EN2213: INTRODUCTION TO FILMIC NARRATIVES
Department of English Language and Literature
Semester 2 2001/2002
Lecturer: Dr Gilbert Yeoh
Block AS5, Room #03-02.
Weekly Lecture: Monday 1200-1400 hrs (LT 14)
Weekly Film Screening: Friday 1600-1900 hrs (LT 9)
Note: This course is intended for non-Literature majors only. It may not be taken by
either Literature majors or students presently taking first year Literature courses.
Aims and Objectives
This course aims to introduce students to the skills of film analysis and interpretation, and
to cultivate an appreciation of film as a complex art form.
Film analysis and interpretation will be the focus of this course. From Orson Welles to
Wong Kar Wai, filmmakers of different times and locations have sought to render their
artistic visions through the medium of film. How do we approach, understand and
appreciate the enticing and often challenging cinematic visions of major film directors?
Covering the basic elements of film style like mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing
and sound, this course will introduce students to the analysis of film as a complex artistic
medium. A variety of films from different countries will be studied, including works by
Howard Hawks, Eric Khoo, Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Andrei Tarkovsky, Erich
von Stroheim, Orson Welles, Wong Kar Wai and Zhang Yimou.
Each week, students will attend a lecture (2 hrs), a tutorial (1 hr) and a film screening.
As lectures will be based on the film for the week, it is important that you come to lecture
on Monday having seen the film for the week. Beginning on January 18, there will be
film screenings every Friday. Our first screening will be von Stroheim‟s Greed. If you
are not able to attend the Friday screenings, you are allowed to watch the film in your
own time so long as you have seen the film before you come to lecture. In addition to the
screenings in the LT, the films can be viewed in the Media Resource Department in the
Central Library or online on the NUS Computer Network (see “Multimedia” page of
EN2213 IVLE site). It is strongly recommended that your FIRST VIEWING of the
films be in the LT or from the video/DVD copy in the Central Library.
Continual assessment will be based on an open-book midterm exam (15%; on 18 Feb), a
term paper (25%), and tutorial attendance and participation (10%). There will be an
open-book final exam (50%).
Creative option: Students may choose to attempt a creative project like making a short
film in lieu of the term paper. Before proceeding, you should discuss your creative
project with your tutor.
The course textbook is David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson Film Art: An Introduction
(1997), costing about $29. You may use either the 5th or 6th edition of this textbook.
In addition, there is a course reader that contains all the other assigned readings, costing
about $27-30. Both Film Art and the course reader can be purchased at the Co-Op below
the Central library. In addition, Film Art together with all assigned and recommended
readings (except Internet articles) are available in the RBR, Central Library.
A glossary of film terms can be found in Film Art 477-82.
Schedule of Lectures, Screenings and Readings
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: Selected Short Films and Film Excerpts
Week 3: Erich von Stroheim Greed (US; 1924)
Film Art 5th edition. 169-199 (most of Chap. 6)
80-2 (on “motif”)
6 edition 156-184 (most of Chap. 6)
52-4 (on “motif”)
Joel W. Finler Stroheim 23-75 (An abbreviated version of Finler‟s article is available in
Finler‟s introduction to Erich von Stroheim‟s screenplay of Greed. See Erich von
Stroheim Greed 9-13)
Arthur Lennig Stroheim 186-220
Week 4: Howard Hawks His Girl Friday (US; 1939)
Film Art 5th edition. 108-10 (“the classical Hollywood cinema”)
384-8 (sample analysis of His Girl Friday)
284-92 (“continuity editing”)
6th edition. 76-78 (“the classical Hollywood cinema”)
352-6 (sample analysis of His Girl Friday)
262-9 (“continuity editing”)
Week 5: Orson Welles Citizen Kane (US; 1940)
David A. Cook A History of Narrative Film 3rd ed. 392-411.
