7papers in this issue.
Park Jong-won’s debut film “Guro Arirang,” based on a short story of the same title by Lee Moon-yeol, is the first commercial film to deal with labor struggles from a worker’s point of view in the wake of the 1987 democratic movement, and a pioneering work in terms of representing female workers the Korean cinema has traditionally turned away from. In this film Park Jong-won tried to win the sympathy of the middle class for labor movement in spite of the red scare which still stood firm in the Korean society at that time. To convey its progressive message in a form acceptable to the middle class public, the film portrays labor issues in the light of universal humanity and ethics, not in terms of class hostility or struggle. Park Jong-won calls this point of view “common sense of normal people” and emphasizes its universality and objectivity. This study critically examines the cinematic strategies to deal with labor issues in a form acceptable to the public in a conventional and commercial film and the ideological implications of the “common sense of normal people” reflected in such strategies. The first chapter of the study reveals that the film destroys the irony of the original story and reduces the complex constellation of the characters to the conflict between pure good and evil, creating a melodramatic composition in which the good falls victim to evil. The tragedies suffered by the workers in the film are of course intended to arouse the audience’s strong sympathy and solidarity with them. The second chapter shows that the film’s various scenes and episodes converge on the them of compassion and grief, and are mostly based on cultural and real experiences and events that caused great public sensations at that time. Especially in the last decisive scene of the movie, the memory of the June 1987 uprising is strongly recalled. So “Guro Arirang” can be seen as a patchwork of proven cases of compassion and grief. The third chapter examines the implications of the scene where the workers turn back demands for wages and put the issues of human treatment and trust to the forefront at the crucial moment of their struggle. It appeals to universal moral values and sentiments that everyone has to acknowledge and removes the political dimension from the workers’ campaign. While the film tends to become a pure story of humanity marginalizing irreconcilable conflicts of class interest, the workers fall to the position of passive victims who can be deeply sympathetic on the one hand, and on the other, are idealized as leaders with noble attitude keeping themselves aloof from the hard reality. As a result, the movie loses its realistic ground and weakens its narrative probability. The scenes reminiscent of the 1987 uprising which evoke the solidarity between working and middle class fail to integrate harmoniously into the whole story of the film and remain only as fragmentary parts of the patchwork of compassion and grief.
After comparing three video dramas based on Yoon Sim-duk and Kim Woo-jin, this paper intensively explores the movie Praise of Death(1991), which has the most meaningful traits in embodying the characters, focusing on the relationship with the previous works of the director or an actress. The movie Yoon Sim-duk(1969) focuses on meiodramatic narrative around the issue like love triangle or a relationship between out-of-wedlock woman and the wife of one man. The TV drama Praise of Death(2018) is pursuing ideal youth genre between attractive two lovers adorning even the suffering of the Japanese occupation with customary visual image. In comparison, the movie Praise of Death(1991) focuses on visual beauty, while overlaps the agony of two characters as pioneering artists with frustrated love narrative. In the process, this film reveals two-sided characteristics, especially the heroine, compared to the other two. She shows a rift between the passivity for the salvation of man and the activity of choosing even the fall of her own life. In order to examine this trait, we have to explore the other works which affect the movie Praise of Death. This came from the tendency director Kim Ho-sun and actress Jang Mi-hee had built in 1970s films. It also relates in the movies Jang Mi-hee had worked with director bae Chang-ho in the 1980s. The tendency to show a pursuit of classical cultures in the field of popular movies, and to overlap the problems of desire, including sexuality, with mental and intellectual issues, continues from the previous films to the movie Praise of Death for shaping a main female character. This study results in examining the movie Praise of Death in two contexts. One is the context of three video dramas having same materials, Yoon Sim-duk and Kim Woo-jin. And other is the context of the works that director Kim Ho-sun and actress Jang Mi-hee have continued together, or the works that Jang Mi-hee have continued with director Bae Chang-ho. Until now, Yoon Sim-duk and Kim Woo-jin has been used as a material for cultural contents in the various genres over and over again. Under this circumstance, by looking at this movie, one of representative case dealing with Yoon and Kim, in the complex context, it can reaffirm the effect and difficulty in fictionalisation of them as a subject matter.
