[KS] film/drama class suggestions
sa_ewing at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 26 12:44:47 EDT 2005
Dear KS list members:
In reply to Hyung Pai's request, I could suggest the website Koreanfilm.org
(http://www.koreanfilm.org/) as a starting point. The site has numerous
features, including reviews of films from 1946 right through to 2005;
bibliographies; biographies of actors, actresses, and directors; and
information on some TV dramas. (A similar site is Korean Cinema Edition
(http://www.cinekorea.com/), with quite a bit of information as well; but it
was last updated in 2004.)
The site contains a brief synopsis of the history of Korean cinema
(http://www.koreanfilm.org/history.html); a longer history (but written in
1998), "An Introduction to Korean Cinema", may be found at at the website
_Hors Champ_ (http://www.horschamp.qc.ca/9810/offscreen_essays/korean.html).
Koreanfilm.org also features a long list of contact information for Korean
film companies, distributors, marketers, etc.
(http://www.koreanfilm.org/contacts.html), as well as a links page
(http://www.koreanfilm.org/links.html) to other sites. A number of the
links are to articles touching on historical aspects of Korean cinema,
including a 1999 _Koreana_ article by Yu Gina, "Renaissance of Korean
Movies," on the early beginnings of the Korean Wave.
Another link is to the syllabus for a 1999 UC Irvine course on Korean film
taught by Kyung Hyun Kim (http://eee.uci.edu/99s/20655/syllabus.html).
(Don't be put off by the recurring date 1999: the Koreanfilm site is very
much up-to-date, and includes a number of reviews for films released in
Another linked site is the Korean Film Archive
http://www.koreafilm.or.kr/english/index.asp), "dedicated to preserving,
collecting, restoring and exhibiting Korean films and other related
documents." A cursory glance at their site reveals a database on Korean
films produced since 1919 (http://www.koreafilm.or.kr/db/db_01.asp; English:
The UCLA Film and Television Archive
(http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/collections/collections.html) includes among its
collection of Hollywood films, a number of Korean films. A topic/genre
search for "Korea" yields the following results:
(Check especially the list under "Korean film":
Most of the titles appear to be non-circulating, but perhaps they loan to
fellow UC faculty?
As for individual films, I have my personal favourites, but I am not in a
position to say that A is better than B and therefore should be included in
your course. Nevertheless, my impression is _Shiri_/_Swiri_
(http://www.koreanfilm.org/kfilm99.html#swiri) is important in historical
terms, for its release in 1999 either kicked off--or at least coincided with
the beginning of--the Korean Wave. It was the first wildly successful,
domestically produced action blockbuster.
The pre-Wave, 1993 film _Seopyonje_
(http://www.koreanfilm.org/kfilm90-95.html#sopyonje) is notable in that it
broke all previous Korean box office records, despite the expectation that
the film would lose money. (The review claims that Im Kwon-Taek was only
allowed to make the movie because of the success of his previous film, _The
General's Son_). It is a beatiful, poetic movie, set in the countryside
and rich with traditional motifs.
Another film of historical note may be the 1989 film _Why Has Bodhi-Dharma
Left for the East?_ (http://www.koreanfilm.org/kfilm80s.html#bodhi), notably
mainly because it was, evidently, for many years the *only* Korean film
discussed outside of Korea (and, as I recall, the only Korean film available
for a long time in my local specialty video store), and won the award for
Best Film at the 42nd Locarno International Film Festival.
Prior to all of these, I suppose the most "important" film would be the
country's first domestic success, the 1926 production _Arirang_, a
metaphorical critique of Japanese colonial power. A review may be seen
Hoping this is of help,
>From: Hyung Pai <hyungpai at eastasian.ucsb.edu>
>Reply-To: Korean Studies Discussion List <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>Subject: [KS] film/drama class suggestions
>Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2005 21:18:47 -0700
>I am in the process of developing a class on Korean film and TV drama. I
>would appreciate recommendations for new books, articles, and appropriate
>films for an introductory class targetted for undergrads who are majoring
>in East Asian studies. I would also like to know about web sites and
>contact info for vendors who sell DVDs or videos. Sources on the Korean
>Wave phenomena and its cultural impact on Japan, China and other countries
>would also be appreciate either in English or Korean. Thank you.
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