Postwar Korean Cinema

  • Hai Leong Toh


POSTWAR KOREAN CINEMA: FRACTURED MEMORIES AND IDENTITY IT IS generally agreed by South Korean film scholars that the Golden Flowering of Korean cinema took place in the turbulent 1950s after the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, amidst the rapid industrialisation and modernisation of a predominantly agrarian society based on a highly stratified class system. Like its highly reactive Hongkong counterpart, South Korean cinema acts as a sensitive reflection of the constant changes and upheavals -- both socio-economic and political. These include the liberation in 1945 from Japan, the Korean War, the 1970s economic miracle and the current traumatic transformations that are shaping this troubled peninsula. This year, the astute Asian programmer of the 20th Hongkong International Film Festival, Ms Wong Ain-ling introduced a total of 12 "Rediscovered Korean Classics," with 6 of them set in the 1950s and 60s, emphasising the important role of Korean women during these...