Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

EAST5037M Transnational East Asian Cinemas

30 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Leah Wang

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

EAST2360Chinese Cinema

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

From popular samurai and martial arts film to Akira Kurosawa’s and Zhang Yimou’s lush historical blockbusters; from Japanese anime to ‘Asia extreme’ and the rise of cult Korean film, East Asian cinemas have wielded undisputed influence on global film culture. This module keeps in sight this embeddedness of East Asian cinemas in the transnational configurations of the film industry and the arthouse cinema circuit, but also follows post-colonial film scholar Ella Shohat’s (1994) call to ‘unthink Eurocentrism’. The module will situate Chinese, Japanese and (to a lesser extent) Korean cinema in specific social, cultural and aesthetic histories. It will also attend to cultural flows within East Asia that affect film finance, production, acting and fandom and that can help us decentre Western-based ideas of cultural globalisation. Students will be encouraged to read films both formally and historically, through analytical frameworks such as genre, gender, auteurism, Orientalism, national cinema and transnationalism. They will also be invited to reflect critically on the applicability of these concepts to the cinemas of East Asia.


To study both the national and international dimension of the genres, auteurs and texts (from critical analyses to marketing messages) of Chinese, Japanese and (to a lesser extent) Korean cinema;
To encourage students to engage with the genres in East Asian mainstream cinema (Japanese jidaigeki period film, Chinese martial arts film; horror, anime, etc.) and the work of the most prominent Japanese and Chinese cinematic auteurs from the 1930s to the present;
To gain knowledge of the specifically Japanese and Chinese cultural and socio-historical contexts of production and exhibition of these films;
To develop an understanding of transnational Japanese and Chinese cinemas as fully embedded in the networks of the global film industry, and the international ‘art house’ cinema circuit, on one hand, but also as agents in specifically East Asian cultural flows of film production, exhibition and fandom;
To encourage critical reflection on Western writings about Japanese and Chinese national cinema as expressions of an intrinsically and irreducibly ‘Japanese’ or ‘Chinese’ aesthetic.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Situate the cinemas of China, Japan and (to a lesser extent) Korea within their national socio-historical contexts (as opposed to decontextualized Eurocentric readings).
2. Articulate an understanding of East Asian Cinemas as embedded within global film culture.
3. Demonstrate knowledge of cultural flows within East Asia, their role in film finance, production, fandom, etc. and their potential to decentre Western-based ideas of ‘globalization’.
4. Engage with and reflect on the critical discourses of national cinema, on one hand, and transnationality, on the other, as applied to Chinese and Japanese cinemas
5. Master the concepts and analytical frameworks of film studies such as genre, auteurism, gender, Orientalism, etc. , apply these to specific films, and critically examine their relevance to the study of non-Western cinemas
6. Build skills for critical viewing and theoretically informed film analysis.


This module will explore the transnational legacies of Japanese auteurs such as OzuYasujiro and Kurosawa Akira; Japanese anime ; representations of 'transnational Asia' as urban sensibility and the invention of J-horror, K-horror and 'Asia Extreme'. We will discuss period film in Korea and beyond as well as the transnational aspects of Chinese film: the wuxia tradition, socialist cinema, Zhang Yimou and the so-called Fifth generation as well as China's urban generation of directors. precise content may be subject to change.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Film Screenings102.0020.00
Private study hours260.00
Total Contact hours40.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Supplementary film viewing 30 hrs
Background reading and preparation for lectures 40 hrs
Background reading and preparation for seminars 40 hrs
55 hrs research, reading, drafting and writing up literature review
95 hrs research, reading, drafting and writing up essay

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

• Apart from seminar discussions, the seminars will also include unassessed group presentations which will give tutors opportunity to observe the work and thinking of students and offer feedback on the content and delivery of presentations.
• Group presentations will also offer opportunities for peer learning and feedback.
• Individual feedback to students will be provided in regular office hours and or in meetings by appointment, if necessary, in order to discuss in-class performance, literature review and essay marks

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation5,000 word essay70.00
Literature Review2,000 word literature review30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 05/07/2022


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019