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The Return of a Cosmopolitan Subject and the World of Violence in Ha Kilchong’s Her Fidelity (1973)

Hyun Seon Park 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The paper examines a prominent Korean filmmaker Ha Kilchong’s 1973 epic film Her Fidelity that articulates Ha’s stylistic signature and idiosyncratic understanding of the world as a ‘regional cosmopolitan subject.’ It has not been many analyses on Her Fidelity since the film was rather considered as a ‘failure’ in terms of a commercial acceptance as well as artistic auteurism. However, the paper argues that Her Fidelity discloses significant aspects of regional cosmopolitanism during 1970s in South Korea and expresses Ha’s self-reflective and allegorical mode of cinematic aesthetics. Especially, it pays attention to three aspects. First, the film reflects Ha’s personal and transnational trajectory of returning home as he had returned from the United States after getting a Master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. Second, the cinematic style of the film shows a distinctive characteristic of Ha’s work, which refers to the dialectics of allegory and rhythm. Lastly, the film articulates the regional cosmopolitanism through its generic hybridity of epics and action drama. In this fashion, the paper pays attention to the significance of Her Fidelity as a political aesthetics of cosmopolitan subjectivity in the 1970s South Korea. Ha’s cosmopolitanism departs from the universal figure of cosmopolitan diaspora who roams around the world. While a global cosmopolitan subject travels around the world or imagines himself or herself residing in a universal metropolis, a regional cosmopolitan subject holds the dialectical relationship of the world and the regional home, reflecting political and ethical responsibilities of specific problems and experiences in local places. Anchoring on the notion of home-return and local places, Her Fidelity shows Ha’s attempt to configure the return of a cosmopolitan subject in the allegorical aesthetics of the world, which is at the same universal and regional at the age of violence.

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