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Chronotope and Feeling: Gangnam Blues

  • Cross-Cultural Studies
  • 2018, 53(), pp.193-218
  • DOI : 10.21049/ccs.2018.53..193
  • Publisher : Center for Cross Culture Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Literature
  • Received : November 10, 2018
  • Accepted : December 12, 2018
  • Published : December 30, 2018

Miehyeon Kim 1

1아주대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In this essay, I examine the interactions of chronotopes in the narrative of Gangnam Blues, a film written and directed by Yu Ha and released in 2015. Bakhtin’s chronotope, the connectedness of temporal and spatial relationships in literary narratives, provides the background for the representability of events and becomes the organizing center for the events. Each chronotope offers a different way of acting, interacting and understanding experience, and chronotopes can interact with each other in a single text or between the reader and the represented world. Gangnam Blues is a gangster movie, first of all, showing an individual’s illusion of an unlimited possibility for achieving wealth and power. At the same time, the film describes the government’s project to transform Gangam, a rural area in the south of the Han, into a new downtown and residential area for Seoul. As the world in the narrative and the world of the author or the reader are all chronotopic, we can see the interactions of chronotopes between the narrative of an individual and the historical narrative, as well as between the narrative about the beginning of Gangnam and the audience’s perception of the present Gangnam. In this film, the main character’s ambition is shown as part of the social desire for rapid economic achievements in the 1970s, along with high social mobility. The social desire can be explained as envy, as it is fueled by social comparisons and competitions. The main character’s pursuit of money and power through the possession of Gangnam land overlaps with the envious desire for the present Gangnam shared by many. The individual’s exceptional ambition and violence are not fully examined in this text. Moreover, the film’s dependence on the feelings of envy to represent the individual’s choice and violence can be a symptom of the lack of critical distance from social desire and envy.

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