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CMS 297 A: Special Topics in Cinema and Media Studies

East Asian Cinemas in Action: Gangster Films and the Playground for Stardoms

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 10:50am - 1:00pm
SAV 260
Joint Sections: 
Frontal shot of Ellen Chang in light blue shirt with white dinosaur print
Ellen Y. Chang

Syllabus Description:

East Asian Cinemas in Action: Gangster Films and the Playground for Stardoms

Departing from the common association between East Asian cinemas and slowness, this course puts East Asian cinemas in action with gangster films across Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and China. Drawing on a variety of film texts from different cultural origins and cinematic traditions, we will explore how gangster films reflect and traverse the different boundaries within and beyond East Asia with their charm that has long sparked popular imagination and fascination. Key films covered in the course may include A Better Tomorrow (John Woo, 1986), As Tears Go By (Wong Kar-Wai, 1988), A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang, 1991), Young and Dangerous (Andrew Lau, 1996), Fuyajo (Chi-Ngai Lee, 1998), Brother (Takeshi Kitano, 2000), Infernal Affairs (Andrew Lay; Alan Mak, 2002), Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow, 2004), The Departed (Martin Scorses, 2006), The Magic Hour (Koki Mitani, 2008), Parking (Chung Mong-Hong, 2008), Let the Bullets Fly (Jiang Wen, 2010), and Monga (Doze Niu, 2010). Moreover, we will trace the cinematic spectacle embodied by these gangster films particularly through the notions of genre and stardom to consider how cinematic languages, artistic styles, and film stars circulate around the cinematic representation of the gangsters. The course will conclude by examining the Hollywood remake and co-production of East Asian gangster films as two phenomena that further popularize such fascination.

Catalog Description: 
Varied topics related to film and/or media. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements Met: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:12pm