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Seoul Searching: Culture and Identity in Contemporary Korean Cinema

From the publisher’s website:

Korean cinema as industry, art form, and cultural product.

Seoul Searching is a collection of fourteen provocative essays about contemporary South Korean cinema, the most productive and dynamic cinema in Asia. Examining the three dominant genres that have led Korean film to international acclaim—melodramas, big-budget action blockbusters, and youth films—the contributors look at Korean cinema as industry, art form, and cultural product, and engage cinema’s role in the formation of Korean identities.

Committed to approaching Korean cinema within its cultural contexts, the contributors analyze feature-length films and documentaries as well as industry structures and governmental policies in relation to transnational reception, marketing, modes of production, aesthetics, and other forms of popular culture. An interdisciplinary text, Seoul Searching provides an original contribution to film studies and expands the developing area of Korean studies.


Introduction – Frances Gateward

Part 1: Industry Trends and Popular Genres

  1. Korean Cinema after Liberation: Production, Industry, and Regulatory Trends – Seung Hyun Park
  2. Christmas in August and Korean Melodrama – Darcy Paquet
  3. Storming the Big Screen: The Shiri Syndrome – Chi-Yun Shin and Julian Stringer
  4. Timeless, Bottomless Bad Movies: Or, Consuming Youth in the New Korean Cinema – David Desser

Part 2: Directing New Korean Cinema

  1. Scream and Scream Again: Korean Modernity as a House of Horrors in the Films of Kim Ki-young – Chris Berry
  2. Forgetting to Remember, Remembering to Forget: The Politics of Memory and Modernity in the Fractured Films of Lee Chang-dong and Hong Sang-soo – Hye Seung Chung and David Scott Diffrient
  3. Reflexivity and Identity in Park Chul-soo’s Farewell, My Darling – Hyangsoon Yi
  4. Nowhere to Hide: The Tumultuous Materialism of Lee Myung-se – Anne Rutherford
  5. Closing the Circle: Why Has Bodhidharma Left for the East? – Linda C. Ehrlich

Part 3: Narratives of the National

  1. Waiting to Exhale: The Colonial Experience and the Trouble with My Own Breathing – Frances Gateward
  2. Crossing the Border to the “Other” Side: Dynamics of Interaction between North and South Koreans in Spy Li Cheol-jin and Joint Security Area – Suk-Young Kim
  3. Race, Gender, and Postcolonial Identity in Kim Ki-duk’s Address Unknown – Myung Ja Kim
  4. Transgressing Boundaries: From Sexual Abuse to Eating Disorders in 301/302 – Diane Carson
  5. Taking the Plunge: Representing Queer Desire in Contemporary South Korean Cinema – Robert L. Cagle

List of Contributors

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.