The theme of the Transcultural Cinema Forum in the second semester of 2024 is “New Film History from Women‘s Documentaries. ” The objective of this course is to examine Japanese documentary film history from the perspective of women through study of films of women such as Oda Kaori, Komori Haruka, and Toda Hikaru, who have worked as directors without learning filmmaking from “men.”
In the field of filmmaking, particularly in documentary, male directors and crew members have historically dominated the field of production. As a result, many of the celebrated auteurs in documentary film history have been men such as Tsuchimoto Noriaki, Ogawa Shinsuke, Hara Kazuo, and Soda Kazuhiro. However, as digital technology continues to advance, and as filming equipment has become lighter-weight and editing techniques simpler, the number of female documentary filmmakers has been increasing in Japan and
elsewhere in recent years. Against this backdrop, the purpose of this presentation is to trace the genealogy of documentaries made by women and examine their perspectives, and on that basis to counter or even subvert the existing history of documentary film in Japan.
It is crucial to capture female observations not only about the subjects they shoot, but also regarding the directors who have been recognized as auteurs. One of the best examples is Barbara Hammer’s documentary, Devotion: A Film about Ogawa Productions (2000), in which she vividly captures the malecentric values and behaviors that function in distorted ways within Ogawa’s filmmaking methodology, which has historically been hailed as brilliant by filmmakers and audiences.
Module: Research and Advanced Studies
CATS Requirements: BA 3rd. year or above
Location: Lec. 9
How To Get the Most Out of This Course:
1. Do your readings before coming to class. Use a highlighter or pen to make notes when you read. Develop a strategy for note-taking. Don’t let tough sections get you bogged down. Skim if necessary and then go back and read them more thoroughly later. Re-read.
2. Bring your reading materials for the week to class.
3. Keep this course syllabus with you through the semester. It contains valuable information and lets you know what we are doing, and when.
4. Attend all screenings and lectures.
This course is designed for all students who are interested in screen culture in Japan, East Asia, and other areas. Attending lectures, which will be held on Tuesdays, is mandatory in order to discuss both (1) films and (2) reading assignments during the classes. Therefore, all students must come to class after reading assigned for each weeks.
Course Schedule and Evaluation
For a detailed course schedule, please visit KULASIS.
＊Attendance and Active Participation 15%
＊Short Essay Assignment 30% (5% x 6)
Write a short reaction paper analyzing the film of the week. Your essay should include some of the following aspects: (1) your reaction toward the film; (2) analysis on filmic aspects such as: thematic problems, visual representation, sound effect, mise-en-sc#232ne (any aspects on the screen), and narrative structure.
You will submit your assignment the following week in class. 1 or 2pages. No late assignments will be accepted.
＊Presentation on your final essay topic 15%
All presentations will be held on November 19th (Tuesday) in class.
The total length of your presentation is 15 minutes maximum.
Provide a one-page outline of your presentation a day before via email.
Evaluations of presentations are based on the following aspects:
- level of thesis (focused, connected with any specific discourse related with our discussions in class, interesting ideas, etc.)
- adequate supports (quality of research on the topic, awareness of the existing literature, etc.)
- organization of presentation
＊Final Essay 40%
You will write your final essay based on your presentation. 15 pages in length is maximum (1.0 space; font 12), and its due date is on December 3rd (Tuesday) by noon. Print out and submit your essay in my mail box. No late papers will be accepted.