Chinese Cinema (UG)

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Module overview

The module is designed to offer a critical overview of Chinese cinema, and its progression from the beginning to the present day. It takes an interdisciplinary approach and situates Chinese cinema in its wider socio-political and cultural context. The module explores a diverse range of themes and issues including cinema and modernity, the poetics of Chinese cinema, and the relationship between aesthetics and politics.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a clear and critical knowledge about the discourses present in Chinese cinema

  • Demonstrate a knowledge about Chinese directors and actors

  • Demonstrate ability to critically analyse key concepts of cinema: genre, national cinema, narrative cinema using the Chinese context as a model

  • Apply the theoretical concepts from the core texts to Chinese cinema in an articulate and critical manner

  • Express and defend positions about cinema both orally and in writing

  • Develop their own particular research interests independently


Total taught hours : 20 hours. 2 hours of lectures per week for 10 weeks.

Independent study : 130 hours

Total hours for module : 150 hours

Scope and syllabus

The syllabus will include a focus on directors and actors active in China and topics prevalent in the wider East Asian region. It will similarly introduce some of the core texts and films in relation to Chinese cinema.

Method of assessment

  • Reaction paper (800 words) 25%
  • Essay (2500 words) 75%

Suggested reading

Core Reading
  • Berry, Chris, ed., Chinese Films in Focus II. London: British Film Institute, 2008.
  • Lim, Song Hwee and Julian Ward, eds., The Chinese Cinema Book. London: British Film Institute, 2011.
  • Lu, Sheldon Hsiao-peng. “Notes on Four Major Paradigms in Chinese-language Film Studies”, Journal of Chinese Cinemas 6: 1(2012), 15–25.
Additional Reading
  • Berry, Michael. Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers, New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.
  • Browne, Nick, Paul Pickowicz, Vivian Sobchack, and Esther Yau, eds., New Chinese Cinemas: Forms, Identities, Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
  • Cui, Shuqin. Women Through the Lens: Gender and Nation in a Century of Chinese Cinema, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2003.
  • Zhang, Yingjin, ed., A Companion to Chinese Cinema. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules