Courses > 2020 Spring



EALC 109
401 | SEM | So-Rim Lee | W 2-5pm | WILL 23

In 2019, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite won the Palme d’Or at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival. This event marked the apex of South Korean cinematic renaissance, having steadily become a tour de force in the international film festival scene since 1997 onwards. This course explores the major auteurs, styles, themes, and currents of the so-called “New Korean Cinema” that emerged in the mid-to-late 1990s to continue to this day. Drawing from texts on critical film and Korean studies, we will pay particular attention to how the selected works re-present, resist, and interweave the sociopolitical climate they concern and are born out of. Using cinema as a lens with which to see the society, we will touch upon major events of the twentieth century including national division, military dictatorship and democratization movements, IMF economic crisis, youth culture, hallyu (the Korean wave), and damunhwa (multiculturalism initiative). In so doing, we will closely examine how each cinematic medium addresses the societal power structure and the role of the “Other” it represents in terms of class, race, gender, and sexuality in the construction of contemporary Korean society. We will also briefly survey the history of South Korean cinema that has evolved hand-in-hand with the history of modern Korea itself, walking through its five different phases (1945-Korean War era;1955-1972 “Golden Age”; 1973-1979 censorship era; 1980-1996 democratization era; and 1997 onwards). No prior experience of Korean studies courses necessary; all films will be screened with English subtitles.