Dirt, Noise, and Naughtiness

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    Because mainstream cinema is largely driven by major industries as opposed to individuals, the experience of film has often been tied to Marxist notions of production and hegemony. During the Korean silent film era, a time of rapid modernization, social hierarchies were arguably much more complex than they are today, due in part to rapid industrialization, the growing presence of the Japanese colonizers, and the traditional class distinctions Koreans continued to uphold. As part of an extensive and stringent cultural policy, the Japanese government-general controlled the selection of movies, their content, and the conditions under which they were shown; and yet the majority of the movies showed that Europe and the US comprised modern, "high" cultures worthy of emulation. With reference to the applicability of Gramsci's concept of cultural hegemony in the context of the Korean silent film era, it is important, therefore, to consider the various notions of hierarchy and cultural supremacy. Although this study considers the applicability of Gramsci's concept in this particular context, its primary aim-and as such another step towards a better understanding of the positions of power in Korea under colonial rule-is to understand how the Korean working-class experience of cinema differed from that of other classes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-31
    JournalAsian Ethnology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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