This article aims to examine the Sinpa of Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds. Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds was a box office hit with a 10 million attendance mark, but it was also criticized as a ‘Korean Sinpa’ at the time of its release. The original version of Along with the Gods is a Webtoon called Singwahamkke in Korean. The popularity of Singwahamkke and its adaptation, Along with the Gods was enormous, which prompted a very active research to be carried about the work. However there are only a few articles which analyze the Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds focusing on the Sinpa, even though the Sinpa of the Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds was a highly controversial issue when the movie was released. In this regard, this article tries to examine the Sinpa of the Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds closely, especially by comparing it with the original webtoon Singwahamkke Jeoseung. The body part of this article is composed of three major parts: chapters 2, 3, and 4. Chapter 2 contains an in depth explanation about the notion of Sinpa, the main conceptual research tool for this study. In chapter 3, the original webtoon Singwahamkke Jeoseung is examined closely. This chapter analyzes the ‘Sinpajeok moment’ in Singwahamkke Jeoseung and argues that despite the presence of Sinpa elements, the webtoon cannot be considered a ‘Sinpajeok text’. On the other hand the main subject of chapter 4 is discovering what effect the adaptation from webtoon to movie had on this work, with a particular focus on the gender of Sinpa and Kim Ja-hong. Chapter 5, which corresponds to the conclusion, briefly evaluates the social significance of the controversy arisen in South Korea about the Sinpa in Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds. Sinpa is one of the most repeated code in the realm of Korean popular narrative. This is why the Sinpa of contemporary text is examined continuously even though there are already plenty of studies on the Sinpa. Everyone has called Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds Sinpa but no one has properly analyzed it. It is hoped that this article which closesly examined the Sinpa in Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds contribute to the field of Sinpa. It is also expected that this article can find appropriate contextual meaning of the series of Along with the Gods.
The film Burning (Lee Chang-dong, 2018) is one of the most noted Korean films in recent years as a work that unfolds an elaborate narrative in a delicate visualization. This film is a multi-vocal text in which different types of characters appear and scattered objective facts and ambiguous subjective desires are intertwined, so it is a text that has room for diverse interpretations. This article attempts to read Burning as an ethical discourse centered on the protagonist Jong-su, noting that the film raises universal and significant ethical issues that transcend the specific social and historical conditions of a contemporary Korean youth. I would like to examine the situation in which Jong-su is facing and his reaction to it, above all, from the perspective of Jong-su’s ethical awakening and leap forward. Jong-su, a young South Korean non-regular man living in the present, encounters and connects with Hae-mi and Ben and attempts to understand the mysteries of the world. His trajectory, which the film shows closely, inevitably intersects the social and historical dimension of confusion and frustration of a young man graduated from the Department of Creative Writing, the reality of family dissolution and the individual psychological dimension of the sudden disappearance of his lover Hae-mi. Burning is a magistrate film that depicts Jong-su as an ethical subject oriented toward ‘communal togetherness’ while confronting the world and exploring its mysteries despite all his unfavorable conditions, such as his social position of the precariat youth and the epistemological uncertainty of reality perception. It is read as a story of his painful growth, in which Jong-su is becoming a ‘writer’, who once was a helpless non-regular delivery worker.
