London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

Political Moods: Film Melodrama and the Cold War in the Two Koreas

Melodrama films dominated the North and South Korean industries in the period between liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945 and the hardening of dictatorship in the 1970s. The films of each industry are often read as direct reflections of Cold War and Korean War political ideologies and national historical experiences, and therefore as aesthetically and politically opposed to each other. However, Political Moods develops a comparative analysis across the Cold War divide, analyzing how films in both North and South Korea convey political and moral ideas through the sentimentality of the melodramatic mode. Travis Workman reveals that the melancholic moods of film melodrama express the somatic and social conflicts between political ideologies and excesses of affect, meaning, and historical references. These moods dramatize the tension between the language of Cold War politics and the negative affects that connect cinema to what it cannot fully represent. The result is a new way of historicizing the cinema of the two Koreas in relation to colonialism, postcolonialism, war, and nation building.

Travis Workman is Associate Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Source: publisher’s website

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.