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Asian Studies

Asian Studies


The Middle Kingdom today - how China is viewed through the eyes of the democratic nations of the world.

Geography - The all important geography of China and how it has affected China's past.

The Dynasties of China - A brief overview of the Dynasties of China, remarkable for their duration and the peace and stability they engendered.

About Confucius - Confucius and his thinking, and how he came to dominate the Chinese world view.

Writing and control - The establishment of the Chinese character script and how it affected the controls of government.

Modern China - The establishment of modern China and its current undemocratic government.

DVD / 50 minutes

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Superstition - Superstition, like everywhere else in the world, largely dominated the Chinese mind in early times.

Commentators on the works of Confucius - Confucian ideas established themselves but there were many commentators over the following centuries who muddied the waters.

The Han Dynasty - The Han dynasty was principally responsible for making Confucian ideas the norm for government and society.

Taoism - Taoism, growing out of early animism, developed ideas of non-interference in the ways of nature.

Buddhism - Buddhism, imported from India, introduced ideas of rebirth and reward for good conduct.

China and Tibet - Today China rules Tibet as it has always done. A largely Buddhist country, it has problems with the secular Chinese.

Sung Education and the Mandarin Bureaucracy - In the Sung dynasty, education according to Confucian principles was established on a huge and influential scale.

DVD / 50 minutes

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Art and the Bronzes - After trying to establish what art is we look at the wonderful bronze work of early times in China.

Ceramics - Fine ceramics from many different ages have come down to us; in particular the Tang Sung and Ming dynasty ware.

The Chinese Character Script - The Chinese character script is difficult to learn but beautiful to see and writing it is regarded as an art form.

Poetry - Poets have always been held in high regard in China. Even in translation their particular beauties shine through.

Literature - Literature in the form of plays and novels developed in later centuries just as they did in other parts of the world.

Epilogue - After their early brilliance, under a deeply conservative leadership, the talents of the Chinese in all fields began to be stifled and consequently to decay.

DVD / 50 minutes

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Music - Music was much enjoyed by Confucius who saw it as a basic element of human harmony.

Houses, Gardens and the Honourable man - With due Confucian regard for order and control over nature, the Chinese gardens are amongst the greatest beauties of the land.

Painting and the Honourable man - For many centuries Chinese painters have wonderfully depicted the people and the landscape.

Science - No society has done so much for science; their great qualities of curiosity and invention have been an immeasurable gift to the world.

Descent into chaos - As the Confucian ethic is dimmed and clouded by blind conservatism, battered by outside forces, Chinese society disintegrates.

DVD / 50 minutes

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Taiping Rebellion - Driven partly by the injustices suffered by the poor and a muddled view of the religious beliefs imported by western missionaries, the Taiping Rebellion rocked China to the core.

Japan - Japan, looked down on by the Chinese as of little import, displays how it has adapted to the times as the Chinese have not.

The Boxers and the end of the empire - As the empire collapses, a secret society called the Boxers feebly attempts to drive out the foreigners.

Japan and the Communist takeover - Japan invades and after the second world war the Communists take over and impose order.

China and the Communists - The rule of Mao and the Communists.

Overseas Chinese - Effective Overseas Chinese communities.

China: The Great Dilemma - The Great Dilemma which faces the Chinese today is how to bring about the democratic freedoms which society deserves without bringing Chaos yet again.

DVD / 50 minutes

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A documentary history of the city of Bangkok from it's foundation at the end of the 18th century up to the last quarter of the twentieth.

The film was shot in 1973 when Thailand was on the cusp of it's astounding development into the vibrant and astonishingly modern city it now is with skyscrapers and expressways on every hand. By showing glimpses of a time long gone the film is itself now a piece of history.

With the founding of Bangkok came the founding of the remarkable Chakri dynasty of absolute kings who have led the country so ably through the complexities of the last two centuries; the film outlines some of their major contributions up to those of the present king. Still today the place of the now constitutional monarchy is kernel as the country struggles to establish its fragile democracy and the film goes some way to explain this. It also brings out the lives of ordinary people and some of the many distinctive elements of the Bangkok world.

