"Text and Context of Korean Cinema: Crossing Borders"

9:00-9:15         Coffee and Pastry

9:15-9:20         Welcoming Remarks, Mike M. Mochizuki

9:20-10:05       "Old Masters and New Cinema: Korean Film in Transition,"
                        Hyangsoon Yi

10:05-10:50     "Full Service Cinema: The Korean Cinema Success Story (So Far),"
                        Chris Berry

10:50-11:00     Break

11:00-11:10     Commentary, Peter Paik

11:10-11:20     Commentary, Ranjan Chhibber

11:20-11:30     Commentary, Harvey B. Feigenbaum

11:30-11:45     Response by Park Chul Soo

11:45-12:20     Discussion

12:20-1:20       Lunch


"Old Masters and New Cinema: Korean Film in Transition"
Hyangsoon Yi

The recent attention to Korean cinema has largely focused on a group of young directors whose serious approaches to film as a medium for their political as well as artistic visions led to reshape the domestic film culture in the late 1980s and 1990s. The fundamental changes these new generations of filmmakers brought in the stagnant film industry are often credited for having spurred what is now called New Korean cinema. While today's Korean film has generated much discussion on its unprecedented vitality, one question remains to be investigated: How do "old masters" of Korean cinema define their art in this period of dynamic transition? My talk addresses this question by specifically examining the thematic and stylistic changes discerned in the works by Im Kwon-taek and Park Chul-soo, two prominent figures who began their directorial careers in the earlier decades and yet have continued their search for their own film language to the present day. The central texts I will analyze include Im's Chunhyang and Chihwaseon and Park's Farewell My Darling and Kazoku Cinema. While maintaining the conventional mode of story telling, these films nonetheless make bold challenges to cinematic representationalism, which has dominated Korean film. Im's and Park's common concern with reflexivity and intertextuality reveal their changing views on life, art, and society at large. However, their aesthetic experiments can also be seen as ironic reactions to the illusionist tradition of Korean cinema to which they have contributed greatly.

"Full Service Cinema: The Korean Cinema Success Story (So Far)"
Chris Berry

Korean cinema is currently the non-Hollywood cinema success story. Over the last five years, Korean cinema has climbed back from attendance lows in its own country to claim half the domestic market and establish a substantial export industry throughout the East Asian region. Most recently, Korean features have begun to be penetrate the American market with titles such as Chunhyang, Tell Me Something, and Nowhere to Hide. Why has this only been possible now, when Korean film has been trying for international success since the mid-eighties? This talk tries to trace some of the local and international circumstances that have made the success of Korean cinema possible. It argues that the maintenance of a full range of cinematic production rather than a focus on mainstream or art-house or independent cinema alone--as has occurred in some other countries--has been crucial and constitutes a new model for Asian cinemas seeking to resist Hollywood's
global onslaught.


Welcoming Remarks

Mike M. Mochizuki is holder of the Japan-U.S. Relations Chair in Memory of Gaston Sigur at the Elliott School of International Affairs in George Washington University and director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.  He earned his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.  He is a specialist of Japanese politics and foreign policy, U.S.-Japan relations, and East Asian security affairs. His most recent publications include Japan Reorients: The Quest for Wealth and Security in East Asia (2000), Toward a True Alliance: Restructuring U.S.-Japan Security Relations (1997), and Japan: Domestic Change and Foreign Policy (1995). <>,


Chris Berry teaches Film Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His work on Korean culture includes the website The House of Kim Kiyoung (, which he compiled with Kim Soyoung, “What’s Big about the Big Film? ‘De-Westernizing’ the Blockbuster in Korea and China,” in Julian Stringer, ed., Size Matters: Blockbusters in the 1990s (London: Routledge, forthcoming), and “Syncretism and Synchronicity: Queer’n’Asian Cyberspace in 1990s Taiwan and Korea,” co-authored with Fran Martin in (ed., with Fran Martin and Audrey Yue), Mobile Cultures: New Media and Queer Asia (Durham: Duke University Press, forthcoming 2002). He has also written widely on Chinese cinema.  <>,

Hyangsoon Yi is an assistant professor of comparative literature at the University of Georgia. Her research areas are Korean literature, Korean and Japanese cinema, and Irish literature. Her publications include: “Kurosawa and Gogol: Looking through the Lens of Metonymy” (Literature/Film Quarterly); “The Journey as Meditation: A Buddhist Reading of O Chông-hûi’s ‘Words of Farewell’” (Religion and Literature, forthcoming); “Reflexivity and Identity Crisis in Park Chul soo’s Films” (Made in Korea: Cinema and Society since 1945, forthcoming); and “The Traveler and Irish Drama” (Erin’s Sickbed, forthcoming).


