Mizoguchi Kenji, Ozu Yasujiro, and Kurosawa Akira are recognized today as three of the most important and influential directors in Japanese cinema. In their films of the late 1940s and 1950s, these directors focused upon issues surrounding the human condition and the perception of truth, history, beauty, death, and other issues of the postwar period. This course will place their films in period context, and will pay particular attention to the connections to other visual media, and to how "art" and "history" are being defined in the cinematic context. How other directors also took up these issues, and referred to the "big three" will also be discussed. Miyazaki Hayao - also took up these issues, and referred to the "big three" will be disussed at the end of the course.