Organized Panel Session
This panel examines some of the many and complex ways memory and postmemory appear in and shape contemporary South Korean cinema. Our approach to the cinematic memory is twofold. First, cinema as a technology of memorialization plays a pivotal role in the field of mnemonics and the social memories of contemporary South Korea. By attending to politically contentious subjects, both nationally and internationally, the Korean films discussed here become the main battlefield not only against forgetting, but also on questions of how to remember. Humni Lee explores how films on “comfort women” expand the personal traumatic memory towards the audience’s cinematic experience and participate in current social activism. Juyeon Bae’s paper examines a recent Korean documentary Kim-Gun as a “post-memorial work” and discusses postgeneration filmmaker’s methodologies of remembering historical trauma. Second, cinematic memory of contemporary South Korean films goes beyond the territorial boundary of the nation and engages with diasporic memories. Ji-yoon An analyzes two films made by Western-based Korean diaspora filmmakers and their cinematic memory in an “accented context” of filmmaking and reception. So Hye Kim’s paper investigates the tensions and dialogic relationship between the Korean diasporic community in Japan and South Korea by reading documentary films on Chosŏn schools in Japan. We consider film a complicated mnemonic sphere which challenges the linear understanding of historical narrative and facilitates audiences’ embodied experience of memorialization. Through the proposed topics, our panel follows complex trajectories of cinematic memory as it is constructed, challenged, transmitted, and expanded in and beyond South Korea.