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The culture of viewing during the last decade of the Japanese occupation of Korea and the significance of watching Joseon movies

경지현 1

1경북대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper discusses the essence of the culture of viewing during the Il Jae Mal (the last decade of the Japanese occupation of Korea) and its significance to watching Joseon movies. In this period imperialistic Japan controlled movies under the new system. But Japan was flexible to a certain degree in the movie industry. That is, it didn’t ignore the requirement of amusement from the movie audience. So the culture of viewing could carry on under this policy. Understanding this culture of viewing is a prerequisite for accurately interpreting Joseon movies. The characteristic of the culture of viewing of those days is classified today in two categories; ‘exterior sound’ – the viewing culture formed during the silent movie age - and ‘watching Joseon actors (stars)’. This induced the audience to maintain the habit of focusing on the stars of the movie and the outside narration and sounds instead of paying attention to the screen-story. This caused the meaning of the screen work to become irrelevant to the meaning of the internal movie narrative. In spite of that, the Joseon movie world of Il Jae Mal is a significant to the aspect of movie culture like all conditions surrounding movies in the standardized pro-Japanese milieu. Although ‘movie making’ was stagnating or even degenerating, the way of ‘watching movies’ had a special role. Moreover, the absence of Hollywood actors by a restriction on foreign movies caused Joseon actors to become stars. If the Joseon movie industry during Il Jae Mal was considered a dark age, it also ushered in a more refined movie viewing culture, which enabled Joseon movies culture to continue and develop. This development shows that the identification of the beginning of Korean movie history cannot be reduced to just a dark age or stagnant period, simply owing to directors’ inclinations.

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