Genders and Sexualities in South East Asian Film

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
South East Asia Section

Module overview

The module will examine key issues pertaining to the representation of genders and sexualities in a selection of films made by South East Asian filmmakers.

The module will draw on films made between the 1970s and the present day in order to contextualise the developments and changes related to how filmmakers have engaged with issues relating to gender and sexuality at a time of rapid political and social change across the region. The range of countries to which this module refers includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. It may also touch on diasporic cinema. The module will encourage the critical appreciation of the films and their specific treatment of genders and sexualities in South East Asia.

Students will watch films in their own time followed by specific lectures on the film under consideration. Separate tutorial sessions each week will be devoted to the discussion of a specific academic text relating to issues of film, gender and or sexuality, and students will be encouraged to consider how these theoretical works shed critical light on the films they have viewed.

Objectives and learning outcomes

At the end of the module a student should have acquired a critical knowledge of a selection of films by South East Asian filmmakers (or by Western filmmakers set in South East Asia) that deal directly with the representation of genders and sexualities in the region. The student will have developed the ability to consider these films critically, from the perspective of international film studies, with reference to film and gender theory, and in terms of the historical and cultural context in which they have been created. Students will have learned how to analyse the films both visually and in terms of their specific contributions to arguments pertaining to the study of genders and sexualities in the region.

In terms of generic skills, students will have had the opportunity to improve their ability to distil information from secondary sources and to collate this information in the composition of one lengthy essay. They will also have learned how to extract and process information from cinematic sources, and to combine their observation of these sources with secondary, background readings and with theoretical texts considered in tutorials. As a result of the emphasis on group discussion of the cinematic texts explored in this module, students will learn how to contribute constructively to debates, how to accommodate the views of others in the learning group and how to present and articulate their own views orally.

Following completion of the module, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate in-depth understanding of the role of cinema in reflecting and shaping ideas related to gender and sexuality in the region
  2. critically engage with key readings and arguments related to the representation of gender and sexuality in South East Asian screen media
  3. demonstrate good knoweldge of a range of films from the region and also the sources they might draw on for further study
  4. show development in their ability to discuss films and related readings in video presentations;
  5. critically engage with film texts and secondary course in their written work


A total of 10 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week consisting of 1 hour lecture, 1 hour tutorial and 2 hours film viewing.

Scope and syllabus

This module will look at films and screen texts fmade by film makers from a range of South East Asian Countries, likely including Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia.

The module will include films from the 1970s to recent times. Topics discussed will vary from year to year but will include - gender and horror, gender and religion, teenage romances, emerging gay identities, HIV and health messaging, prostitution films, trans identities, the ideal and alternative family.

Method of assessment

  • 15% Reaction paper, 600 words
  • 15%¬†Podcast or recorded presentation, 5 minutes
  • 70% Essay, 2,500 words
  • Exact deadlines for each assessment are published on the Moodle/BLE module page.

Suggested reading

A comprehensive reading list will be supplied by the convenor at the beginning of the module.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.