DVD / 40 minutes

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RAMA 6th King of Siam

The video follows the life of King Vajiravudh, Rama 6th of the Chakri dynasty of Siam, modern Thailand. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been colonised by a western power and King Vajiravudh was the first Thai king to have been educated in the west. In the eyes of the world rather overshadowed by his charismatic father King Chulalongkorn (best known to the world at large as the king in the musical the King and I) King Vajiravudh was an unusually talented and sensitive man who learned a great deal from his life in England and who committed himself to continuing the reform of his country begun by his father. Trying to be a democrat and a monarch with absolute power was a difficult act. He soon began appointing people on merit and not because they were his brothers or cousins. This was not the way to win the support of the ruling clique. However up to his sudden and unexpected death in 1926 he clung tenaciously to his beliefs and worked tirelessly and often very effectively for his country. The programme was made with the support of the Museum to his memory in Bangkok and is dedicated to the remarkable school he founded, Vajiravudh College.

DVD / 50 minutes

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Director: Barry Strugatz

The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West is a feature documentary about Tai Chi and one of its greatest masters, Cheng Man-Ching, a man who brought Tai Chi and Chinese culture to the West during the swinging, turbulent 60's. Though Cheng is an important transformational figure, his teachings have been overlooked. This documentary film tells the story of his remarkable life and features Tai Chi as a martial art and a spiritual practice.

DVD / 2016 / 67 minutes

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The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide on 26th June 2015, marking a new milestone for homosexuality rights. Whereas in China, the ways homosexuals are treated may have improved after the removal of homosexuality from the list of psychiatric disorders in 2001, their lives continue to be filled with numerous difficulties. By gathering stories from 9 different cities and interviewing over a dozen homosexuals as well as their family members, the programme thoroughly reveals the truest sides of the homosexual community in China.

Episode 1 Why Me
It has been a constant debate whether homosexuality is born or made, and most homosexuals tend to feel the same frustration at first ¡V why am I different? Yue Jianbo regards a childhood experience as the cause of his homosexuality, while Tao Tao realized his interest in the same sex only after he was married and has children. In this episode, they share what they have been through from the fear and denial of discovery to self-recognition.

Episode 2 Surround Me
"Coming out of the closet" is a figure of speech describing homosexuals¡¦ self-disclosure of their sexual orientation. In China, many homosexuals are still hesitated to come out. Li Peng chose to lie to his family because he is afraid of letting them down. Xiao Tao, on the other hand, told his mother the truth out of no choice and was relieved by her acceptance. Let Xiao Tao's mother tell you how she coped with the news.

Episode 3 Marry Me
Many traditional families in China think marriage is essential and parental involvement is needed to expedite the process. Under such pressure, Zhang Xiaoyu and Yue Jianbo who compromised and married the opposite sex both have their marriages ended miserably. Lily used "marriage of convenience" to satisfy her parents¡¦ request. On the contrary, Xiao Tao and his boyfriend, Xiao Xin have the blessings from their families to get married in the United States.

Episode 4 Save Me
How can the voices of the homosexuals be heard when ignorance and discrimination are all around? The ones featured in this episode have found their own ways to fight for their own rights. Liu Shi is an AIDS patient, but it did not stop him from flying all the way to Cleveland to join the Gay Games 2014. Yan Zi won the lawsuit against the clinic that performed "gay conversion therapy" on him, and the verdict marked another important step in proving homosexuality is not mental illness.

VOD (2 Years) / 2015 / 120 minutes

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North Korea celebrated the 70th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party with a military parade in Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung Square On 10th October 2015. It appeared to be the largest military parade the country has ever thrown. International media were also invited to cover the celebration. In the programme, the crew arrives at Pyongyang to witness this country-wide celebration with extravagant military parade and performances.

Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, the only North Korean university that is jointly operated with parties outside the country uses English as its medium of instruction. Only the most outstanding students will be admitted into this university and all its faculty members are foreign educators who came to teach voluntarily without compensation. In a visit to this modern university with a heavy political atmosphere, our crew takes the opportunity to explore its teaching and learning environment as well as its influence to the future of the country.

To learn more about the food crisis that has been troubling North Korea for two decades, our crew initiates a tour to Jangchon cooperative farm to take a look at the latest developments of the country's agriculture. Meanwhile, the crew also goes to Mansugyo Meat and Fish Shop to get a better picture of the food rationing system of North Korea as well as the unreasonable price of the non-rationed food.

Just like its leader Kim Jong-un who has demonstrated improved level of confidence and motivation in his speech at the military parade, North Korea itself is indeed also showing numerous changes and improvements in these years. The crew's journey to North Korea this year captures not only the latest differences seen in the country compared to the past, but also the little known facts behind all its portrayed magnificence and unity.

