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Formidable Attraction: The Figure of the Pro- Japanese Collaborators in Recent South Korean Cinema
Formidable Attraction: The Figure of the Pro- Japanese Collaborators in Recent South Korean Cinema
WhenFriday, Mar 15, 2019, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room202
Event typesLectures/Seminars

South Korean films have historically adhered to a stringent form of nationalism in their depiction of the colonial past. Consequently, the figure of pro-Japanese collaborators has long been portrayed as the ultimate villain who incites collective rage and righteous punishment over the course of a narrative. A series of recent films, however, takes viewers into a different orbit of comprehension in which the psychological depth and complexity of villainous characters receive full attention. For instance, films such as Assassination (2015), The Age of Shadows (2016), and The Handmaiden (2016) resort to the investigative mode of the thriller genre not only to deepen the story arc, but to also self-reflexively call attention to a key visual optic (including, the archetype of the pro-Japanese collaborator) that had long-structured the visualization of the colonial era. By reading the villainy of pro-Japanese collaboration both as a sign of experimentation in film narration, and as a new marker for postcolonial visuality, this presentation strives to illuminate an evolving area of innovation in contemporary South Korean cinema.

Jinsoo An is associate professor at Dept. of East Asian Languages and Cultures of UC Berkeley. An completed a doctoral degree at Dept. of Film and TV of UCLA and subsequently taught at Hongik University in Korea before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 2012. His recent book, "Parameters of Disavowal" reassesses South Korea's cinematic rendition of the colonial past as a particular type of knowledge production integral to the historic-cultural logic of the Cold War system.

For more information, please call 206-543-4873, email or visit….

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