Cinema Studies I

A dinosaur
LecturerHideaki FUJIKI, Professor
DepartmentSchool of Letters / Graduate School of Letters, 2012 Spring
Recommended for:School of Letters 2nd year students and above, Graduate School of Letters students (2週1回全15回)

The aim of this practicum is to cultivate writing ability and analytic skills in students while they practice writing logical essays and learn how to analyze films. First, students will practice the fundamentals of constructing paragraphs, crafting an introduction, and logical progression within their essays. Students will write four analytical essays during the semester; each on a different film, and each paper will be discussed and critiqued. Writing the same essay(s) over again multiple times will allow students to enhance their skills. At the same time, they will practice segmentation (the process of dividing a film into parts for analysis) and discussing decoupage (the arrangement of shots in a film) and criticizing existing articles.

This class is designed with the beliefs that the more you write, the better you get; the more constructive criticism you receive the more you improve, in mind. I also tell students not to read extant academic research because I would like them to analyze the films by themselves without relying on other people's ideas or interpretations.

Key Feature

As I wrote in the Course Overview, this seminar aims to cultivate writing ability and analytic skills in students and furthermore aims to improve speaking abilities and participation in discussion. In order to do that, during the first half of the first semester the students will start at the most fundamental stage by writing a single paragraph. Then in the latter half of the first semester, participants will write 2-page analytical essays on the same movie and comment on each others papers. During the peer review process, I tell students that their paper is simply temporary and to improve it, they must be frank with each other without holding back. If they do not critique each other frankly, they will always be stuck at the same low level. At the same time as the peer review, I also return each student's paper with comments. We repeat this cycle 4 times (for 4 movies). This seminar focuses on improving our own analytic skills. Students are not allowed to read academic research on the films unless I instruct them to do so. As there is a limit to improvement by simply reading our own essays, we will also read other scholar's essays and critique them. In analyzing cinema, I will start with the basics, including segmentation and decoupage. However, our goal is to improve students' analytic skills, logical organization, and writing skills not simply in relation to the field of cinema, but in humanities or social science in general.

The practicum of the second semester of the school year is a continuation of the first. In the second semester practicum, students will review materials and literature not covered in the first semester and will be instructed on writing academic essays about cinema. However, as this is a course on film analysis, it is expected that students will have first completed the first semester's class.

Course Schedule

Times Contents of Classes


  • "Ronbun no Kyoshitsu" (Academic Writing Academy), pp.181-204
  • "Firumu Ato"(Film & Art), pp.430-434, Meet Me in St. Louis
  • Write an analytic paragraph on 2 photographs

The structure of a logical essay

  • Discussion: Analytical paragraphs on two photographs
  • Essay Analysis (Introductions, Paragraphs, Dividing Paragraphs, Conclusions)
  • Assignment: Essay on the structural analysis of King of Comedy

Analysis of essay examples

  • Discussion: Essay on the Structural analysis of King of Comedy
  • In class film: Sweat, film (Tomu Uchida, 1929, 50mins)

Segmentation and Decoupage

  • Assignment: Decoupage

Analytical Essay I

  • Analysis of opposites and Brain Storming
  • Assignment: Analytical Essay on Sweat

Analytical Essay I

  • Discussion: Analytical Essay on Sweat
  • Assignment: None

Analytical Essay II

  • In class film: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927, 114mins)
  • Assignment: Analytical Essay on Metropolis

Analytical Essay II

  • Discussion: Analytical Essay on Metropolis
  • Assignment: None

Analytical Essay III

  • In class film: The Water Magician (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1933, 88mins)
  • Assignment: Analytical Essay on The Water Magician

Analytical Essay III

  • Discussion: Analytical Essay on The Water Magician
  • Assignment: None

Analytical Essay IV

  • In class film: I was born But... (Ozu Yasujiro 1932, 91mins)
  • Assignment: Analytical Essay on I was born But...

Analytical Essay IV

  • Discussion: Analytical Essay on I was born But...
  • Assignment: Structural Analysis on 2 papers (Questioning, Thesis statements, Logical Structure, etc.)

Analytical Essay V

  • Discussion: Cruel Story of Youth (Oshima Nagisa, 1960, 96mins)
  • Assignment: Analytical Essay on Cruel Story of Youth

Analytical Essay V

  • Discussion: Analytical Essay on Cruel Story of Youth
  • Assignment: Yoshimoto, "Questions of the New" (2007)

Analytical Essay V

  • Discussion: Yoshimoto, "Questions of the New" (2007)

Last updated

May 08, 2020