Review Comment

Topics in World Cinema: Chinese Film

May 02, 2018

Pena, Richard Silver_nugget
Topics in World Cinema: Chinese Film

AVOID THIS CLASS IF YOU ARE NOT A FILM MAJOR!!!!

To be honest, Pena did okay as a lecturer, but the weekly lecture seems to be almost useless when you are writing the paper. If you are taking this course for the global core and know little about film techniques(camera work, mise-en-scene, etc. ), you will definitely be frustrated in class. Pena does not tell you how to write about a film or offers any film essays/critics that you can study. The instruction he gave on assignments is vague, but he is extremely strict and crazy about the due date of the assignment. (he will write the due date in bold several times in a single prompt and emphasize again and again that there is absolutely no extensions).

My TA of this class (Grace Swee) is even worse. I think she totally lacks the ability to hold a discussion session. She looks very unprepared as a discussion leader. I was astonished when she forgot the names of the main characters in the film which we are about to discuss in class. During the discussion, she just reads the questions on a list and seldom delves into a specific topic worth discussing. It seems that she does not want to hold the discussion since she keeps checking her phone during class time to make sure that she can leave as soon as possible.

The workload of this class is ridiculous for a non-film major. Pena does not offer any specific instructions on the assignments and he claims that you can write anything you want on the film you watched. However, if you focus on any aspects rather than the analysis of the film technique, you will definitely receive a very low grade for your paper.

Workload:

Twelve 3-page essays on each film. A final 10-page paper. (Extremely strict on extensions & requirements)
Weekly mandatory discussion & screening.

April 14, 2005

Pena, Richard Silver_nugget
Topics in World Cinema: Chinese Film

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Prof. Pena is one of the most knowledgable and experienced film professors I have ever taken a class with. He is very passionate about what he teaches, and has a lot fo personal insight to offer about Chinese film. He has personally met a lof of Chinese film directors and recounts his meetings with them, which I found absolutely entertaining. He seems to have a life outside of academia, which is very admirable. My only criticism of the class would be that he assigns way too much unneccesary reading, and the books cost you an arm and a leg.

Workload:

Not bad, if you do only selected readings. Two sets of three, 4 pg papers, and one big final 12 pg paper. (I found the short papers much harder and more annoying than the big one)

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