Japan at the Pictures

Course Dates: 20/10/21 - 08/12/21
Time: 19:45 - 21:30
Location: Online
This course will introduce you to the cinema of Japan, one of the world’s most important national cinemas. It will introduce you to films by major Japanese directors, such as Kurosawa, Ozu, Mizoguchi and Kitano. It will also explore the aesthetics of these films, situating them within their broader historical, cultural, critical and industrial contexts. It will also look at the functioning of genre and the peculiarities of the star system within Japanese filmmaking.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £149.00 Concession £91.00

This course has now started

Course Code: HF304

Started Wed, eve, 20 Oct - 08 Dec '21

Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online film course will be divided into two parts. The first will explore the period up to 1964, sometimes described as the ‘classical’ age of Japanese cinema. Beginning with the birth of cinema in Japan in 1896, the course will explore the silent film period, the development of narrative cinema and the shift from filmmaking as a largely artisanal activity to an industrial process. The course will consider the importance influence of the Japanese theatrical tradition for cinema and with the coming of sound in the 1930s, it will explore the emergence of genre cinema. The 1950s ushered in a golden age in Japanese filmmaking that engaged with major post-war social and cultural changes and the course will consider this period through celebrated films by Kurosawa, Mizoguchi and Ozu.

The second part of the course will look at the emergence of a cinematic new wave in Japan that coincided with the growth of television and a new cine-literate urban spectator. The course will explore this radical and independent 1960s filmmaking culture through films by directors such as Teshigahara and Oshima. While domestic popular genres remain the mainstay during the 1970s and 1980s, from the 1990s and on into the twenty-first century Japanese cinema emerges more fully in international and transnational contexts with directors such as Takeshi Kitano and Takashi Miike leading the way. Horror (the Ring cycle for example) and anime also remain hugely popular in the international marketplace, coming to define contemporary Japanese filmmaking for many viewers and it is with these films that the course will conclude, considering the place of Japanese filmmaking in a global industrial and cultural context.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

The course will explore the development of cinema and film culture in Japan and it will look at a number of key historical moments, beginning with cinema’s birth, through the silent period and on to the emergence of sound in the mid 1930s. The theatre and geography are important elements in the development of Japanese cinema and the course will consider these and their influence on genre and on film style. The post-war period is recognised as an especially rich moment in Japanese cinema history and the course will explore the work of a number of influential filmmakers, such as Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi and Akira Kurosawa. The course will cover the Japanese New Wave and it will look at the importance of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games for Japanese identity and culture. Latterly, the course will explore more recent developments in Japanese cinema, looking in particular at the horror genre and animated film.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Describe the development of Japanese cinema since its birth in 1896
• Understand key aesthetic, social, cultural and industrial developments in Japanese cinema
• Demonstrate a critical appreciation of Japanese cinema and of individual Japanese films
• Recognise the place that Japanese cinema holds in the context of film history and world cinema.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is designed for those who have a passion for film and would like to deepen their knowledge of Japanese cinema and its history. It will provide an introduction to the subject but will also be useful for those wishing to build on existing knowledge.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be delivered via talks by the tutor with small and large group discussions. Short film extracts will be screened throughout. I will provide texts at the beginning of the course and where appropriate will direct you to useful online material but any advance preparation is entirely optional.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will require a pen and paper (or laptop/device) but any ancillary materials required will be provided in the form of handouts or links to online resources. Film clips will be screened in class and where possible the tutor will provide links to these and to useful online audio-visual material.

Paul Sutton

Dr. Paul Sutton is an independent film scholar who has taught Film Studies in UK higher education for over 25 years. His research covers psychoanalytic and film theory as well as Italian and French cinema and critical theory. He has published articles in journals such as Screen, French Studies and the Journal for Cultural Research. He is currently writing a psychoanalytic book on film spectatorship, Afterwardsness in Film, and has recently published work on television as a form of palliative care, and an assessment of the films of the Italian experimental filmmaker Ugo Nespolo.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.