
Read for today: Chow, “We Endure, therefore We Are," 126-132.

Thursday, 2/14

The auteur revisited (quiz 12)
Read for today: (1) Zhang Yimou: Interviews, 82-89; (2) "Story-Centered Editing"
Friday, 2/15

Group discussion: storyboarding
Essay assignment #2 announced

week 7

Monday, 2/18 Presidents Day - NO CLASS
Tuesday, 2/19 Screening: Not One Less
Wednesday, 2/20
Filming postsocialist China; portraying social reality (quiz 13)
Read for today:
(1) Chow, "The Fable of Migration" (144-150); (2) "documentary" (245-258 / 279-293).
Thursday, 2/21
The gaze revisited (quiz 14)
Friday, 2/22 Group discussion: peer review of essay #2

week 8

Monday, 2/25 Screening: The Road Home
Tuesday, 2/26 Nostalgia and fetish (quiz 15)
Read for today: (1) "Narrative structure"; (2) Metz, "Photography and Fetish" (124-132)
Wednesday, 2/27

Screening: Happy Times
Thursday, 2/28

Zhang Yimou's urban comedies (quiz 16)
Read for today:
(1) "The director's cut"; (2) Li, "Capturing China in Globalization" (301-312).

Friday, 3/1

Group discussion: sequence analysis
week 9
Monday, 3/4
TBA (quiz 17)
Tuesday, 3/5
Wednesday, 3/6 Screening: Hero (I)

Thursday, 3/7

Screening: Hero (II)
Friday, 3/8
Group discussion: sequence comparison

week 10

Monday, 3/11
Turning to the martial arts genre (quiz 18)
Read for today:
Tuesday, 3/12
Wednesday, 3/13

Ideology trouble (quiz 19)
Read for today:
(1) Xiaoling Zhang, "The Death of Heroes in China" (119-137); (2) Berry and Farquhar, China on Screen, 158-168.
Thursday, 3/14

* texts requiring more time to read and absorb