cinema and politics

  • The Image of the North Korean in Contemporary South Korean Cinema

    Confidential Assignment (Kongjo, Kim Sung-hoon), released on January 18, 2017 between DPRK nuclear tests, tells a story of two special agents. One is from North Korea and the other one from South Korea, and they unite to fight against a common enemy. Extraordinarily, the North Korean agent is portrayed as more formidable than his South Korean counterpart who is unable to match him in every field. Also, the North Korean agent is portrayed by a Korean super star, Hyun-Bin. In this paper, I analyze two other similarly themed movies: The Net (Kŭmul, Kim Ki-Duk) and Steel Rain (Kangch’ŏlbi, Yang Wooseok). All of them were released recently and were huge commercial successes in South Korea. The aim of the following paper is to show and analyze the evolution of the image of North Korean characters in South Korean cinema. During the analysis, the question of how the change from villain to super hero was possible is answered. The way in which the movies talk about inter-Korean relations and how they portray both countries is particularly important to understand the current political sentiments in the Peninsula and how it can affect the Moon Jae-in presidency.

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