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Drifting Joseon Movies: From Imja-eobtneun Narutbae to Jeong Chun-sam ―The First Film Rights Litigation and the Transition of the Colonial Joseon Film Market

  • The Journal of Korean drama and theatre
  • 2022, (77), pp.127-179
  • DOI : 10.17938/tjkdat.2022..77.127
  • Publisher : The Learned Society Of Korean Drama And Theatre
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : October 27, 2022
  • Accepted : December 19, 2022
  • Published : December 31, 2022

Lee Kwang ouk 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the early days, film historians defined nationalistic realism films as the core of Korean film history, and in the process, director Lee Kyu-hwan's Imja-eobtneun Narutbae(The ownerless ferryboat) has been mentioned as an important work. Critics of the time and later film historians have paid attention to the railroad attack scene, which implied resistance to Japan empire, and the fact that the scene was deleted by censorship has been seen as proof of the film's resistance. In addition, even if some scenes were deleted, the Joseon audience was able to read the meaning of the movie Performatively. However, in fact, Imja-eobtneun Narutbae had to endure the process of erasing the performance context that made such an evaluation possible. Jeong Chun-sam is a pirated version of Imja-eobtneun Narutbae and is a film created by re-editing the original by the Kyeongseong film production company. Yushin Kinema filed a lawsuit against the Kyeongseong film production company, which was also the first film copyright lawsuit in Joseon film history. This lawsuit exposed the structural vulnerability of the colonial Joseon film industry, which was highly dependent on re-screening profits, and was a compressed example of the path through which major export strategies for Joseon films were formed. The direction of re-editing taken by Jeong Chun-sam was to connect the context of the deleted scene as naturally as possible. This is because Jeong Chun-sam aimed to export to Japan, but the Performative interpretation mechanism that the Joseon audience could operate was no longer considered. As a result, the focus of the film shifted from resistance to colonial rule to the personal tragedy of the outdated. As can be seen through the case of Jeong Chun-sam, film companies took preemptive measures while recognizing censorship as a significant variable, so the censorship system could work effectively in conjunction with the market's safety-oriented line. Since then, the replacement of colonial specificity with universality and ethnicity as harmless attractions began to establish itself as a major export strategy, and the move of Kyeongseong film production company, which was re-launched as a Joseon film production company, was a clear example.

Citation status

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