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President is the country: Two Korean Films on the Park Chung Hee Era

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The purpose of this article is to examine how The President’s Barber (Im Chan Sang, 2004) and The President’s Last Bang (Im Sang Soo, 2005) represent the Park Chung Hee era. Before these two films were produced, some Korean films had dealt with the 1970s. They can be categorized into two groups by mode of representation. First, the nostalgic films deal with this era through the form of coming-of-age films or a first love story in which the main characters are high school students. Second, the retrospective films examine the brutality or absurdness of this era. The improvement of Korean democratization enables these films to be produced, and the economic crisis of 1997-1998 contributes to the production of these films — films that respond to the right wing’s reaction, the Park Chung Hee syndrome, and the economic crisis.

Keywords: Park-Chung-Hee; South Korea; democracy; industrial change; right-wing; yusin

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Korea University

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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