London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

Korean Film and History

Cinema has become a battleground upon which history is made―a major mass medium of the twentieth century dealing with history. The re-enactments of historical events in film straddle reality and fantasy, documentary and fiction, representation and performance, entertainment and education. This interdisciplinary book examines the relationship between film and history and the links between historical research and filmic (re-)presentations of history with special reference to South Korean cinema.

As with all national film industries, Korean cinema functions as a medium of inventing national history and identity, and also establishing their legitimacy―in both forgetting the past and remembering history. Korean films also play a part in forging cultural collective memory. Korea as a colonised and divided nation clearly adopted different approaches to the filmic depiction of history compared to colonial powers such as Western or Japanese cinema. The Colonial Period (1910–1945) and Korean War (1950–1953) draw particular attention as they have been major topics shaping the narrative of nation in North and South Korean films.

Exploring the changing modes, impacts and functions of screen images dealing with history in Korean cinema, this book will be of huge interest to students and scholars of Korean history, film, media and cultural studies.

Source: publisher’s website


  1. Cinematic Battlefield of Memory, Imagination, and Narrative of the Past: A Preface to Korean Film and History | Hyunseon Lee

Part I: Issues, Positions and Approaches to Historical Memory

  1. Making Nations: Film Propaganda in Colonial Korea and Nazi Germany | Yong-Ku Cha
  2. Could History Films Be Rivals of Historians? Historical Criticism Through History Films | Hana Lee
  3. Writing a History Through Cinema: A Focus on Two ‘Comfort Women’ Films | You-shin Joo

Part II: Korean Cinema and the Colonial Period

  1. ‘Be a Soldier’: War and Melodrama in Late Colonial Korea | Moonim Baek
  2. Hyŏnhaet’an, Mon Amour: Colonial Memories and (In)visible Japan in 1960s South Korean Cinema | Hwajin Lee
  3. Screening Collaboration: The Pro-Japanese Korean in 2009 Lost Memories and Modern Boy | Mark E. Caprio

Part III: How to Remember the Korean War, Its Origin and Aftermath

  1. Ghostly Imaginings and Alternative Reckonings in Reiterations of Dissent | Seunghei Clara Hong
  2. Korean War Films: Generational Memory of North Korean Soldiers, Partisans, Brothers, and Women | Hyunseon Lee
  3. Between Protector and Oppressor: Representation of the United States as a Geopolitical Entity in Korean Blockbusters | Chonghyun Choi

Part IV: Archiving Contact Zones

  1. The Agonistics on the Borders In Between Two Koreas: The Politics of Cinematic Representations in Documentary Films on Borders Since 2018 | Woohyung Chon
  2. A Walk Into History With Kim Hong-joon | Hong-joon Kim, Seung-Ah Lee

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.