Introduction to Korean Cinema

Foundations of Arts and Humanities - Visual and Performance Arts

Christopher P Hanscom

Introduction to Korean Cinema

Korean department

Christopher P Hanscom

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Ratings

Bad
Overall 4.0
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 4.3
Easy
Heavy
Workload 3.7
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 3.3
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.7
Helpful
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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Participation Matters
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Would Take Again

Grades

Spring 2019
32.8%
27.4%
21.9%
16.4%
10.9%
5.5%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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Reviews

Quarter Taken: Winter 2018 Submitted May 4, 2020 Grade Received: N/A

This was an awesome class. He really is passionate about the subject, and he provides very detailed analysis of the movies in a bigger context. I would take his class again if I had space in my schedule. The class is pretty straight forward. You just need to watch a movie once a week. Honestly, it is not that bad. Also, a lot of the essays are asking for your analysis of the movie. I recommend taking this class, and also getting to know the professor. He is a cool guy.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 26, 2019 Grade Received: A

Writing this in defense of Professor Hanscom, who I thought was a brilliant mind. Although, yes his lectures were often filled with his various tangents, I still found them to be interesting. Also, he often provided a lot of context for the films from a historical perspective, which I was not expecting, but I honestly enjoyed that I got to learn a bit about Korean history. And honestly I don't think that his lectures needed to be the most focused, because at the end of it all this class was just about appreciating and familiarizing yourself with a handful of Korean films.
The films he assigned can be hard to get through (I ended up binging 4 during finals week) but after watching all of them, I don't think there was a "bad" movie among them (except maybe Spring on the Peninsula, didn't care too much for that one haha.)
The grading comes from pop quizzes which are essentially impossible not to get an A on if you have the faintest idea of what the movie is about, he might as well be asking if the sky is blue. There are two essays, one on a film from class, and one of your own choosing. I'm not the strongest writer, and I wrote both the night before during crackhead hours and got a 18/20 and 17/20 respectively. The final tests identification based off a quote, which again is painfully obvious if you've seen the films, but you'll have to identify the director of the accompanying film which is the only thing you'll need to "study." One part is a short answer, but the only questions that I didn't think were obvious if you've seen the movies or been to lecture were the ones regarding history. Then there is a long essay regarding any of the themes throughout the films that he makes painfully clear and hammers into you during lectures- again if you've seen the movies and been to some of the lectures, this should not be difficult at all. I only did the readings for the films I really enjoyed, so the majority I did not read, and they did not seem to be tested in any way. And of course there is participation which I think is just from attended discussion.
Overall, I actually thoroughly enjoyed Professor Hanscom and this course. I think everything he had to say was interesting, and his "rambling" made the class seem more like a seminar than a lecture. And if you watch the films, which can be done at 1.5 speed, any of the other assignments should not be difficult at all. I would recommend this class if you are at all interested in the topic or just want to take a class with a quirky and engaging professor :)

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 23, 2019 Grade Received: A-

i was initially very excited when i saw this new addition to the class planner. watching movies and writing some essays didn’t seem to be too bad, and i liked my TA, donghyun, as he was nice and clearly enjoyed his job. however, i absolutely hated this class. hanscom was quite possibly the worst lecturer i’ve encountered at ucla. he’s such a disorganized person who went on the most useless tangents. was he passionate about the topic? yes. but his passion took away from the topic itself. i literally could not bear to listen to him. i would have never gone to class if it wasnt for the pop quizzes he gave. most of the movies assigned were not engaging, even for someone who loves korean movies. his lectures felt like they were irrelevant and ended up not being extremely useful. the assigned readings were absolutely useless and were never tested in any capacity. if you’re going to assign readings, at least do something with them. knowing i spent tuition money on this joke of a class will haunt me. i have not learned a single thing about film history and feel like i wasted 10 weeks of my life on such a messy class. hanscom’s like that professor who is nice and you can tell is trying, but the course fell very flat. don’t take this class. take another GE that will be easier and likely more interesting.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 26, 2019 Grade Received: B+

Hanscom had so much potential. He did not fulfill it. His lectures were so pointless and boring. No one showed up by week 3. Everyone always fell asleep. As long as you watch the movies and know their plot and go to discussion, you're fine. Lecture slides are useful to slightly skim through in preparation for the final, but honestly the discussions prepare you well enough. I got an A on every single assignment (including the final exam) other than ONE quiz, and I ended up with a B+. Is that not extremely unfair? There were no extra credit assignments and no accommodations to even raise my grade slightly.

