Please write a term paper on two films covered in class (required and recommended for presentation, consult your instructor first if you want to include a film you find via the library catalog or database).
Your paper must be comparative, namely comparing the similarity and/or difference between the two chosen films. You may focus on a similar theme (e.g. unofficial memory, documentary ethics, cinematic historiography), a shared critical problem (social justice, the power of camera, the representational agency and so om), a shared cinematic style (on-the-spot realism, embodied experience, subjective expression and etc.) or a combination of them.
Your paper must be researched, namely, citing what critics have said about the directors and/or films you are discussing and indicating how you respond to their interpretations. You are encouraged to use sources in addition to items from the syllabus. Please note that your references should include at least 4 print academic sources (at least two sources from the syllabus). Quality web sources (e.g., online magazines and newspapers) are appropriate, but merely listing sources without incorporating them in your discussion will not make your paper a researched one.
Your paper must be critical; namely, examining texts in detail and engaging different arguments in relation to the issues you are addressing. This also means that you have to maintain your own line of arguments while moving between primary and secondary sources. A summary of narrative plot or biographic information is descriptive rather than critical.
Course goal: This course surveys Chinese-language documentary practices in mainland China and Taiwan since late 1980s. Weekly topics ranging from unofficial history, social engagement and folk memory to domestic ethnography and minority culture keep track of the practice of Chinese-language documentaries from its earlier stage to its latest development, questioning the developing connotation of “newness” in contemporary Chinese-language documentary films. Situated in documentary studies and East Asian studies, the course approaches documentaries at both textual and contextual levels and explores the intricate relationship among aesthetics, politics and ethics. This course is open to students interested in Chinese studies and film studies.
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