Module Catalogue 2022/23

SML2011 : Cities in East Asian Cinema: Culture, History and Identity

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Shiro Yoshioka
  • Other Staff: Ms Carrie Poon
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The aims of this module include:
1) To introduce important East Asian cities and representative city films
2) To understand the cinematic representations of East Asian cities in relation to their particular historical, cultural and political contexts
3) To make connections among the East Asian cities and their cinematic representations, and map a region marked by fast-developing urbanization and globalization
4) To familiarise students with important debates on the relationship between city and cinema in urban studies and film studies.

Outline Of Syllabus

By studying the cinematic representation of six East Asian cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul, this module will explore how film plays a crucial role in reflecting historical, political and social change in East Asian societies, embodying the cultural specificity of each of these cities, and forming and transforming individual and collective identities in East Asia. Focusing on the ways in which the cities are imagined, created and remembered, the module addresses a series of important concepts such as modernity/postmodernity, post-colonialism, the national and the global, memory and nostalgia, gendered space, power and resistance.
The first week provides a social and theoretical background to the module by introducing the East Asian region as well as key debates on and approaches to cinematic representations of the city. The subsequent weeks are designed as 1 hour survey lecture followed by 1 hour student-led seminar. 10 weeks will be devoted to six cities as represented in East Asian films (Shanghai and Seoul, one week each; Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei and Beijing, two weeks each). The key films that will be discussed may include Street Angel (1937), Tokyo Story (1953), Infernal Affairs (2002), Christmas in August (1998), Wong Kar-wai’s films on Hong Kong, Edward Yang and Tsai Ming-liang’s films on Taipei, Ning Ying’s Beijing trilogy, and so on. The films are subtitled in English.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1) A knowledge of significant city films in East Asian Cinema
2) An insight into close relationship between urban space, cinema, and national/transnational, postmodern/postcolonial contexts in East Asia
3) An understanding of East Asian history, culture and identity as reflected in cinematic representations of major cities.
4) An awareness of key debates in urban studies and film studies

Intended Skill Outcomes

1) Taking notes effectively in lectures and seminars, from journals and secondary material
2) Identifying and making effective use of secondary sources
3) Analysing cities and films from an historical, cultural perspective
4) Operating effectively as part of team work discussion or class presentation
5) Planning and writing a well-argued and analytical essay in English
6) Enhancing inter-cultural competency

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Present in person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00Guided film screening. Present in person.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00Present in person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1147:00147:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1) Lectures provide students with background information and familiarise them with the major issues related to each city.
2) The following seminar provides an opportunity for students to discuss the East Asian cities as imagined and constructed in films. Seminars also provide a chance for students to present arguments in an appropriate fashion independently and within a team.
3) Students will be expected to watch the set films beforehand as lectures and seminars will assume knowledge of these.

This module is taught and assessed in English.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M803000 words in English
Written exercise1M20Week 7. A commentary of 1000 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay allows evaluation of the development of the following cognitive and key skills: independent research, bibliographical work, planning and organising, word-processing, footnoting and referencing. The commentary takes the form of textual analysis of a chosen film and prepares students for their final essay writing.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.