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'Radical Contemporaneity' as the De-occupation of Co-produced Documentary Film by Zainichi Korean Filmmaker's Collective—Beyond Liberal Realism of Cultural Documentaries of U.S Military Occupation in South Korea and Japan

minhwa ahn 1

1한국예술종합학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Through the contrastive analysis between USIS-Korea or CIE cultural films which were dominant films and documentaries by the Zainichi Korean Filmmaker's Collective which were minor films during and after the U.S occupation period both in South Korea and Japan, this paper examines not only the aspects of U.S. hegemony which was reorganized in East Asia but also traces its alternative narratives to U.S. occupation forces. The USIS and CIE documentaries played a role in forming a postwar liberal nation and subject by embodying 'liberal governmentality' through the style of John Grieson. By doing so, the U.S. occupation forces became the icon of the technologies of security and economic growth, while hiding various colonial legacies. On the other hand, there were exceptional documentaries in USIS-Korea and CIE cultural films, which were skeptical toward the narrative and aesthetics of U.S. occupation forces. Namely, these films reveal the self-reflexivity of cultural documentaries by using the form of 'direct cinema.' Furthermore, the Zainichi Korean Filmmaker's Collective makes a critique of the cultural politics of the U.S. military occupation by making co-produced documentaries with Japanese filmmakers. For example, the co-produced documentary, Children of Korea, resists the politics of the U.S. occupation forces toward minorities by deploying John Greison's style into a combination of provocative rhetoric and 'cinema verite' which were the characteristics of Soviet film in the 1920s. Therefore, this paper seeks to use the method of comparative studies through what Johannes Fabian calls 'radical contemporaneity' beyond the dichotomy between empire and colony, by focusing not only on the similar role of the U.S. occupation forces but also the common cinematic aesthetics in Korea and Japan that opposes that. The 'radical contemporaneity' can be one of the examples of postcolonial and alternative Asian communalism that can overcome the limitations of capitalistic nationalism. This communalism enables the individual to respond to the 'singular plural' (Jacques Nancy) beyond liberal governmentality in which the individual is commensurate with the national totality.

Citation status

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