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대중서사연구

  • P-ISSN1738-3188
  • E-ISSN27139964

민주화 초기 노동자 영화의 (불)가능성—<구로아리랑> 연구

On the (Un-)Possibility of a Labor Film in the Early Period of Democratization—A Study of Guro Arirang

대중서사연구, (P)1738-3188; (E)27139964
2020, v.26 no.4, pp.9-41
오자은 (덕성여자대학교)
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Abstract

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.

keywords
구로아리랑 박종원 이문열 노동 영화 6월 항쟁 중산층 Guro Arirang Park Jong-won Lee Mun-yeol Labor Film 87 June Middle class

대중서사연구