COURSE INTRODUCTION AND SYLLABUS
EAC 389 (class #8476): The Cinematic Art of Zhang Yimou
Meeting Time/Place: Monday and Wednesday, Earth Science 241,
Instructor: Prof. Jim Hargett, Hum. 254C, 442-4233
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday, (or by appointment)
Course Description and Introduction
This is a film course focusing on the
cinematic art (or films) of Zhang Yimou (b. 1951), one of
The instructor has prepared a Course Reader:
The Cinematic Art of Zhang Yimou, which is available only at Shipmates (
What Will You Learn in This Course?
In many ways, cinematic texts are mirrors. That is to say, in addition to providing entertainment, they also reflect social, political, cultural, and economic issues and concerns. In this course you will be taught how to identify, decode, and understand these issues as they appear in seven films by Zhang Yimou.
The class will meet twice weekly. Typically, during the first session we will view the weekfs film. The second class will be devoted to discussing and decoding the film, with particular attention paid to major (and recurrent) themes and images. Background details (historical, cultural, and so on) will be provided by the instructor as needed. Copies (DVDs) of the films viewed in the course will be available on reserve in the library after we view them.
Prerequisites: Students are expected and required to have some basic knowledge of traditional, modern, and contemporary Chinese history, society, and culture. No knowledge of the Chinese language is required. All the films we will view in the course will have English subtitles.
Grading: Your final grade will be determined by (1) your attendance, preparation, and contributions to class discussions (33.3%); (2) your grade on the research paper (33.3%); and (3) your grade on the final exam (33.3%).
Attendance and Makeups: Students are expected to attend all classes. Attendance will be taken at the start of each class. If you arrive late, you will be marked absent. One absence is allowed. An additional class cut beyond the allotted one absence will result in a gplush/gminush reduction in the final grade. In other words, if you cut two classes and earn a gBh in the course, your final grade will be B-; three class cuts would get you a C+, and so on. Makeups for missed work will be given only if the absence was due to a documented medical or personal emergency. If possible, consult with the instructor before the absence. Please note: the final exam will be given on Monday, 14 May, (also in our usual classroom, ES 241). It will not be possible to take the final exam before this date, so please do not ask.
Academic Integrity: The discovery of any cheating (including plagiarism or shared work of any kind) on an exam or written assignment will result in (1) immediate expulsion from the course with a failing grade; and (2) a report to appropriate SUNY officials. Appeals may be made through appropriate channels. Just so we are clear: if you use any words/phrases/sentences or ideas from an internet website without citation, it is plagiarism. One plagiarism offense gets you thrown out of the course with a failing grade.
Food, Drink, and Cell Phones: Please do not bring any food or drinks to our class meetings. Also, please turn off your cell phone during class.
How to do well in this course: (1) complete all assignments on time; (2) view the films carefully (Take notes! You may want to bring a small flashlight to facilitate note taking); (3) attend class regularly; (4) donft come to class late (the teacher really, really dislikes late arrivals because they disrupt the class); (5) actively participate in classroom discussions (this means raise your hand and participate!).
Wed. 14 Mar: Course introduction. Judou (Judou), 1990
Mon. 19 Mar: Judou: lecture and discussion
Read: Sheldon Hsiao-peng Lu, ed., Transnational Chinese Cinemas: Identity, Motherhood, Gender, pp. 1-31.
Paul Clark, Reinventing
Read: Jenny Kwok Wah Lau, gJudou:
Wed. 21 Mar: Raise the Red Lantern (Gao hongdeng gaogao gua), 1991
Read: Read: Sheldon Hsiao-peng-lu, ed., Transnational Chinese Cinemas: Identity, Motherhood, Gender, pp. 105-136.
Mon. 26 Mar: Raise the Red Lantern: lecture and discussion
Read: John Dragon Young, Reviews of Raise the Red Lantern and The Story of Qiu Ju, pp. 1158-1161.
Memoirs from the
Wed. 28 Mar: Qiu Ju Goes to Court (Qiu Ju da guansi), 1992; lecture and discussion of Qiu Ju
Wed. 11 Apr: To Live (Huozhe), 1994. Research paper topic and preliminary bibliography due today.
Mon. 16 Apr: To Live: lecture and discussion
Read: Rey Chow, gSentimental Returns: On the Uses of the Everyday in the Recent Films of Zhang Yimou and Wong Kar-wai.h
Wed. 18 Apr:
Mon. 23 Apr:
Read: Yan Ye, gFrom the Fifth to the Six Generation: An Interview with Zhang Yimou,h pp. 2-13.
Wed. 25 Apr: The Road Home (Wode fuqin muqin), 1999
Mon. 30 Apr: The Road Home: lecture and discussion. Optional first draft of the research paper may be handed in today.
Wed. 2 May: Hero (Yingxiong), 2002
Mon. 7 May: Hero; lecture and discussion. Research paper due today.
Final exam: Monday, 14 May, , ES 241.