Fall 2020

Japan on Screen

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-234  |  Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-320

Formerly listed as: ASLC-34  |  FAMS-32

Moodle site: Course


Timothy J. Van Compernolle (Section 01)


(Offered as ASLC 234 and FAMS 320)

This course places equal emphasis on the two key terms of its title, “Japan” and “screen.”  Is the concept of national cinema useful in the age of globalization?  What is the place of cinema in a history of screen culture in Japan?  This course aspires to rethink the idea of Japanese cinema while surveying the history of cinema in Japan, from early efforts to disentangle it from fairground spectacles and the theater at the turn of the last century, through the golden age of studio cinema in the 1950s, to the place of film in the contemporary media ecology. This course will investigate the Japanese film as a narrative art, as a formal construct, and as a participant in larger aesthetic, social, and even political contexts.  This course includes the major genres of Japanese film, influential schools and movements, and major directors.  Additionally, students will learn and get extensive practice using the vocabulary of the discipline of film studies.

On the assumption that the college will be partially or fully open in fall 2020, the course will operate on a hyflex model, which allows any student, including Five College interchange students, to participate in the course remotely.  Depending on enrollments and other circumstances, the course may shift to an exclusively remote learning environment, with both synchronous and asynchronous elements.

Fall semester. Professor Van Compernolle.


Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2022