VOD (2 Years) / 2015 / 80 minutes

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Director: Atsushi Funahashi

Nuclear Nation II follows a new group of people exiled from Futaba, the region occupied by the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Since the 1960s, Futaba had been promised prosperity with tax breaks and major subsidies to make up for the presence of the plant... until the townspeople lost their homeland on March 11, 2011.

The film portrays their lives as refugees in an abandoned high school, and in temporary housing. The political fallout from the nuclear disaster results in conflict between residents, and the mayor is forced to resign. Many decide to move back to Fukushima prefecture, just outside the evacuation zone. The town finds itself divided by the arbitrariness of evacuation, radiation levels, and compensation guidelines from the plant's operator. And then, the Japanese government announces a plan to turn Futaba into an official, literal wasteland.

Is it possible to truly compensate the townspeople for what they have lost? Through their agonies and frustrations, the film questions the real cost of nuclear energy and unbridled capitalism. But perhaps more important, this film gives a fully textured, all-access account of governmental bureaucracy's attempt and ultimate incapacity to adequately deal with displaced peoples. This is a problem we continue to face: Hurricane Katrina uprooted over a million people in the Gulf Coast region, more than a million migrants and refugees entered Europe in 2015, and over 11 million unauthorized immigrants seek home in the United States. There are over 60 million refugees worldwide.

Teachers and students looking to understand the depth of challenges facing the fair and efficient administration of human rights in times of crisis will be pleased to find Nuclear Nation II.

DVD (Japanese with English subtitles) / 2015 / 114 minutes

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Director: John Junkerman

Okinawa: The Afterburn is the first documentary to provide a comprehensive look at the battle and the ensuing 70-year occupation of Okinawa by the United States military.

On April 1, 1945, American troops landed on Okinawa, beginning a battle that lasted 12 weeks and claimed the lives of some 240,000 people. The film depicts the Battle through the eyes of Japanese and American soldiers who fought each other on the same battlefields, along with Okinawa civilians who were swept up in the fighting, with carefully selected footage from the U.S. National Archives.

The film also conveys the complex postwar fate of Okinawa, an island that has had to live side-by-side with an extensive array of US bases, and the related crimes, accidents, and pollution they have caused, while coexisting, on a personal level, with the occupying soldiers.

In Okinawa, the legacy of the war translates into a deeply rooted aversion to military force. This has been expressed in recent years by the island-wide rejection of the plan to build a new US base at Henoko, a source of controversy to this day. Okinawa: The Afterburn explores the roots of this resistance and Okinawa's vision for the future.


PART 1: The Battle of Okinawa depicts the ferocious battle through the testimony of Japanese and American soldiers who faced off in the conflict.

PART 2: Occupation reveals how military occupation policies were implemented.

PART 3: The Afterburn confronts the history of sexual violence that has accompanied the American military presence on Okinawa.

PART 4: To the Future explores the Japanese government's decision to build a new base in Henoko.

DVD (English and Japanese with English subtitles) / 2015 / 121 minutes

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In the extreme northeast of North Korea, there is a rarely mentioned city called Rason. With its advantageous geographical location near the borders of China and Russia, Rason Special City was among the first to become North Korea's special economic zone in 1991. Domestic economic reforms and foreign investment projects are in full swing in this special area.

Aquatic products processing activity contributed much to the domestic economic development of Rason Special City. Workers of Suchobong Aquatic Products Company worked extremely hard to process the aquatic products to be ready for export in return for an annual foreign earning of USD 1 million for North Korea.

Rason Special City welcomes foreign investment. Among the foreign investors, Russia had leased a pier on Rajin Port for 49 years, while China had constructed a highway connecting Wonjeong Customs and Rajin Port. China also sent experts and modern equipment to Rason Special City to teach the local farmers how to improve farming methods and increase yields.

Since Kim Jong-un became the leader of North Korea, he had been trying to show a new and modern image of the country to the world. Though the diplomatic relations are still tense, Rason Special City is conducting economic reforms at its own pace. Following the entertaining and fashionable music performed by Moranbong Band, an all-female westernised band set up by Kim Jong-un, the programme reveals the current situation in this experimenting economic zone.

VOD (2 Years) / 2014 / 60 minutes

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Following the rapid development of India in recent years, it is predicted to be the third largest economy in the world by 2024. Meanwhile in this particular country, the extreme contrast between the poor and rich is distinctively shown from the side-by-side existence of slums and modern cosmopolitan buildings. In the programme, host Lu Chen visits Mumbai, the most significant microcosm of India's development to discover the boundless energy of this mysterious ancient land.

