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New Korean Cinema: Mourning to Regeneration

Shin, Seung-hwan (2014) New Korean Cinema: Mourning to Regeneration. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The past two decades saw Korean cinema establishing itself as one of the most vibrant national cinemas in the world. Scholars have often sought clues in democratization in the early 1990s. Yet, the overall condition of Korean cinema had remained hardly promising until the late 1990s, which urges us to rethink the euphoria over democratization. In an effort to find a better account for its stunning and provocative revival, this dissertation challenges the custom of associating the resurgence of Korean cinema with democratization and contends that Korean cinema has gained its novelty and vitality, above all, by confronting the abortive nature of democratic transitions. The overarching concern of this study is thus elucidating the piquant tastes of the thematics and the styles Korean cinema has developed to articulate public discontents with recent historical changes. Chapter one revisits the New Wave era (the late 1980s to the early 1990s) and employs the notion of ssitkim (mourning) to probe how New Wave filmmakers maneuvered between legacies of the democracy movement and public/industrial demands and between historical trauma and rapid changes in the wake of democratization. Chapter two discusses Korean cinema’s reorientations in the second half of the 1990s through films by Lee Chang-dong and Hong Sang-soo. Lee’s investment in the non-linear time narrative offers a notable instance of renegotiations over national history at a time of troubled historical transition. Hong’s rediscovery of everyday life without good sense and depth presents an eloquent commentary on the post-epic milieu. Chapter three adopts Deleuze’s notion of the originary to explain how the revenge narrative and the theme of violence in Park Chan-wook’s films provide a significant critique of the democratized and neo-liberalizing milieu where the faculty of action becomes further frustrated. Chapter four looks to the Manchurian Western, a vernacular hybrid film genre, to investigate how the Western has been integral part of sociocultural formations in South Korea and thereby to demonstrate the need to step beyond restrictive frameworks such as historical and cultural authenticity for a greater understanding of the complex dynamic in transnational uses of popular genres.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Shin, Seung-hwanshs39@pitt.eduSHS39
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLandy, Marciamlandy@pitt.eduMLANDY
Committee MemberMacCabe, Colinmaccabe@pitt.eduMACCABE
Committee MemberLowenstein, Adamalowen@pitt.eduALOWEN
Committee MemberKim, Kyung
Date: 30 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 3 March 2014
Approval Date: 30 May 2014
Submission Date: 18 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 266
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Deterritorialization, National division, Naturalist cinema, Manchurian hwalkuk, Korean New Wave, Minjung discourse
Date Deposited: 30 May 2014 11:49
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:19


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