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The alibi of ‘Democratization’ after ‘87’, the result of a movie <SeoulMoojigae>

  • The Journal of Korean drama and theatre
  • 2022, (77), pp.211-248
  • DOI : 10.17938/tjkdat.2022..77.211
  • Publisher : The Learned Society Of Korean Drama And Theatre
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : November 13, 2022
  • Accepted : December 19, 2022
  • Published : December 31, 2022

Arum Song 1

1연세대학교 매체와예술연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

<SeoulMoojigae>, a movie released in 1989 and directed by Ho-Seon Kim, was perceived as a movie with a critical view on the society after the democratization. It received major awards in many leading awards ceremonies that year, and took the top spot in the box office. Based on the book with the same title, the movie was dramatized by including a sex scandal of a former president. Reviews were mixed, with some criticizing it for being too aggressive and suggestive, and some praising it for being socially conscience. Ultimately, the majority took the latter’s side at the time. This study attempted to view the choice of the majority at the time as a result of the director, film industry and censorship each accommodating the term ‘democratization’, which was not properly defined after the democratization, in different ways. <SeoulMoojigae> keeps on modifying the scenario which was initially similar to the original pop novel, and strengthens its criticism of the public’s perception towards the student activist groups, anti-Americanism and former president. Censorship at the time was loosening up and allowing movie materials that did not provoke current social issues, in order to show off the fact that censorship, which was the symbol of oppression, was easing up. In addition, the director of <SeoulMoojigae> made remarks that strengthened the meaning of the movie, and reinforced the writer’s consciousness which was a judging criteria for national cinema. In such ways, <SeoulMoojigae> joined the ranks of socially conscience films that were popular back then. However, with the above characteristics, the movie was viewed as being different from other similar movies and became a noteworthy film in the industry. Eventually, the film industry’s internal desire with the outer cover of democratization allowed <SeoulMoojigae>, which was a movie full of violent settings and scenes, to position itself as a movie that possesses an insight into an era.

Citation status

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