"He says the unspeakable and touches the untouchable": representations of Korean identity in the films of Kim Ki-duk

Harper, Mark (2009) "He says the unspeakable and touches the untouchable": representations of Korean identity in the films of Kim Ki-duk. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    In the last decade there has been a significant rise in the popularity of South Korean cinema both in the country itself and on a global scale. This dissertation focuses on one of the directors to become a well known name in his native country and internationally: Kim Ki-duk. He is one of the most innovative and controversial directors to rise from the new wave of South Korean directors. This work will focus upon the representations of Korean identity in Kim's films and how, within his films, he uses subtle connotations of South Korea's turbulent past, with the use of detailed textual analysis, specifically utilising the events in the twentieth century. The first chapter studies the films 3-Iron and Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring and how these films convey to the audience the affect on South Korean society since the Japanese annexation, and Kim Ki-duk's use of the 'voiceless character' within his cinema. The second chapter uses Kim's two most overtly political films, Address unknown and The coast guard, to show how the most significant event in recent Korean history, the Korean War, has had the most considerable impact on contemporary Korean society. Aspects include the division of the country and how this affects the Korean people on both sides of the border. Also under study will be the notion of US colonialism within South Korea and how the towns situated near the US military camps are affected by such notions. The third chapter will show that films Bad Guy and Samaritan Girl are ways in which Kim highlights the socio-historical issues that women face in past and present Korean society. The chapter will focus on the winnabu during World War II and the Confucian society that South Korea adopts. The overall focus of this dissertation is to show how socio-historical events in South Korea are now being addressed in the contemporary cinema to comment on contemporary Korean identity.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:15
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/688

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