London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

Movie Minorities: Transnational Rights Advocacy and South Korean Cinema

From the publisher’s website:

Rights advocacy has become a prominent facet of South Korea’s increasingly transnational motion picture output, especially following the 1998 presidential inauguration of Kim Dae-jung, a former political prisoner and victim of human rights abuses who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000. Today it is not unusual to see a big-budget production about the pursuit of social justice or the protection of civil liberties contending for the top spot at the box office. With that cultural shift has come a diversification of film subjects, which range from undocumented workers’ rights to the sexual harassment experienced by women to high-school bullying to the struggles among people with disabilities to gain inclusion within a society that has transformed significantly since winning democratic freedoms three decades ago. Combining in-depth textual analyses of films such as Bleak NightOkjaPlanet of SnailRepatriation, and Silenced with broader historical contextualization, Movie Minorities offers the first English-language study of South Korean cinema’s role in helping to galvanize activist social movements across several identity-based categories.

Hye Seung Chung is an associate professor of film and media studies at Colorado State University and the author of Hollywood Asian: Philip Ahn and the Politics of Cross-Ethnic PerformanceKim Ki-duk, and Hollywood Diplomacy: Film Regulation, Foreign Relations, and East Asian Representations (Rutgers University Press). She is the coauthor of Movie Migrations: Transnational Genre Flows and South Korean Cinema (Rutgers University Press).

David Scott Diffrient is a professor of film and media studies at Colorado State University and the author of M*A*S*H and Omnibus Films: Theorizing Transauthorial Cinema. He is the coauthor of Movie Migrations: Transnational Genre Flows and South Korean Cinema (Rutgers University Press).


Introduction: “I Am a Human Being”: The Question of Rights in South Korean Cinema

Part I Institutional Foundations and Formal Structures

  1. The Rise of Rights-Advocacy Cinema in Postauthoritarian South Korea
  2. If You Were Me: Transnational Crossings and South Korean Omnibus Films

Part II Movie Minors and Minor Cinemas

  1. Hell Is Other High Schoolers: Bigots, Bullies, and Teenage “Villainy” in South Korean Cinema
  2. Indie Filmmaking and Queer Advocacy: Converging Identities in Leesong Hee-il’s Films and Writings

Part III Disability Rights in Mainstream and Minoritarian Filmmaking

  1. AlwaysBlind, and Silenced: Disability Discourses in Contemporary South Korean Cinema
  2. Barrier-Free Cinema: Caring for People with Disabilities and Touching the Other in Planet of Snail 

Part IV Representing Prisoners of the North and South

  1. Beyond Torture Epistephilia: The Ethics of Encounter and Separation in Kim Dong-won’s Repatriation 
  2. Story as Freedom or Prison? Narrative Invention and Human Rights Interventions in Camp 14: Total Control Zone 

Part V Migrant Worker Rights in Hybrid Documentaries

  1. Between Scenery and Scenario: Landscape, Narrative, and Structured Absence in a Korean Migrant Workers Documentary
  2. “Powers of the False” and “Real Fiction”: Migrant Workers in The City of Cranes and Other Mockumentaries

Part VI Nonhuman Rights in a Posthuman World

  1. Animal Rights Advocacy, Holocaustal Imagery, and Interspecies Empathy in An Omnivorous Family’s Dilemma and Okja

Coda: “I Am (Not) a Human Being”: The Question of Robot Rights in South Korean Cinema

Entry on here.

* 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.