Ranjan Chhibber is an Assistant Professor of Honors and Film Studies at The George Washington University (GW). He holds a Ph.D. from SUNY at Buffalo in Media Study and English, where his doctoral dissertation focused upon the racial profiling of India and Indians by Hollywood, 1930-2000.  His research has been featured in newspapers in Canada and India.  <>

Harvey Feigenbaum is Professor of Political Science, and Associate Dean of the Elliott School at GW.  He is a specialist on the political economy of advanced industrial states and an expert on France. His most recent book is "Shrinking the State", published by Cambridge University Press and his current research compares the audiovisual industries in several countries, including Korea.  <>,

Peter Yoonsuk Paik was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in California.  After receiving his A.B. from Brown and Ph.D. from Cornell (both in Comparative Literature), he is currently teaching world cinema in the Department of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.  His work has been published in The Yale Broch Symposium, Religion and the Arts, and The Bookpress. His reviews of Korean films have appeared in The Film Journal and “The Asian American,”  <>,

Park Chul Soo was born in 1948 and studied business management at Sungkyunkwan University. He began his film career first as TV drama producer, winning Korean Broadcasting Grand Prix for Best TV movie with his dramatization of Hahn Moo-Sook’s short story, “Festering Finger.”  Park gained worldwide recognition for his innovative style.  His 301, 302 (1995) was selected for screening at major international film festivals such as Sundance and Cannes.  In 1996, his Farewell, My Darling (1996) was a winner of 'The Best Artistic Contribution Award' at the 20th Montreal World Film Festival and of the Grand Prix at The 12th Tashkent International Film Festival.  Kazoku Cinema (1998) is based on the award-winning autobiographical novel by Japanese-Korean writer, Yu Miri. <>,


Roy Richard Grinker is Professor of Anthropology, International Affairs, and the Human Sciences at GW.  He received his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard University in 1989 with a specialization in African Studies. He has published Houses in the Rainforest, Korea and Its Futures: Unification and the Unfinished War, and In the Arms of Africa. He is the editor of Perspectives on Africa: A Reader in Culture, History and Representation. Professor Grinker worked extensively on North-South Korean relations and in 1997 he testified before Congress on the issue of North Korean defectors' adaptation to South Korean society.  He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Anthropological Quarterly.  <>,

Young-Key Kim-Renaud is Professor of Korean Language and Culture and International Affairs at GW. She is past President of the International Circle of Korean Linguistics. A theoretical linguist with broad interest in Korean humanities and Asian affairs, Kim-Renaud has published five books and numerous articles in the area of Korean phonology, writing system, honorifics, and general Korean cultural history.  <>,,

Kirk W. Larsen is the Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of History and International Affairs at GW. He received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. His research and teaching interests include modern Korean history, imperialism in Asia, networks, patterns, and trends of trade in Northeast Asia, and the Overseas Chinese in Korea. He is currently finishing a book on Qing imperialism in Choson Korea during the Open Port Period (1876-1910).  <>,


The HMS Colloquium in the Korean Humanities Series at GW provides a forum for academic discussion of Korean arts, history, language, literature, thought and religious systems in the context of East Asia and the world.  The Colloquium series is made possible by an endowment established by the estate of Hahn Moo-Sook, one of Korea’s most honored writers, in order to uphold her spirit of openness, curiosity and education.  This year’s colloquium is co-sponsored by GW’s Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the Korean Embassy in Washington, DC. and co-organized with the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institution.

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In conjunction with this year's HMS Colloquium, the Freer Gallery of Art presents five recent Korean films. For details, visit