2017: Violence and the Colonial Period

Filme. Kolonialzeit in Korea.
The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus,  Volume 15 | Issue 12 | Number 3 | Jun 15, 2017
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.

Vicarious Politics: Violence and the Colonial Period in Contemporary South Korean Film
대리 정치: 현대 한국영화에 나타난 폭력과 식민시대 조선
代理政治: 現代韓国映画における暴力と植民地時代朝鮮

Kevin Michael Smith

This article examines four recent South Korean action drama films dealing with the Japanese colonial period and the Korean nationalist resistance movement in particular – Chung Chiu’s Modern Boy (2008), Ch’ae Tong-hun’s Assassination (2015), Kim Chi-un’s The Age of Shadows (2016), and Hŏ Chin-ho’s The Last Princess (2016). It explores the ways in which these films valorize armed anti-colonial resistance through a spectacular form of violence detached from real everyday politics during the colonial period and which hermetically seals such past political involvement from any corresponding activity in the present. The result of this, I will argue, is the repression not only of the memory of mass political mobilization under Japanese rule, but of the 1980s-era minjung or “people’s” movement as well, having significant implications for how contemporary social movements may be imagined and represented. 

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