The Korean War, To the Starry Island and Spring in my Hometown – Dr Andrew Jackson opens the season of SOAS seminars for the Autumn

The autumn season of Korean studies seminar starts on Friday 12 October with:

The Korean War, To the Starry Island and Spring in my Hometown

Dr Andrew David Jackson (SOAS, University of London)
Date: 12 October 2012
Time: 5:15 PM
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Room: G50

Abstract

Dr Andrew JacksonPak Kwangsu’s To the Starry Island (Kŭ sŏme kagosipta) Yi Kwangmo’s Spring in My Hometown (Arŭmdaun sijŏl) appeared in the 1990’s alongside a group of films that questioned traditional cinematic interpretations of the Korean War (1950-53). Although critically well received, both Pak Kwangsu and Yi Kwangmo were attacked for the contradictory ideological values of their work. In this paper, I approach the films as a historian of collective violence in Korean history and argue that both To the Starry Island and Spring in My Hometown are worthy of a re-examination because of what I call the historical vision of the directors. Both films go further than just offering up a flavour of the past. Unlike Korean War films made before or since the 1990s, these films provide audiences with a genuine insight into the devastation of the Korean War. Pak Kwangsu and Yi Kwangmo place defining characteristics of the Korean War, like the ‘purification’ process, at the centre of the films. In addition, the use of mise-en-scène in To the Starry Island and the cinematography and narrative structure of Spring in My Hometown produce a distinctive historical vision of the Korean War that has never been repeated in celluloid. This paper will feature stills and short extracts from both films.

Speaker Biography

Andrew David Jackson read Korean Studies at the Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University, and the Oriental Institute, Oxford. He obtained his Ph.D in Korean Studies from SOAS, University of London in 2011, where he wrote a dissertation on the Musin rebellion of 1728. Andrew is interested in pre-modern and modern Korean history and society, South Korean film, and theories of rebellion and revolution.

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