Session Abstract: The spectacular success of Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film Parasite not only induced an unprecedented amount of attention on Korean cinema abroad, but also propelled various discussions on Korean cinema toward the broader local/global and national/transnational boundaries surrounding it. Joining these conversations, our panel focuses on the notion of foreignness—and consequently its counterpart, Koreanness—to further critique the complicated landscape of global Korean cinema. Our approach is threefold: foreignness represented within Korean film texts, foreign influence on the Korean film industry, and finally Koreanness as foreignness in a global context. So Hye Kim examines representations of two diasporic groups in Korean blockbuster films—ethnic Chinese descendants and Korean Chinese returnees—to show how genre conventions function to reframe foreignness. Juyeon Bae scrutinizes foreignness in Na Hong-jin’s The Wailing (2016), interrogating not only aspects of the diegesis, but also the film’s production and distribution backgrounds. Ji-yoon An looks beyond Korea to works made by Korean American filmmakers to investigate the dialectic conversations in which diasporic films engage with both American and Korean cinemas. Lastly, Irhe Sohn explores Korean audience responses to the English subtitles of Parasite to demonstrate how the idea of global Korean cinema is articulated through audiovisual translation. Against these changing environments of representation, production, and reception, our investigation into notions of foreignness and Koreanness attempts to reveal the murky boundaries of national cinema, thereby initiating a wider space for discussions to be held on the multiple and interconnected factors resituating Korean cinema today.
Paper Presenter: So Hye Kim – Northwestern University
Paper Presenter: Juyeon Bae – Sogang University
Paper Presenter: Irhe Sohn – Smith College