Hyangjin Lee
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The creation of national identity
A history of Korean cinema
in Contemporary Korean cinema
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One of the most distinctive traits of Korean film is its strong political nature. This chapter examines the historical development of Korean film. Film in Korea has always been under governmental censorship. During the Japanese colonial period, the government severely suppressed those films that would inspire anti-colonial sentiments among the Korean audience. Japan's cultural control over Koreans was aimed to root out their sense of national identity. This was demonstrated by the prohibition of the Korean language in schools and the forced change of Korean family names into a standardised Japanese style. When Japanese rule ended and the American army occupied the South in 1945, the South Korean film industry was mainly engaged in importing and distributing American films. Some Korean filmmakers also attempted to make Hollywood-style films. In North Korea, all artistic activities, including cinema, are based on the so-called Juche theory of art mandated by the Party.

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Contemporary Korean cinema

Identity, culture and politics


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