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2018/19 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

EAST5090M Chinese Cinema

30 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Sarah Dodd

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is mutually exclusive with

EAST2360Chinese Cinema

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

From the earliest film screening at a Shanghai teahouse in August 1896 to recent martial arts blockbusters, Chinese cinema has reflected the country's own tumultuous history, and explored questions of national and cultural identity.Focusing on the ways in which films can be both cultural and social texts, this module analyses the major developments within Chinese cinema, from its beginnings to the present day. It also encompasses transnational Chinese cinema, taking in films from Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as the mainland, in order to help situate Chinese cinema in its international context. The module will provide students with the opportunity to take an inter-disciplinary approach to Chinese culture and society, and develop research and analytical skills.No prior knowledge of Chinese language or cinema is necessary.


This module will:
- Help students understand Chinese film in the context of both Chinese and cinematic history.
- Develop students understanding of Chinese cinema as embedded within a global film industry.
- Encourage students to engage with different genres in Chinese cinema (martial arts; realism; horror, etc).
- Provide an inter-disciplinary approach to Chinese culture and society, in line with the objectives and outcomes of the Masters programmes.
- Enable students to gain experience and confidence in carrying out independent research.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this module, students should:
- Have a good understanding of the development of Chinese cinema throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, and a knowledge of key directors.
- Be able to analyse the way in which changes in Chinese society and politics are reflected in Chinese cinema.
- Have developed the skills to analyse the way in which cinematic techniques are used to support the films' narratives.
- Understand the relative influence of 'Western' cinema and Chinese cultural traditions.
- Understand how to use and critically assess films as primary sources, and be able to apply this knowledge to their Masters Dissertation research.
- Be able to critically evaluate current issues, research and advanced scholarship in film studies.
- Be able to proactively formulate their own critical ideas, in order to develop their Masters dissertation research.


The module will be taught through weekly 2-hour lecture/ seminar sessions, as well as scheduled film screenings. The module starts with an overview of Chinese cinematic history, situating it within the international film industry, and China's own history. The weekly lectures/seminars then move through the key epochs of the country's cinematic history, examining how each reflects the social and political changes of the time, and focusing on key directors and genres, as well as taking in transnational Chinese cinema in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Film Screenings82.0016.00
Private study hours264.00
Total Contact hours36.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Background reading 85 hrs
Preparation for seminars 77 hrs
Supplementary film viewing 32 hrs
Preparation for and writing essays 70 hrs

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Ongoing monitoring of comprehension and background reading in seminars.
Group discussion of film clip analysis, and feedback on essay plan.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words60.00
Report2,000 word film clip analysis40.00
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: 30/04/2018


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