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CMS 397 A: Special Topics In Cinema And Media Studies

Meeting Time: 
MWF 9:00am - 10:20am
CMU 228
Joint Sections: 
Davinder L. Bhowmik

Syllabus Description:

Japan 361/C LIT 397: The Films of Koreeda Hirokazu

Instructor:        Prof. Davinder L. Bhowmik

Office:              Gowen Hall, Mezannine 239

Office hours:     MW, 11-12 or by appt.



Course description: Koreeda Hirokazu (1962-) is an award-winning Japanese director whose feature films contain elements of the documentary genre. This course is structured around the director’s May 18 visit to campus and subsequent SIFF screening. In particular, the class will consider the demarcation between feature and documentary film in several of Koreeda’s acclaimed works such as Maboroshi, Afterlife, Nobody Knows, Still Walking, Like Father, Like Son, and Our Little Sister. The focus of the course will be on the director of these films, but we will also compare and contrast Koreeda to fellow directors; learn the socio-cultural context of the films; and analyze the works using discipline-specific terminology.


No knowledge of Japanese is required; all films are subtitled in English.



Participation: 25%

Discussion Board, Response, and other Writing Assignments: 25%

In-class midterm: 25%

Final project 25%


Participation: Before class meets students will be expected to complete all assigned readings and films and should expect to be called on. Participation will take the form of large, medium, and small group discussion. It may include arguing a point, raising a question, taking a pop quiz, or responding to another student or to me. Please bring your readings to class for easy reference.


Required Texts:

Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing about Film (ninth edition)


Academic Accommodations: If you would like to request accommodations due to a learning disability, please contact:


Disability Resources for Students

011 Mary Gates

206-543-8924 (Voice)

206-543-8925 (TTY)

206-616-8379 (Fax)


Academic Misconduct: The presentation of another person’s words and ideas as one’s own is a serious offense; violations will be dealt with according to the University codes of conduct, which stipulate sanctions up to and including expulsion


Course Schedule (subject to change)


3/27 Introduction

3/29 Japanese Cinema, part I 1897-1945

3/31Japanese Cinema, part II 1945-present


4/3   Reading: Corrigan, chapter 1

4/5   Reading: Corrigan, con't.

4/7   Maboroshi discussion


4/10 Reading: Corrigan, chapter 2

4/12 Reading: Corrigan, chapter 3

4/14 Afterlife discussion


4/17 Reading: Corrigan, chapter 4

4/19 Reading: Corrigan, chapter 5

4/21 Nobody Knows discussion


4/24 no class

4/26 Reading: Corrigan, chapter 6 & 7

4/28 Still Walking discussion


5/1   Midterm Examination

5/3   Capturing 'Authenticity':  Digital Aesthetics in the Post-Studio Japanese Cinema (JSTOR)

5/5   Hana discussion & writing assignment




5/12 Air Doll discussion










5/29 Memorial Day Holiday




Final projects due by Friday, June 9 5 pm.

Catalog Description: 
Varying topics relating to film in social contexts. Offered by resident or visiting faculty.
Department Requirements Met: 
Cinema Studies Elective
GE Requirements Met: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:32pm