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Hayanjeonjaeng(White Badge, 1992), Making the Vietnam War Memories from a Progressive Nationalist Males’ Perspective

  • The Journal of Korean drama and theatre
  • 2019, (64), pp.189-228
  • DOI : 10.17938/tjkdat.2019..64.189
  • Publisher : The Learned Society Of Korean Drama And Theatre
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : May 15, 2019
  • Accepted : June 7, 2019
  • Published : June 30, 2019

CHO SEO YOUN 1

1세종대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Hayanjeonjaeng(White Badge, 1992) is the first film to criticize Korean troops dispatching the Vietnam War in earnest. It is a significant work in the field of struggle of memories surrounding the dispatch of Korean troops to Vietnam. The understanding of the Vietnam war and the identity of the Korean troops in Hayanjeonjaeng can be summarized as ‘America's mercenary.’ It was the outcome of anti-Americanism and criticism of Korean military dictatorship which were widely shared in the Korean film industry, from the 1980s to 1990s, after the Gwangju Uprising. And it has completely overcame the official Vietnam War memory called anti-communist war that laid the foundations of modernization of the country. Hayanjeonjaeng embodied the civilian massacre in Vietnam War by the Korean troops and the trauma of the war veterans, superimposed the US military camp towns’ issues and the democratization struggle in the recollection of the Vietnam War, thereby revealed that Vietnam War was an international proxy war made up of a subordinate relationship between the United States and South Korea and an ethical blot of South Korean history. But in the process of cinematic representing the trauma memories, the Korean troops were placed in the position of the victim who has been sacrificed by the Korean military regime and the United States, and the awkward position of the veterans who were both the perpetrators and the victims was arranged in the self-centered way. In addition, by sexualizing and alienating Korean women in the US military camp town and Vietnamese women in the Vietnam military camp town, Hayanjeonjaeng followed the male-centered violence of the postcolonial nationalism discourse at the time the film was made and justify the Korean men as pure victims. The narration of victimization of the Korean troops and the gender insensitivity were blind spots in the view of the progressive nationalist males that was the basis of the insights of Hayanjeonjaeng. Through the analysis of that, we could see what the cinematic representation of war memories should aim at in the context of 'politics of regret' to look back on the past for the future change.

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