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The Age of KINO -The Film Magazine KINO and the Cultural Politics of the "Critical Cinephilia" in the 1990s

Sunjoo Lee 1

1한양대학교 현대영화연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the discursive practices of the Korean monthly film magazine KINO in terms of the ideas of "critical cinephilia" and "productive disenchantment." In the 1990s, known as the "age of culture" and the "renaissance of Korean cinema." the magazine led the way in producing alternative film discourses and encouraging readers to recognize cinema as an object of academic study and criticism. By examining the magazine's discursive practices, this paper aims to explore the cultural politics of the magazine that reflected on the ontology of cinema and its spectators, the relationship between cinema and society, and the cinema as a cultural practice. The idea of "productive disenchantment" was coined by Thomas Elsaesser when he posited that the development of Anglophone and European contemporary film theories in the 1970s benefited from the "transition from the love of cinema to the critical viewing and analysis of it." This idea is dialectical in that the film theories' distanciation from cinema was derived from the love of cinema. Overcoming the existing views that KINO was either the evangelist of ghettorized younghwagwang (film mania) culture or a simple copycat of Western auteurism, this paper argues that the dialectic of distanciation and attraction formed KINO's "critical cinephilia." This paper also states that the magazine's textual activities, including its compressed reception of Western film theories, philosophy, and critical theories, interventions into the contemporary sites of Korean film culture, and invitation to the alliance of cinephiles, all were the discursive practices of critical viewing based on the spirit of "productive disenchantment." In addition to providing a content analysis of the magazine, this paper also intends to evaluate the magazine's pursuit of "critical cinephilia" by positioning it within the larger context of the film culture of the 1990s. To this end, this paper explores the magazine's process of appropriating and translating Western film theories, critical philosophy, and cultural studies in the context of the cultural politics of the 1990s marked by the "age of culture." In doing so, it argues that KINO's discursive practices sought to form critical cinephiles who would go beyond the "manias" that the contemporary discourses of cultural studies highlighted as the subject of omnivore and dilettante if serious and devoted consumers.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.