This course focuses on the cross-cultural study of a major film genre that represent the rich cinematic heritage of Japan and the U.S.: the Samurai and Western. Some important questions to be explored through comparative analyses are: how do these films elucidate the socio-cultural milieu of their respective countries? How do two films from different cultural traditions share similarities in narrative, character types and world view? How does a Japanese filmmaker borrow from the West and vice versa, in order to develop his thematic vein? The course will also touch upon issues of film appreciation, particularly how critical methods and conventions help the viewer read Westerns and Samurai films.
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