Advertisement

The Spectacle of Affect: Postwar South Korean Melodrama Films

Chapter
  • 241 Downloads

Abstract

This chapter explores the melodramas of Korea’s cinematic golden age, particularly focusing on those from the 1950s. They abound with narratives fissures, ruptures, and heterodoxy from gender and cultural norms, and their narratives unfold through a hybridity of genres, to create more nuanced works that seem to self-reflect or even subversively play off the genre rules and conventions of melodrama. In looking at this group of films, I argue that they comprise a spectacle of affect. I first focus on the empty mise-en-scène, a feature often exhibited by the decade’s films that brings their generic hybridity and experimental filmmaking into relief, then trace the meaning and place of sinp’a (new wave) in postwar cinema, which will lead to the conclusion that, for postwar South Korean filmmakers—and for the audiences that loved their films—the West, represented by America, was a source of cinematic imagination and an awe-inspiring sublimity.

Keywords

Melodrama Cinematic golden age Spectacle Affect Sinp’a 

Bibliography

  1. An, Jinsoo. 2005. “Screening the Redemption: Christianity in Korean Melodrama.” In South Korean Golden Age Melodrama: Gender, Genre, and National Cinema, edited by Kathleen McHugh and Nancy Abelmann, 65–97. Detroit: Wayne State University.Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson, Paul and Michelle Duffy. 2015. “The Amplification of Affect: Tension, Intensity and Form in Modern Dance.” In Modernism and Affect, edited by Julie Taylor. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brinkema, Eugenie. 2014. The Forms of the Affects. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Chu, Ch’anggyu. 2012. “Kŭndea ŭi sŏnjŏngjuŭirosŏ sinp’agŭk ŭi byŏnhyŏng’gwa yŏnswegŭkŭi ch’ulhyŏne daehan yŏngu” [Study of the Sinp’a Play’s Variation as Modern Sensationalism and the Appearance of Kino Drama]. Yŏnghwayŏngu [Cinema Studies] 51: 235–90.Google Scholar
  5. Chung, Steven. 2014. Split Screen Korea: Shin Sang-ok and Postwar Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  6. Donald, James. 1989. Fantasy and the Cinema. London: BFI.Google Scholar
  7. Kang, Okhŭi. 2013. Taejung, sinp’a, yŏnghwa, sosŏl: daejung sosŏl ŭi jaebalgyŏn [The Masses, Sinp’a, Cinema, Novel: Rediscovery of Popular Novels]. Kwangmyŏng: Chigŭm, yogi.Google Scholar
  8. Kim, Soyŏng. 2010. Hanguk yŏnghwa ch’wego ŭi 10gyŏng [10 Best Moments of Korean Cinema]. Seoul: Hyŏngsilmunhwa.Google Scholar
  9. Kwŏn, Podŭrae et al. 2009. Ap’ŭregŏl sasanggye rŭl ilta: 1950nyŏndae munhwaŭi jayuwa t’ongje [Après Girl Reads the Journal The World of Thought: The Freedom and Control of the 1950s’ Culture]. Seoul: Tongguk daehakkyo ch’ulp’anbu.Google Scholar
  10. Lefebvre, Martin et al. 2006. Landscape and Film. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Massumi, Brian. 2002. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  12. O, Yŏngsuk. 2007. 1950nyŏndae, hanguk yŏnghwawa munhwa damnon [Korean Cinema and the Cultural Discourse in the 1950s]. Seoul: Somyŏng ch’ulp’an.Google Scholar
  13. Pak, Yŏngjŏng. 1993. “Sinp’agŭk” [Sinp’a Play]. Yŏksabipy’ŏng [History Criticism] 20: 361–68.Google Scholar
  14. Slade, Andrew. 2008. “Hiroshima, ‘mon amour,’ Trauma, and the Sublime.” In Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations, edited by E. Ann Kaplan and Ban Wang, 165–81. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Stanfield, Peter et al., eds. 2007. “Un-American” Hollywood: Politics and Film in the Blacklist Era. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  16. U, Sujin. 2011. Hanguk gŭndae yŏngŭk ŭi hyŏngsŏng: gong’gong gŭkjang’gwa sinp’agŭk ŭi daejungjŏk munhwajihyŏng [The Cultural Topography of Modern Theater in Korea]. Seoul: P’urŭnsasang.Google Scholar
  17. Workman, Travis. 2015. “Narrating and Aestheticizing Liberation in Hurrah! for Freedom and My Home Village.” In The Review of Korean Studies 18: 77–102.Google Scholar
  18. Yecies, Brian M., and Ae-Gyung Shim. 2011. Korea’s Occupied Cinemas, 1893–1948. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Yi, Hogŏl. 2005. “Sinp’asŏngiran muŏsinga: gujo, jŏngch’i, yŏksa” [What is Sinp’a Quality? Structure, Politics, History]. Hanguk yŏnghwa hakhŏe ch’ugye haksuldaehŏe 2: hanguk yŏnghwaŭi jaengjŏmgwa jŏnmang [Association of Korean Film Studies Fall Conference: Issues and Prospects of Korean cinema], 57–75.Google Scholar
  20. Yi, Hogŏl. 2007. “Sinp’a yangsik yŏngu: namsŏngsinp’a yŏnghwa rŭl jungsimŭro” [Study of the Sinp’a Form: With a Focus on Male Sinp’a Movies]. Taejungsŏsa yŏngu [Popular Narrative Study] 15: 15–20.Google Scholar
  21. Yi, Hogŏl. 2009. “1950nyŏndae daejungsŏsawa namsŏngsŏng ŭi jŏngch’ijŏkjinghu” [Popular Narratives of the 1950s and Masculinity’s Political Symptoms]. Hangukŏmunhak’yŏngu [Study of Korean Language Literature] 52: 229–66.Google Scholar
  22. Yi, Yŏngil. 2004. Han’guk yŏnghwa chŏnsa [History of Korean Cinema]. Seoul: Tosŏch’ulp’an sodo.Google Scholar
  23. Yi, Yŏngmi. 2003. “Sinp’a yangsiŭi, sesang’e daehan t’aedo” [The Worldview of the Sinp’a Form]. Taejungsŏsa yŏngu [Popular Narrative Study] 9: 7–33.Google Scholar
  24. Yoshimoto, Mitsuhiro. 2000. Kurosawa: Film Studies and Japanese Cinema. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Yu, China, ed. 1999. Melo dŭramaran muŏtsing’a: jayubuinesŏ jŭpsok’kka’ji [What Is Melodrama? From Madame Freedom to Contact]. Seoul: Minŭmsa.Google Scholar

Filmography

  1. Maenbal ŭi ch’ŏngch’un [Barefoot Youth]. 1964. Dir. Kim Kidŏk, DVD. Seoul: Korean Film Archive.Google Scholar
  2. Ŏnŭ yŏdaesang ŭi gobaek [A College Woman’s Confession]. 1958. Dir. Shin, Sangok, DVD. Seoul: Korean Film Archive.Google Scholar
  3. P’okgun yŏnsan [Prince Yŏnsan]. 1962. Dir. Pak Namok, DVD. Seoul: Korean Film Archive.Google Scholar
  4. Sŏul ŭi hyuil [Holiday in Seoul]. 1956. Dir. Yi Yongmin, DVD. Seoul: Korean Film Archive.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

Personalised recommendations