Course syllabus

MEDIA 743 Chinese Film Genres

(Semester 2, 2020)


Genre is an important approach in film studies, providing ways to group together films that are marked by similar characters, subjects, settings, styles and/or themes. This course investigates some major genres in the dynamic and proliferating Chinese-language cinema. The course comprises three sections. Section One focuses on youth film, a genre that began to draw attention from academia only in recent years. Section Two centres a best established genre of Chinese cinema, martial arts film. Section Three examines art film, the genre that has played a pivotal role in facilitating “dialogues” between Chinese cinema(s) and the cinemas in other parts of the world. In exploring these genres, the course pays close attention to the following aspects: generic conventions and inventions, aesthetic legacy and breakthrough, and implications of the wider context.


The course has a strong comparative perspective, covering three major film cultures in Chinese-language cinemas, i.e. Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China.



Research Proposal (2,000 words, 25% of final mark)

Oral Presentation (approximately 30 minutes long, 15% of final mark)

Research essay (6,500 words; 60% of final mark)


Films to be studied include:

Made in Hong Kong (dir. Fruit Chan, 1997)

Youth (dir. Feng Xiaogang, 2017)

The Young Ones (dir. Lee Hsing, 1973)

A Touch of Zen (dir. King Hu, 1970)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (dir. Ang Lee, 2000)

House of Flying Daggers (dir. Zhang Yimou, 2004)

Yellow Earth (dir. Chen Kaige, 1984)

The Time to Live, The Time to Die (dir. Hou Hsiao Hsien, 1985)

Unknown Pleasures (Jia Zhangke, 2002)



Course summary:

Date Details Due