Film Art 5th edition. 258-63 (“Duration of the Image: The Long Take”)
220-1 (“The lens: Depth of field and focus”)
360-8 (“Style in Citizen Kane”)
6 edition 240-5 (“Duration of the Image: The Long Take”)
202-3 (“The Lens: Depth of field and focus”)
332-39 (“Style in Citizen Kane”)
David Bordwell “Citizen Kane” in Perspectives on Orson Welles ed. Morris Beja 90-106.
(see also the other readings in this collection)
Noel Carroll “Interpreting Citizen Kane” in Perspectives on Citizen Kane ed. Ronald
Gottesman 254-67. (see also the other readings in this collection)
Andre Bazin Orson Welles: A Critical View
Robert L. Carringer The Making of Citizen Kane
Joseph McBride Orson Welles 31-51.
Week 6: Akira Kurosawa Rashomon (Japan; 1950)
Stephen Prince The Warrior‟s Camera 125-35
Donald Ritchie “Rashomon.” Introduction to Rashomon (screenplay). Ed. Donald
Akira Kurosawa Something Like an Autobiography (excerpt from Kurosawa‟s
autobiography in Rashomon (screenplay), 115-6).
#Stanley Kauffmann “The Impact of Rashomon.” 173-7.
#Tadao Sato “Rashomon.” 167-72.
#Keiko I. McDonald “The Dialectic of Light and Darkness in Kurosawa‟s Rashomon.”
#All readings are in Rashomon (screenplay). Ed. Donald Ritchie.
Week 7: Midterm test
Week 8: Midterm break
Week 9: Yasujiro Ozu Tokyo Story (Tokyo Monogatari) (Japan;
David Bordwell Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema 328-33; 74-88.
Film Art 5th edition. 404-9 (sample analysis of Tokyo Story)
6th edition. 371-6 (sample analysis of Tokyo Story)
David Bordwell Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema 88-142.
Week 10: Andrei Tarkovsky Nostalghia (Russia; 1983)
Vida T. Johnson and Graham Petrie The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky: A Visual Fugue 36-
Andrei Tarkovsky Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema. Trans. Kitty Hunter-
Vida T. Johnson and Graham Petrie The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky: A Visual Fugue
187-230 (chaps. 11 and 12).
Andrei Tarkovsky Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema. 104-63 (chap. 5); 202-
16 (chap. 8).
Mark Le Fanu The Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky 108-23.
Week 11: Wong Kar Wai Chungking Express (Chongqing senlin)
David Bordwell Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment 270-
Lisa Oldham Stokes and Michael Hoover City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema 186-7; 193-
@Jean-Marc Lalanne “Images from the Inside.” Translated by Stephen Wright. 9-27.
@Ackbar Abbas “The Erotics of Disappointment.” 39-81.
@Jimmy Ngai/Wong Kar-Wai “A Dialogue with Wong Kar-Wai.” 83-117.
@All readings are from Wong Kar-Wai (Paris: Editions Dis Voir, 1997).
“The Cinema of Wong Kar-Wai—A „Writing Game.‟” Compiled by Fiona A. Villella.
Anthony Leong “Meditations on Loss: A Framework for the Films of Wong Kar Wai.”
Week 12: Eric Khoo 12 Storeys (Shier lou) (Singapore; 1997)
Week 13: Wong Kar Wai In the Mood for Love (Hua yang nian
hua) (HK; 2000)
Stephen Teo “Wong Kar-Wai‟s In the Mood for Love: Like a Ritual in Transfigured
Kent Jones “Of Love and the City.” Review of In the Mood for Love. Film Comment
37.1 (2001): 22-5. Also available at: http://archive.filmlinc.com/fcm/fcmarchive.htm
(look for link to In the Mood for Love).
See further reading for Chungking Express.
Week 14: Zhang Yimou The Road Home (Wo de fu qin mu qin)
Zhang Yimou‟s comments on his film from the official film website:
Kwok-Kan Tan and Wimal Dissanayake New Chinese Cinema 32-3
Tan Ye “From the Fifth to the Sixth Generation: An Interview with Zhang Yimou.” Film
Quarterly 53.2 (1999-2000): 2-13.
--End of course--