The Life of Oharu by Mizoguchi Kenji

Paper instructions

1) Choose a Japanese film (not one viewed in class) as the basis for your discussion. —>The Life of Oharu by Mizoguchi Kenji
At the very beginning of your paper, indicate the title, director, release date, and duration in minutes. Then write a short synopsis of the narrative (no more than 250 words).

2) Since this assignment concentrates on time relationships generated by the film, you need to determine the duration of the story in real-life terms: for example, a film of 102 minutes can narrate events that transpire within a time frame of three months. Does the narrative proceed in a linear fashion, or does it include flashbacks, fantasy events, or juxtapositions of past and present? Does it compress, elongate, or suspend time as an aspect of the plot? Are significant events repeated?

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3) If the film is set in a historical period different from the time of its production and release, discuss the resulting cultural/political contrasts. For example, what does a film produced in the 1950s or 1960s have to say about events that take place at the end of World War II? In what way does the time difference appeal to its audience? If its action is contemporaneous with its time of production, what does it have to say about the developments and dominant values of its time? You might want to think of the film as a time machine that allows you to travel back to another epoch and culture, and then comment on its interpretations of that time and place.

4) Select two shots from the film that you will discuss for their narrative roles and meanings: one will be the longest shot you can find, and the other will be one of the shortest. In each case, you should describe the shot in detail (length in seconds, angle, background music or not, dialogue, and visual elements) in order to determine its function in the overall narrative. Is it a movement-image or a time-image?

5/ You will probably need to research Japanese history and the career of your film’s director to get a clearer perspective on this specific cinematic project. Don’t be afraid to investigate and familiarize yourself with various aspects of Japanese cultural history in the service of your discussion.

6/ Be sure to include references to research sources in a Works Cited page and in the MLA reference form. Be sure to double space your paper.

Minimum required word count: 750 words.


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