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Books on film

Work in progress. We’re currently loading books up onto this page. Meanwhile, you’ll find a really good list on Darcy’s site, too.

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The Korean Cinema Book
Ed Nikki Lee, Julian Stringer
BFI, 2021

Publisher description: The volume provides the first detailed and authoritative overview of Korean cinema history, and in so doing develops new historical and critical understandings of Korean cinema from the period of Japanese colonial rule to the present day, with two very different cinematic traditions in this divided peninsula. The contributed chapters approach the subject […] (Link to online store)

Healing Historical Trauma in South Korean Film and Literature
Choi Chungmoo
Routledge, 2020

From the publisher’s website: Through South Korean filmic and literary texts, this book explores affect and ethics in the healing of historical trauma, as alternatives to the measures of transitional justice in want of national unity. Historians and legal practitioners who deal with transitional justice agree that the relationship between historiography and justice seeking is […] (Link to online store)

Films of Bong Joon Ho
Nam Lee
Rutgers University Press, 2020

Publisher description: Bong Joon Ho won the Oscar® for Best Director for Parasite (2019), which also won Best Picture, the first foreign film to do so, and two other Academy Awards. Parasite was the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes. These achievements mark a new career peak for the director, who first achieved wide […] (Link to online store)

Laughing North Koreans: The Culture of Comedy Films
Immanuel Kim
Lexington Books, 2020

Publisher description: This study analyzes North Korean comedy films from the late 1960s to present day. It examines the most iconic comedy films and comedians to show how North Koreans have enjoyed themselves and have established a culture of humor that challenges, subverts, and, at times, reinforces the dominant political ideology. The author argues that […] (Link to online store)

Rediscovering Korean Cinema
Ed Sangjoon Lee
University of Michigan Press, 2019

From the publisher’s website South Korean cinema is a striking example of non-Western contemporary cinematic success. Thanks to the increasing numbers of moviegoers and domestic films produced, South Korea has become one of the world’s major film markets. In 2001, the South Korean film industry became the first in recent history to reclaim its domestic […] (Link to online store)

Vicious Circuits: Korea’s IMF Cinema and the End of the American Century
Joseph Jonghyun Jeon
Stanford University Press, 2019

Publisher description: In December of 1997, the International Monetary Fund announced the largest bailout package in its history, aimed at stabilizing the South Korean economy in response to a credit and currency crisis of the same year. Vicious Circuits examines what it terms “Korea’s IMF Cinema,” the decade of cinema following that crisis, in order to think […] (Link to online store)

A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power
Paul Fischer
Penguin, 2015

Publisher description: It opens with a double kidnapping . . . Madame Choi, South Korea’s most famous actress, is lured to Hong Kong, drugged and smuggled out on a ship. When her ex-husband, Shin Sang-Ok, Korea’s most acclaimed director, goes to look for her, he vanishes too. The pair wake to find themselves in North […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Split Screen Korea: Shin Sang-ok and Postwar Cinema
Steven Chung
University of Minnesota Press, 2014

Publisher description: Shin Sang-ok (1926–2006) was arguably the most important Korean filmmaker of the postwar era. Over seven decades, he directed or produced nearly 200 films, including A Flower in Hell (1958) and Pulgasari (1985) and his career took him from late-colonial Korea to postwar South and North Korea to Hollywood. Notoriously crossing over to the North in 1978, […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Literature and Film in Cold War South Korea: Freedom’s Frontier
Theodore Hughes
Columbia University Press, 2012

Publisher description: Korean writers and filmmakers crossed literary and visual cultures in multilayered ways under Japanese colonial rule (1910–1945). Taking advantage of new modes and media that emerged in the early twentieth century, these artists sought subtle strategies for representing the realities of colonialism and global modernity. Theodore Hughes begins by unpacking the relations among […] (Link to online store)

Virtual Hallyu: Korean Cinema of the Global Era
Kyung Hyun Kim
Duke University Press, 2011

From the publisher’s website: “[T]his fine book . . . . enlarges our vision of one of the great national cinematic flowerings of the last decade.”—Martin Scorsese, from the foreword In the late 1990s, South Korean film and other cultural products, broadly known as hallyu (Korean wave), gained unprecedented international popularity. Korean films earned an […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Illusive Utopia: Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea
Kim Suk-young
University of Michigan Press, 2010

Publisher description: No nation stages massive parades and collective performances on the scale of North Korea. Even amid a series of intense political/economic crises and international conflicts, the financially troubled country continues to invest massive amounts of resources to sponsor unflinching displays of patriotism, glorifying its leaders and revolutionary history through state rituals that can […] (Link to online store)

Seoul Searching: Culture and Identity in Contemporary Korean Cinema
Ed Frances Gateward
SUNY, 2007

Publisher description: 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 […] (Link to online store)

The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema
Kyung Hyun Kim
Duke University Press, 2004

From the publisher’s website: In one of the first English-language studies of Korean cinema to date, Kyung Hyun Kim shows how the New Korean Cinema of the past quarter century has used the trope of masculinity to mirror the profound sociopolitical changes in the country. Since 1980, South Korea has transformed from an insular, authoritarian […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Remembering the Forgotten War: The Korean War Through Literature and Art
Ed Philip West and Suh Ji-moon
M.E. Sharpe, 2000

From the publisher’s website: In contrast to the many books that use military, diplomatic, and historic language in analyzing the Korean War, this book takes a cultural approach that emphasizes the human dimension of the war, an approach that especially features Korean voices. There are chapters on Korean art on the war, translations into English […] (Link to online store) LKL Review