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Desire of Korean Film Industry in 1980s and Birth of ‘National Film Director’ Im Kwontaek

Arum Song 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Im Kwontaek is considered the mainstay and godfather of Korean film. The time he has been through, from 1962 when he started filming till 2015 when he produced his 102nd film, itself, has become a history of film. However, he could be evaluated like this actually after he went through the 1980s, and this study will look into the process of creating a myth of Im Kwontaek through the desire of the Korean film industry at this time. Im Kwontaek began to win fame as his Mandala, released in 1981 entered an international film festival. While efforts to let the international communities know the growth of South Korea and show it off were made from various angles, Im Kwontaek began to occupy a significant place in international film festivals, promoting South Korea. As a series of noises made during this process confirmed that Im Kwontaek’s films were not just demonstrative ones, it brought new awareness to film art. Furthermore, Im Kwontaek made his films separate into two-films for commercial purposes and for his own satisfaction and gave different meaning to each one. As it met the desire of the critics, who criticized the system of Korean cinema, it led the active movement of critics. Having produced various films for a long time, Im Kwontaek could not match up to an auteur in a theoretical meaning, but his set of attitudes towards the establishment of the mainstay of the Korean film and describing its artistic accomplishments converts him to an auteur in the desire of attempting to put him on the same line as European film makers. Meanwhile, Im Kwontaek himself has learned the look of a national cinema that international film festivals want and formed the images of Korea through Self-Orientalism and objectified women’s bodies. Although it cannot be denied that Im Kwontaek is a living witness and history of the Korean film industry since the Independence, it can be said that the weight added to his present reputation has been slowly formed through the image of a film director desired by the Korean film industry.

Citation status

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