Being the first country in Asia to own a train, railway remains the most important mean of transportation in India today. The history of rail transport has also played an important role in shaping the Indian cultures. However, with the population density continues to surpass the carrying capacity, the terrifying scene of train surfing is still very common here. Let Lu Chen show you some of its truest facts through a train ride around Mumbai.

Despite the fact that Mumbai is showing the charms of a vibrant metropolis, half of its citizens are actually residing in slums. Among the 2000 slums that spread all over the city, Dharavi, Asia's largest slum is definitely the one that most known in the world. Apart from serving as a shelter for a million residents there, Dharavi is also a hub of small-scale industries initiated by the poor. Inside its seemingly disorganized exteriors, there is in fact a well arranged environment for the poor to work for their lives. Lu Chen walks through the streets and lanes of Dharavi to learn more about this slum and its inseparable connection with the urbanization of Mumbai.

What's more, Lu Chen visits the sites of two iconic traditional industries in Mumbai, Dabbawala and open air laundromat before she drops by some residences to get a sense of the living condition of the locals. Here you will discover the energetic sides of this incredible nation.

VOD (2 Years) / 2014 / 30 minutes

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Director: Guillaume Suon

Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians work abroad, and over a third have been sold as slaves. Most are young women, held prisoner and forced to work in horrific conditions, sometimes as prostitutes. Featuring brutally candid testimony, The Storm Makers is a chilling expose of Cambodia's human trafficking underworld and an eye-opening look at the complex cycle of poverty, despair and greed that fuels this modern slave trade.

At the age of 16, Aya was sold to work as a maid in Malaysia. She was exploited, beaten and eventually ran away, only to be captured and raped. When she returns to Cambodia with an infant son, just as poor as when she left, her mother greets her not with joy, but with anger that her daughter has come back with yet another mouth to feed instead of money. "I should have died over there," says Aya in a singsong, childlike voice that masks the horrors she endured.

Pou Houy, 52, is a successful trafficker who runs a recruitment agency in Phnom Penh and claims to have sold more than 500 girls. Shockingly outspoken and expressing no remorse, he sees himself as a smart businessman and good Christian.

Pou Houy's enterprise relies on local recruiters who bring him candidates from their rural communities. One of these is Ming Dy, who sold her own daughter and continues to supply Houy with new recruits from her village. In one wrenching scene, Ming Dy's husband cannot bring himself to speak to his daughter when she calls from a new job abroad, where she earns a dollar a day. "I told my wife not to sell young people from the village," he says. "Buddha condemns those who sell people like animals."

As Amnesty International, the United Nations, other NGOs, and governments argue over the best way to protect vulnerable migrants, The Storm Makers shows the real consequences for individuals, their families and communities.

DVD (Khmer with English Subtitles) / 2014 / 66 minutes

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Directed by Cary McClelland, Imran Babur (Co-Director)

Six bold Pakistanis from very different walks of life attempt to build a new future while struggling with their country's current crisis.

Six bold people navigate the dangerous waters of Pakistan's current crisis to discover a new tomorrow: a cricket star starts a progressive political party, a female journalist goes behind Taliban lines, an ex-mujahid seeks redemption, a trucker crosses dangerous territory to feed his family, a supermodel pushes feminism through fashion, and a subversive Sufi rocker uses music to heal.

Filmed by a team of Americans and Pakistanis over two years, WITHOUT SHEPHERDS cuts through alarmist media depictions of the country to celebrate the bravery of its people.

DVD / 2013 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 145 minutes

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Director: Wang Xiaoshuai

One of China's foremost Sixth Generation directors, Wang Xiaoshuai (Beijing Bicycle, Shanghai Dreams) tells a striking, autobiographical coming-of-age tale set in the final days of China's Cultural Revolution in his new film 11 Flowers.

Eleven-year-old Wang Han lives with his family in a remote village in Guizhou province. Life is tough, but they make the most of what little they have. When Wang is selected to lead his school through their daily gymnastic regimen, his teacher recommends that he wear a clean, new shirt in honor of this important position a request that forces his family to make a great sacrifice. But one afternoon, soon after Wang is given the precious shirt, he encounters a desperate, wounded man, who takes it from him. The man is on the run, wanted by the authorities for murder. In no time the fates of Wang and the fugitive are intertwined.

Beautifully performed by a troupe of child actors, and vividly creating a sense of time and place, 11 Flowers is a delicate and moving film about growing up in a time of great upheaval.

DVD (Mandarin, Shanghainese with English Subtitles) / 2011 / 115 minutes

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