The Korean Wave, or Hallyu phenomenon, has brought South Korean popular culture to the global population. Studies on Korean visual culture have therefore often focused on this aspect, leaving North Korea sidelined and often considered in a negative light because of its political regime. Korean Screen Cultures sets out to redress this imbalance with a broad selection of essays spanning both North and South as well as different methodological approaches, from ethnographic and audience studies to cultural materialist readings. The first section of the book, The South, highlights popular media including online gaming and television drama and concentrates on the margins, in which the very nature of The South is contested. The South and the North examines North Korea as an ideological other in South Korean popular culture as well as discussing North Korean cinema itself. The Global offers new approaches to Korean popular culture beyond national borders and includes work on K-pop and Korean television drama. This book is a vital addition to existing scholarship on Korean popular culture, offering a unique view by providing an imaginary unification of the two Koreas negotiated through local and transnational popular culture flows.
In Tourist Distractions Youngmin Choe uses hallyu (Korean-wave) cinema as a lens to examine the relationships among tourism and travel, economics, politics, and history in contemporary East Asia. Focusing on films born of transnational collaboration and its networks, Choe shows how the integration of the tourist imaginary into hallyu cinema points to the region's evolving transnational politics and the ways Korea negotiates its colonial and Cold War past with East Asia's neoliberal present. Hallyu cinema's popularity has inspired scores of international tourists to visit hallyu movie sets, filming sites, and theme parks. This tourism helps ease regional political differences; reimagine South Korea's relationships with North Korea, China, and Japan; and blur the lines between history, memory, affect, and consumerism. It also provides distractions from state-sponsored narratives and forges new emotional and economic bonds that foster community and cooperation throughout East Asia. By attending to the tourist imaginary at work in hallyu cinema, Choe helps us to better understand the complexities, anxieties, and tensions of East Asia's new affective economy as well as Korea's shifting culture industry, its relation to its past, and its role in a rapidly changing region.
"[T]his fine book . . . . enlarges our vision of one of the great national cinematic flowerings of the last decade."--Martin Scorsese, from the foreword In the late 1990s, South Korean film and other cultural products, broadly known as hallyu (Korean wave), gained unprecedented international popularity. Korean films earned an all-time high of $60.3 million in Japan in 2005, and they outperformed their Hollywood competitors at Korean box offices. In Virtual Hallyu, Kyung Hyun Kim reflects on the precariousness of Korean cinema's success over the past decade. Arguing that state film policies and socioeconomic factors cannot fully explain cinema's true potentiality, Kim draws on Deleuze's concept of the virtual--according to which past and present and truth and falsehood coexist--to analyze the temporal anxieties and cinematic ironies embedded in screen figures such as a made-in-the-USA aquatic monster (The Host), a postmodern Chosun-era wizard (Jeon Woo-chi), a schizo man-child (Oasis), a weepy North Korean terrorist (Typhoon), a salary man turned vengeful fighting machine (Oldboy), and a sick nationalist (the repatriated colonial-era film Spring of Korean Peninsula). Kim maintains that the full significance of hallyu can only be understood by exposing the implicit and explicit ideologies of protonationalism and capitalism that, along with Korea's ambiguous post-democratization and neoliberalism, are etched against the celluloid surfaces.
New Korean Cinema charts the dramatic transformation of South Korea's film industry from the democratization movement of the late 1980s to the 2000s new generation of directors. The author considers such issues as government censorship, the market's embrace of Hollywood films, and the social changes which led to the diversification and surprising commercial strength of contemporary Korean films. Directors such as Hong Sang-soo, Kim Ki-duk, Park Chan-wook, and Bong Joon-ho are studied within their historical context together with a range of films including Sopyonje (1993), Peppermint Candy (1999), Oldboy (2003), and The Host (2006).
The rapid development of Korean cinema during the decades of the 1960s and 2000s reveals a dynamic cinematic history which runs parallel to the nation's political, social, economic and cultural transformation during these formative periods. This book examines the ways in which South Korean cinema has undergone a transformation from an antiquated local industry in the 1960s into a thriving international cinema in the 21st century. It investigates the circumstances that allowed these two eras to emerge as creative watersheds, and demonstrates the forces behind Korea's positioning of itself as an important contributor to regional and global culture, and especially its interplay with Japan, Greater China, and the United States. Beginning with an explanation of the understudied operations of the film industry during its 1960s take-off, it then offers insight into the challenges that producers, directors, and policy makers faced in the 1970s and 1980s during the most volatile part of Park Chung-hee's authoritarian rule and the subsequent Chun Doo-hwan military government. It moves on to explore the film industry's professionalization in the 1990s and subsequent international expansion in the 2000s. In doing so, it explores the nexus and tensions between film policy, producing, directing, genre, and the internationalization of Korean cinema over half a century. By highlighting the recent transnational turn in national cinemas, this book underscores the impact of developments pioneered by Korean cinema on the transformation of 'Planet Hallyuwood'. It will be of particular interest to students and scholars of Korean Studies and Film Studies.
Like many ideological dictatorships of the twentieth century, North Korea has always considered cinema an indispensible propaganda tool. No other medium penetrated the whole of the population so thoroughly, and no other medium remained so strictly and exclusively under state control. Through movies, the two successive leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il propagandized their policies and sought to rally the masses behind them, with great success. This volume chronicles the history of North Korean cinema from its beginnings to today, examining the obstacles the film industry faced as well as the many social problems the films themselves reveal. It provides detailed analyses of major and minor films and explores important developments in the industry within the context of the concurrent social and political atmosphere. Through the lens of cinema emerges a fresh perspective on the history of North Korean politics, culture, and ideology.
How do East Asian cultural heritages in shape film? How are these legacies being revived, or even re-created, by contemporary filmmakers? This collection examines the dynamic interactions between East Asian culture heritages and cinemas in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.