The Melbourne Metropolitan Korean Studies Seminar Series: ‘The South Korean Film Industry’
Dr Sangjoon Lee (Nanyang Technological University)
Date: Thursday 10 May 2018, 4pm-6pm,
Location: Matheson Library, Room T4, Clayton Campus, Monash University
South Korean cinema has been one of the most striking case studies of non-western cinema success stories in the age of the neo-liberal world order where Hollywood dominates the world’s mind, heart, and soul. Under the tsunami of America-led Hollywoodization of the world’s media marketplace, South Korean cinema has successfully defended and keeps maintaining its industry remarkably healthy. In 2001 South Korea became the first film industry in recent history to reclaim its domestic market back from Hollywood. New York-based film magazine Film Comment proclaims that South Korean cinema is “one of the greatest renaissances in global filmmaking the world has ever seen” (2004). And in 2014 local films had a 62% market share in South Korea, the highest such figures in the world, except America and India. In less than two decades, South Korea’s film industry has blossomed from a small-scale curiosity into a vibrant business mimicking the earlier transformation of Hong Kong’s film industry in the process. Moreover, adding to this film industry success story, the high-quality South Korean local product flowed outward to global film markets to connect with international audiences in commercial cinemas, art theatres, at major international film festivals, and new platforms like Netflix and iTunes. Such acclaimed directors like Chan-wook Park, Bong Joon-ho, Hong Sang-soo, Lee Chang-dong, and Kim Jiwoon have now become household names in world cinema today. The goal of this introductory lecture on the Korean film industry is to develop a broad understanding of Korean cinema exploring their wide-ranging impact and asking how they participate in the transnational production and circulation of culture, ideology, modernity, politics, and tradition in both regional and international contexts.
Sangjoon Lee is Assistant Professor of Asian Cinema at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Lee is the editor of Hallyu 2.0: The Korean Wave in the Age of Social Media (University of Michigan Press, 2015) and is currently editing Rediscovering Korean Cinema for University of Michigan Press (forthcoming 2020). His writing has appeared in such journals as Film History, Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, Journal of Korean Studies, Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, and Transnational Cinemas. He is currently working on a monograph tentatively titled The Asian Cinema Network: The Asian Film Festival and the Cultural Cold War in Asia.