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Asian Cinemas


























Battambang, 2017



Institution code: COMM2489 (RMIT University - Vietnam campus)

Teaching period: Trimesters 1, 3/2016 & Trimester 2/2017

Role: Course Coordinator & Lecturer

Curriculum innovation: 

I taught and substantially revised this course so that it would (1) address theoretical deficiencies elsewhere in the program curriculum, (2) give prominence to Southeast Asian cinemas instead of focussing exclusively on East Asian & South Asian cinemas, and (3) align with learning objectives set by the university.

Innovations within this course include:

1. Elevating the rigour of academic content assigned for this course, as this course is pitched at the third-year level. Particularly, course materials cover the basics of semiotics, feminist film theory and genre theory. Students are trained to not only understand the basic principles of these theoretical lenses, but also to apply them to reading media texts.

2. Cementing academic literacy through diversifying assessment. Course assessments include (1) a group presentation on cinema histories Asia, (2) an academic essay critiquing film industries in Asia, and (3) a video essay investigating a topic of cinema studies in Asia.

3. Facilitating creative and collaborative learning through the various stages of the group video essay project. Particularly, students are encouraged to engage in academic materials with a view to produce non-traditional outputs that might be of relevance and interest to their future career in the communication industry.


Week 1: Asia’s National Cinemas: Locating the National within the Regional

               Screening: Snippets of various Asian cinema examples

Week 2: Cinema of Vietnam: Vietnamese women on the screen

                Screening: The Vertical Ray of the Sun (2000) By Tran Anh Hung

Week 3: Cinema of Japan: Genre cinema/B movies

                Screening: Tokyo Drifter (1966) By Seijun Suzuki

Week 4: Cinema of China: Traditions and Modernities

                Screening: Shanghai Dreams (2005) By Wang Xiaoshuai

Week 5: Student presentations: Cinema Histories in Asia

Week 6: Cinema of Hong Kong: Post-nostalgic Hong Kong on the screen

                Screening: In The Mood For Love (2000) By Wong Kar-wai

Week 7: Cinema Industry Research Week (Independent learning week)

Week 8: Cinema of Indonesia: Memories of violence

                Screening: The Act of Killing (2012) By Joshua Oppenheimer

Week 9: Cinema of South Korea: Gateway to Asian popular culture

                Screening: Oldboy (2003) By Park Chan-wook

Week 10: Cinema of Laos: Contemporary Laos and the Western gaze

                 Screening: The Rocket (2013) By Kim Mordaunt

Week 11: From Manga to Anime: Animation on the screen

                 Screening: Akira (1988) By Katsuhiro Otomo

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