Rediscovering Korean Cinema

Rediscovering Korean Cinema

by Sangjoon Lee

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South Korean cinema is a striking example of non-Western contemporary cinematic success. Thanks to the increasing numbers of moviegoers and domestic films produced, South Korea has become one of the world’s major film markets. In 2001, the South Korean film industry became the first in recent history to reclaim its domestic market from Hollywood and continues to maintain around a 50 percent market share today. High-quality South Korean films are increasingly entering global film markets and connecting with international audiences in commercial cinemas and art theatres, and at major international film festivals. Despite this growing recognition of the films themselves, Korean cinema’s rich heritage has not heretofore received significant scholarly attention in English-language publications.
This groundbreaking collection of thirty-five essays by a wide range of academic specialists situates current scholarship on Korean cinema within the ongoing theoretical debates in contemporary global film studies. Chapters explore key films of Korean cinema, from Sweet Dream, Madame Freedom, The Housemaid, and The March of Fools to Oldboy, The Host, and Train to Busan, as well as major directors such as Shin Sang-ok, Kim Ki-young, Im Kwon-taek, Bong Joon-ho, Hong Sang-soo, Park Chan-wook, and Lee Chang-dong. While the chapters provide in-depth analyses of particular films, together they cohere into a detailed and multidimensional presentation of Korean cinema’s cumulative history and broader significance.
With its historical and critical scope, abundance of new research, and detailed discussion of important individual films, Rediscovering Korean Cinema is at once an accessible classroom text and a deeply informative compendium for scholars of Korean and East Asian studies, cinema and media studies, and communications. It will also be an essential resource for film industry professionals and anyone interested in international cinema.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780472054299
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 12/12/2019
Series: Perspectives On Contemporary Korea Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 612
Sales rank: 238,990
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Sangjoon Lee is Assistant Professor of Asian Cinema at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Rediscovering Korean Cinema Sangjoon Lee 1

1 A Brief History of Korean Cinema Cho Junhyoung 34

2 Sweet Dream (1936) and the Transformation of Cinema in Colonial Korea Brian Yecies 64

3 Spring in the Korean Peninsula (1941): Transcolonial Mise en Abyme Nayoung Aimee Kwon 80

4 A Hometown in the Heart (1949): A Meditation on Freedom and Class Juhn Ahn 95

5 Piagol (1955): Realism and Melodrama in the Anti-communist Film Travis Workman 105

6 Madame Freedom (1956): Spectatorship and the Modern Woman Christina Klein 118

7 Flower in Hell (1958): Stylization, Landscape, and the Presence of War Steven Chung 132

8 The Housemaid (i960): Possessed by the Dispossessed Chris Berry 147

9 Aimless Bullet (1961): Postwar Dystopia, Canonicity, and Cinema Realism Kelly Y. Jeong 160

10 Mist (1967): "Art Cinema" under Dictatorship Chung-kang Kim 173

11 The Road to Sampo (1975): South Korean Mobile Vulgus and Cinematic Affectivity on the Road Hyun Seon Park 187

12 The March of Fools (1975): The Resistant Spirit and Its Limits Han Sang Kim 201

13 Declaration of Idiot (1983): Cinema of Censorship and an Accidental Masterpiece Hyangjin Lee 215

14 Chilsu and Mansu (1988): The Voice of the People Darcy Paquet 233

15 The Night Before the Strike (1990): The Legendary Minjung Realist Film Nam Lee 246

16 My Love, My Bride (1990): A Comedy of Remarriage? Jinhee Choi 260

17 The Murmuring Trilogy (1995-99): Documentary Film as Testimony Hye Jean Chung 274

18 A Petal (1996): Korean Historiography and the Fetishization of the Past Steve Choe 289

19 The Power of Kangwon Province (1998): The Sound of Minimalism Julian Stringer 302

20 Die Bad (2000): Independent Filmmaking by a Cinema Kid Nikki J. Y. Lee 315

21 Ch'unhyang, Chihwaseon, and Hanji: Im Kwon-taek's Use of Nativist Korean Culture as Allegories of Cinema David E. James 330

22 My Sassy Girl (2001): The Taming of the Yopki Kukhee Choo 343

23 Take Care of My Cat (2001): The Architectonics of Female Subjectivity in Post-crisis South Korea Michelle Cho 358

24 Oldboy (2003): Splendor and Truth in the Perversity Kyu Hyun Kim 371

25 Repatriation (2003): A Very Personal Division Markus Nornes 385

26 A Tale of Two Sisters (2003): Sadness and Suffering in South Korean Horror Daniel Martin 395

27 3-Iron (2004): A Cinema of Paradoxes Hye Seung Chung 408

28 The Host (2006): Life in Excess Peter Y. Paik 423

29 Family Ties (2006): Of Journeys and Homes Chi-Yun Shin 435

30 Secret Sunshine (2007): The Canon, the Criterion Collection, and the Question of Cinematic Religion David Scott Diffrient 446

31 The Journals of Musan (2010): North Korean Migrants' Masculinity in South Korea Eun Ah Cho 461

32 Stateless Things (2011): Queer Cinema and the Critique of the Heteronormative Nation-State Ungsan Kim 473

33 Snowpiercer (2013): The Post-historical Catastrophe of a Biopolitical Ecosystem Seung-hoon Jeong 486

34 Ode to My Father (2014): Korean War through Cinema Kyung Hyun Kim 502

35 Train to Busan (2016): Glocalization, Korean Zombies, and a Man-Made Neoliberal Disaster Keith B. Wagner 515

Chronology of Korean Cinema 533

Filmography 539

Contributors 565

Index 577

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