In this seminar we will examine contemporary Southeast Asian society and culture through the lens of contemporary Southeast Asian films, three each from Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. In discussions about the films in class we will seek to understand how these films mirror modern and traditional aspects of the societies in which they were produced. We will also consider the films as examples of current world cinema and vehicles of storytelling. In their four-page papers for each section of the course, students will address the above broad issues (referencing class discussions when appropriate) in relation to their own experiences and opinions, focusing either on one film or comparing two or three from the same country. Students should plan to participate actively and consistently in class discussions, remembering that class participation makes up 25% of the grade in the course. Previous knowledge of or personal experience with Southeast Asian societies and cultures, and if possible Southeast Asian film, is desired but not required. Students with no previous knowledge of Southeast Asia who have experience watching and discussing a wide range of films from other countries with a critical eye are also welcome. This seminar is part of the Connections@Cal initiative.