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Re-imagining the National Legend of Admiral Yi, Screening the National Disaster of MV Sewol Sinking in Korean Society

Kyoung-Lae kang 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This project examines how a recent Korean blockbuster The Admiral: Roaring Currents (Han-min Kim, 2014) serves as a cultural “screen” to suture a recent national disaster in Korean society. This project refers to the Freudian concept of “screen memory,” which signifies insignificant fragments of childhood memories that remain hidden and brought out at a later moment in lifetime to conceal certain (unpleasant) experiences. Based on this theoretical scaffolding, this project suggests that The Admiral, by employing the well-known cultural imagery of Admiral Yi, functions as “screen memory” that conceals the recent Korean national disaster of MV Sewol Sinking, an accident in which a ship, named Sewolho capsized and sank in the western sea of Korea. The disaster brought about hundreds of casualties in 2014, and then a resulting sense of melancholia and guilt swept Korean people. By analyzing the similarity and difference between The Admiral and popular images related to the Sinking of MV Sewol, this project suggests that the characteristic cinematography and narrative of The Admiral contribute to suturing this catastrophic trauma in Korean society.

Citation status

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

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.