The South Korean Film Renaissance: Local Hitmakers, Global Provocateurs

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For the past decade, the Korean film industry has enjoyed a renaissance. With innovative storytelling and visceral effects, Korean films not only have been commercially viable in the domestic and regional markets but also have appealed to cinephiles everywhere on the international festival circuit. This book provides both an industrial and an aesthetic account of how the Korean film industry managed to turn an economic crisis—triggered in part by globalizing processes in the world film industry—into a fiscal and cultural boom. Jinhee Choi examines the ways in which Korean film production companies, backed by affluent corporations and venture capitalists, concocted a variety of winning production trends. Through close analyses of key films, Choi demonstrates how contemporary Korean cinema portrays issues immediate to its own Korean audiences while incorporating the transnational aesthetics of Hollywood and other national cinemas such as Hong Kong and Japan. Appendices include data on box office rankings, numbers of films produced and released, market shares, and film festival showings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Here is an excellent book to add to the too-short shelf of work on the cinema of South Korea, which of late has produced some excellent films…. Deftly illustrated with frame blowups, and including useful appendixes charting box-office hits, film production overall in South Korea, and award-wining films, Choi’s book provides an energetic, accessible overview of the Korean cinema as a popular art form. An excellent choice as either a course text or a library resource, this book fills a particular niche. Highly recommended (for) all readers.”—W.W. Dixon, Choice

"Choi's book does admirably what it sets out to do: to explain, from a theoretically critical, technical/aesthetic point of view, how Korean cinema modernized itself in the face of many challenges, both domestic and international."—Gord Sellar, The Japan Times

"South Korean Film Renaissance: Local Hit Makers, Global Provocateurs, written by Choi Jin-hee in English probes how the Korean film industry turned an economic crisis into a cinematic renaissance…. The book gives an exact historical chronicled assessment of the Korean film industry"—Chung Ah-young, The Korea Times

"It's a well-roundsed examination that knits together the many filmic strands of the last two decades to construct a thesis on how the 'renaissance' occurred."—James Havis & Borah Chung, Cineaste

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819569400
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Series: Wesleyan Film
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 1,272,153
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

JINHEE CHOI is a lecturer in film studies at the University of Kent in the U.K. She is the coeditor of Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures (2005) and Horror to the Extreme: Changing Boundaries in Asian Cinema (2009). She has widely published in such journals as the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, the British Journal of Aesthetics, Asian Cinema, Post Script, and Jump Cut.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
Faces of Globalization
Blockbusters, Korean Style
No Blood? No Tears! Gangster Cinema
I’m Not a Girl, Yet Not a Woman: Romance Films
Once Upon a Time in High School: Teen Pics
Not Just Metteurs-en-Scène? ‘‘High-Quality’’ Films
Riding the New Wave
Box Office Top Ten (1986–2006)
Korean Film Market Share
Number of Films Produced/Released (1986–2006)
Number of Theaters/Screens (1986–2006)
International Film Festivals: Award-Winning Films (1986–2006)

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