buddhism in film
This course is an introduction to Buddhism and an exploration of the place of Buddhism within contemporary Asian, European, and North American cultures through films
May 13 - May 24, 2013
relb 2252: buddhism in film
By focusing upon the presence of Buddhist themes within contemporary films produced throughout the world, the course encourages us to consider Buddhism (and religion in general) as a vibrant, adaptable, and contested aspect of modern global culture, and not as an ancient, monolithic, and isolated tradition.
The goals of the course are 1) to identify longstanding Buddhist narrative themes in contemporary films, 2) to consider how, why, and by whom Buddhism is employed in films to address contemporary issues, and 3) to gain through film a vivid sense of Buddhism as a complex social and cultural phenomenon that cannot be reduced to any simple doctrine.
FILM VIEWING RULES
Computers, phones, and all other electronic devices must be turned off and safely stowed in a backpack for the duration of the film.
Seminar participation consists of coming to every class and talking openly about the films with your peers. Discussion is the key to gaining a greater personal and collective understanding of the films. It is also what makes a course interesting! Please come prepared to discuss the films with your colleagues. We will spend the first twenty minutes of each discussion period collection your questions on the board or screen.
WRITING ABOUT THE FILMS
Keep a film journal. Write about the films in a notebook during and after the film viewing. Hand in the film journal at the end of the first week for review, and use it to write your final exam. The film journal should address the issues listed below in the final exam. They should consist of four components:
- 1. A segmentation' or outline, of each film. Segmentation is the process of dividing the film into parts for analysis
- 2. A character profile for the major characters in each film. As you watch a film, keep a running list of the characters and briefly describe them.
- 3. Comparisons with the plot and characters of each film with the Buddha biography. Our baseline Buddha biographies will be 1. the life story of the Buddha by the eighteenth Bhutanese writer Tenzin Chogyel (available on Collab), 2) the 'Life of the Buddha in Postcards' Power Point presentation (also available on Collab), and 3) Lopez, The Story of Buddhism, pages 37-59.
- 4. Five questions about the films to discuss in the seminar. Bring five questions about the film for each discussion seminar. These will form the basis of discussion.
All films are fictional dramas produced within the last twent years. The countries of origin are: Bhutan, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Thailand. Two are by women writer/directors.
Total Tuition and Fees
|Tuition||$321 per Credit||
|Virginia Resident Total||
Non Virginia Resident
|Tuition||$1,119.00 per Credit||
|Non-Virginia Total Costs||
Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Professor and Chair
University of Virginia Department of Religious Studies