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Im Kwon-Taek: The Making of a Korean National Cinema

From the publisher’s website:

Korean cinema was virtually unavailable to the West during the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945), and no film made before 1943 has been recovered even though Korea had an active film-making industry that produced at least 240 films. For a period of forty years, after Korea was liberated from colonialism, a time where Western imports were scarce, Korean cinema became an innovative force reflecting a society whose social and cultural norms were becoming less conservative. Im Kwon-Taek: The Making of a Korean National Cinema is a colleciton of essays written about Im Kwon-Taek, better know as the father of New Korean Cinema, that takes a critical look at the situations of filmmakers in South Korea.

Written by leading Koreanists and scholars of Korean film in the United States, Im Kwon-Taek is the first scholarly treatment of Korean cinema. It establishes Im Kwon-Taek as the only major Korean director whose life’s work covers the entire history of South Korea’s military rule (1961-1992). It demonstrates Im’s struggles with Korean cinema’s historical contradictions and also shows how Im rose above political discord. The book includes an interview with Im, a chronology of Korean cinema and Korean history showing major dynastic periods and historical and political events, and a complete filmography.

Im Kwon-Taek is timely and makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Korean cinema. These essays situate Im Kwon-Taek within Korean filmmaking, placing him in industrial, creative, and social contexts, and closely examine some of his finest films. Im Kwon-Taek will interest students and scholars of film studies, Korean studies, religious studies, postcolonial studies, and Asian studies.

LKL adds:
Contains the following papers:
Kyung Hyun Kim: Korean Cinema and Im Kwon-taek: an overview
David E James: Im Kwon-taek: Korean National Cinema and Buddhism
Eunsun Cho: The Female Body and Enunciation in Adada and Surrogate Mother
Chungmoo Choi: The Politics of Gender, Aestheticism and Cultural Nationalism in Sopyonje and The Genealogy
Cho Hae Joang: Sopyonje: Its cultural and historical meaning
Julian Stringer: Sopyonje and the inner domain of national culture
Yi Hyoin: Fly High, Run Far: Kaebyok and Tonghak ideology
Kyung Hyun Kim: Is this how the war is remembered? Deceptive sex and the remasculinized nation in The Taebaek Mountains
Han Ju Kwak: In defense of continuity: discourses on tradition and the mother in Festival

Also includes an interview with Im Kwon Taek, a timeline of Korean topical events and filmography.

LKL says:

A wide-ranging collection of essays which usefully documents Im’s importance as a filmmaker, from his first attempt in the early 60s to his latest (at the time this book was published, Chunhyang was the most recent).

LKL rating: score-2score-2score-2score-2score-0. Read our review of this book here.

Entry on Goodreads.com here.

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