The grading is as follows:
Essay #1: 20%
Essay #2: 20%
Participation: 20%
Quizzes: 20% (4 pop quizzes, 5% each)
Final Exam: 20%

The final exam should've been weighted more. A single quiz lowered me to a B+. Granted, it was an easy quiz, but such a simple assignment shouldn't have been such a detrimental factor towards my final grade. Don't take this class unless you want to waste your time and get annoyed.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted Aug. 5, 2020
Grade Received: A

HIGHLY recommend this class if you are interested in film and/or Korean culture.

--Structure/Format---
- Readings: required textbook on Korean cinema + 1-3 additional scholarly readings every week
- Lectures: I took this during the first quarter we went online. Lectures were pre-recorded and uploaded to CCLE
- Discussion: typical, participation depends on how actively you contribute.
- Assessment: 3 short essays (~1000 words) 20% each + weekly 1-2 page response papers - 3% each

--Content--
Class is structured around 10 Korean films (1 per week), from the colonial era to modern day, following the trajectory of Korean cinema since its inception. Film selection was pretty good (no, we didn't watch Parasite). There is an overarching focus on the concept of "national cinema" and what makes a film a Korean film, as opposed just a film made in Korea(n). A significant historical and cultural emphasis, but just as much focus on film theory and even some philosophical concepts addressed. Favorite week was when we watched Train to Busan and learned about zombie movies as a genre.

There is a LOT of content covered in each lecture! I was amazed by Prof Hanscom's ability to draw links between both critical perspectives and historical facts -- a more typical prof might have glossed over for the sake of time/clarity. I was constantly having mind=blown moments lol. One of the few classes where I actually watched every lecture for the content, and I have ADHD lol (just take breaks). Like others have commented, Prof Hanscom tends to go on tangents, but they were interesting tangents so I enjoyed it regardless. I much rather a prof who thinks aloud and adds nuggets along the way over one who reads from the slides.

Readings were ehh. I found Prof Hanscom's lectures to be more interesting. One caveat I should add is that if you aren't particularly interested in the subject matter (I already liked watching Korean movies prior to the class) you might find the class dry and maybe unrelatable, especially if you aren't too familiar with Asian/Korean culture.

--Difficulty/Workload--
Outside of watching lectures and movies (1.5x speed is your best friend!) and attending section, I spent ~1-1.5 hours a week on this class (mainly the weekly response paper but you could do it in 30 mins if you wanted). The 3 writing assignments are super doable and could be done in a few hours to half a day. The weekly prompts and paper prompts generally asked for your own interpretation of a certain aspect of the film(s), which you didn't need to have watched lectures or done readings to write about. No outside research required either.

--Overall--
This was one of the most enjoyable classes I've taken at ucla! (But I'm biased, because I was already quite interested in the subject matter.) However, I definitely enjoyed the way the class was designed to be fairly open-ended and to encourage students to think about film (vs regurgitating facts or having to follow a certain critical framework). Prof Hanscom is really knowledgeable and his passion for the topic shines through.

The class was easy to get an A in, but you definitely had to think a bit (as in form your own opinions). Some other classes I've taken treat you like a child and dumb things down for you, while requiring that you jump through hoops like attendance, extra credit, presentations, etc - this class grades simply and puts engagement over assessment, which i really appreciated.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 18, 2020
Grade Received: A-

Based on other reviews, it looks like Professor Hanscom changed the course quite a bit to adjust to the online format. The lectures were prerecorded and uploaded to CCLE, so they could be watched at any time. It was set up so that you watch a film each week and complete all the assigned readings + watch the lectures before Wednesday when a 250-word response was due. There were three longer writing assignments: a film analysis, a comparison between a film and the story it was based on, and a film review. All were pretty straightforward. The majority of the films were interesting (there were some older ones at the beginning of the quarter that were harder to get through) and I found most of the readings pretty interesting. Some of the lectures were longer than they needed to be, but they can be watched at 1.5-2x speed without missing too much

The grade breakdown is 10% participation, 30% weekly response papers, 60% longer writing assignments.

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Tags

  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Participation Matters
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Would Take Again
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