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Theorising Japanese Cinema


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Dr Irene González-López
  • Assessment: a 1500-word essay (30%), 2500-word essay (60%) and attendance, class participation, pre- and post-sessional activities (10%)

Module description

In this module we explore key critical approaches to the study of Japanese cinema. You will be introduced to some of the key theoretical frameworks such as national and transnational cinemas, post-colonial thought, gender, spectatorship and concepts such as genre, new wave, avant-garde, and alterity/otherness.

In your encounter with film from across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, you’ll consider styles and subject matter, film genres and movements, and studios and directors, in their cultural, social, political, technological and industrial contexts.

Films selected for this module are subtitled in English. There is no Japanese language requirement for this course.

Indicative syllabus

  • Introduction to film style and national cinema
  • Talking silent
  • Cinema and modernity: the studio system, genre and film style
  • National and transnational cinema: mediating defeat and US occupation policy on cinema
  • The post-studio era and the Japanese New Wave
  • Cinema genre, avant-garde filmmaking
  • Japanese anime and cultural policy
  • J-horror and global cinema
  • Women’s filmmaking in Japan: representations of gender and sexuality
  • Japanese cinema and representing others
  • Cinema, memory and trauma