The Sacrifices of Youth: Historical Feature Films on South Korea's Longue Duree

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    This paper demonstrates how some South Korean historical films over the past two decades comment on critical meta-narratives of the country's past, and in turn reflect the powerful presence of this history in South Korea today. Due to the directors' age as well as to the relaxing of film censorship in the 1990s, among other factors, these films have generally represented the liberal historical views that came to prevail in South Korea following democratization in the late 1980s. But the filmic expressions of this general understanding emphasize a variety of driving forces and elements in the nation's modern history. Beginning with an analysis of the recent hit, "Ode to My Father," this study examines approximately a dozen films as they illuminate three major historical themes: South Korea's turbulent origins; life under the rule of Park Chung Hee; and the struggle to overcome the burdens of the past. It finds that, on the whole, these films have featured young protagonists as symbols and vehicles of crucial historical moments, which results in a somewhat unbalanced, but nevertheless diverse range of historical perspectives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)179-196
    JournalSungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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