Peoples, Cultures, and History of Southeast Asia

Anthropology 2237
Peoples, Cultures, and History of Southeast Asia
Extra Credit Opportunities: Films on Burma and Vietnam
            You may watch any or all of the films listed below for extra credit. After viewing the film, complete a brief paper of 2-3 single-spaced paragraphs(no more than one single-spaced page). The paper must be typed and contain the following: 1) a paragraph synopsis or summary of the film, in your own words; 2) a paragraph or two in which you include pertinent observations or commentaries on the film, particularly as they pertain to the issue(s) raised below and in class. Only papers containing these two specific types of paragraphs will receive the full 5 points credit.Papers will be accepted until the last regularly scheduled class meeting (i.e., the week preceding the Final Exam).
Important note: There are a number of on-line reviews of these movies. I am familiar with most of the reviews, and have copies of them in my files; I also have a sophisticated plagiarism search engine on my PC.  If you plagiarize an on-line review, i.e., copy passages, ideas, etc., you will not only receive 0 points, you will be in danger of an ‘F’ for academic misconduct for the entire course and disciplinary action by the University. The whole point of my offering these opportunities is that you watch (and hopefully enjoy) these films, learn something from them, and connect them to topics pertinent to our class. ‘Nuff said…
1.      The Quiet American. Based on Graham Greene’s famous 1955 novel of the same name, this film deals with both the French and American involvement in Vietnam in the early 1950’s. Base your comments on our class readings & discussions of this era in Vietnam; most Americans think of ‘the Vietnam War’ as being something that happened in the 1960’s & 1970’s, but as this film portrays, U.S. involvement dates back to the early 1950’s when the French were still an occupying force (before their fall at Dien Bien Phu in 1954). How is this involvement portrayed via the character Pyle? What are Fowler’s views on foreign involvement in the politics of Vietnam? 
2.      The Lady. Connect your comments to class readings and discussions about Aung San Suu Kyi and the democracy movement in Burma.
3.      The Vertical Ray of the Sun. Beautifully filmed in Vietnam by the man who is probably Vietnam’s most famous director, Tran Anh Hung, this film is an introspective look at the daily lives and struggles of three Hanoi sisters. Direct your comments toward the film’s portrayal of ordinary Vietnamese people’s lives, cultural practices that strike you as interesting, and how this film contrasts with typical (Hollywood) presentations of ‘Vietnam.’
4.                  The Killing Fields. This is one of the most important films about Southeast Asia, received with wide international acclaim. Connect your comments to readings and class discussion on the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia’s situation in the late 1970’s.
5.                  A Passage to India. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, this film was based on the famous colonial-era novel by E.M. Forster. Connect your comments to our reading of Larkin and the nature of the British colonial system in India (and by extension, of course, Burma).
6.                  Gran Torino. We will be reading about the Hmong and the Hmong-American community in Fadiman’s book at the end of the semester. What aspects of Hmong life are illustrated in the movie, especially as they connect with the Fadiman text? What are some of the challenges facing the Hmong-American community, as illustrated in the movie? In what ways does the movie remind you of passages you have read in the Fadiman text?
7.                   Non-movie Option: Read the short book Siddhartha by H. Hesse (available on-line, at the library, or thousands of copies used at sites such as www.bookfinder.com). Type a 2-3 page report with two sections: 1) a brief synopsis of the work; 2) most importantly, a 1-2 page commentary in which you reflect on the work, make connections with Asma’s Buddha book, etc. This assignment will earn a maximum of 15 points, provided the report is thorough and complete.