This study analyzes type variations of the ‘stepmother’ and ‘sister’ in the full-length novels of Park Kyong-Ni and attempted to point out their meanings. The pattern of “negative stepmother” that appeared in classical and new novels also appeared repeatedly in Park Kyong-Ni’s full-length novels and this was because a change took place in later full-length novels. Novels analyzed with focus were Jaegwiyeol(1959), Eunha(1960), Kimyakgukeue Ddaldeul(1962), and Nabiwa Unggungkwi(1969). The stepmother that appears in Eunha is a type that appears often in the classic and new novels of Korea. While the stepmother newly gained the role and status of ‘mother’, she forms a competitive relationship with the daughter of the former wife while still refusing to be a member of the family and she puts the former wife’s daughter in critical situations by committing misdeeds. However, the young stepmother in Nabiwa Unggungkwi actually becomes a victim to the malicious and morbid harassment of the former wife’s daughter. This stepmother is a good-natured figure who shows a sense of guilt for failing to fulfill her responsibilities of upbringing and education and she eventually dies as a victim to a bomb during the war, leaving her young biological daughter behind. On one hand, the sisters in Jaegwiyeol and Kimyakgukeue Ddaldeul are not strongly bonded but when one is caught in a crisis, the other one claims to be of help. Unlike this, the sisters in Nabiwa Unggungkwi have a bond that cannot be broken. They are half-sisters that bind each other so severely that they hinder each other’s growth and they eventually end up disintegrating. Through such analyses, it is shown that issues of human nature are dealt with more acutely by breaking the ‘young stepmother’ away from convention by placing her in the position of the victim to amplify the conflicting relationship between sisters, unlike in previous pieces. This study was significant in that it looked into how previously repetitive character type changes appeared in full-length novels in conditions that clearly display the writer’s determination to leave behind a masterpiece.
GL(Girls’ Love), which deals with romance between women, is considered a small, minor culture in the sub-culture market. Nevertheless, recent ‘reboot feminism’ in the voice of women in the epic that appears to be the central protagonist is increased, and interest in naturally glIncreasing. It encourages those who declare “post BL” to consume GLs featuring female characters instead of male characters. In an atmosphere where female creators consume female dictionaries who write women’s stories and argue that they should expand the scope of their female counterparts, “Her Simcheong,” a webtoon that won the 2018 Our Comics Award, explores the possibility of female epic through rewriting myths. Gender norms given to women, such as filial piety and nirvana, all get new names in <Her Simcheong>. A good daughter is a liar, and a good wife has a woman she loves. Besides Simcheong, hit-and-run mothers, Jang Seung-sang’s wife and Jang Seung-sang’s daughter-in-law also focus on female characters’ stories, highlighting solidarity among women to survive in a male-dominated society. In this process, solidarity among women naturally leads to GL imagination. Her Simcheong describes direct sexual contact, such as kissing and hugging among women, as beautiful illustrations, and shows romance between women in a manless world. While solidarity among women is always regarded as ‘undangerous’ friendship or girlish sensibility, the romance between women in <Her Simcheong> breaks the cultural rules of women’s growth novel and women’s trade. This reveals the inconsistency of the conspiratorial male solidarity, which has been trading women around hegemony.
This paper is written to introduce and review Shinji Matsunaga’s The Aesthetics of Video Games which published in Japan in 2018. Shinji Matsunaga has studied video games from a philosophical and aesthetic perspective. In The Aesthetics of Video Games, he took video games as a hybrid form of traditional games. Shinji Matsunaga particularly notes that video games can design human behaviors and experiences. From this point of view, he tries to construct a theoretical framework that will be able to describe the ways of signification in games and fiction respectively. In previous studies, video games have been mainly discussed in the context of cultural studies and entertainment culture in Japan. The Aesthetics of Video Games is distinguished from the previous studies in the following points. First, The Aesthetics of Video Games pioneered the method of studying video games in art theory. Second, it established various types of relationships with video games and traditional aesthetic concepts. Third, this book connects new concepts that emerged in the age of artificial intelligence to video games as an aesthetic action. Through this work, not only video games were discussed academically, but also the fields of aesthetics and art were expanded. The Aesthetics of Video Game is like a collection of philosophical concepts for video games. Through this book, it can be said that the path for artificial intelligence to approach human secrets is closer than before.