Cinema at the Crossroads

Cinema at the Crossroads

Cinema at the Crossroads

Nation and the Subject in East Asian Cinema

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Rowman & Littlefield Group

    Yoo, Hyon Joo




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Proposing that an individual film can be a synecdoche for imperialism, colonialism, and postcolonialism--primarily in North Korea, South Korea, and Japan--and that individual filmic characters function as a synecdoche for gender and racial issues, Yoo's book is a hybrid, mixing film analysis with commentary on political and social aspects of East Asia. Using Korean, Taiwanese, and Japanese cinemas and a Lacanian theoretical framework, Yoo (Univ. of Vermont) explores the rules surrounding the 'family state,' or gender rules for individual characters; 'state racism,' which 'involves migrant workers, illegal aliens, and disenfranchised natives'; and Japan's claim to modernity versus the rest of Asia as the 'Other' or the unmodern. The films discussed, among them Chun-ho Bong's Memories of Murder (2003) and Mother (2009) and also Hou Hsiao-hsien's Goodbye, South, Goodbye (1996) and Millennium Mambo (2001), offer instances of the Lacanian real and jouissance, which synecdochely depict how the rules for the family state and state racism break down when the subject's gender identity breaks down, or when, in Hou's films, violence and death reveal the violence of the (post)colonial period. Summing Up: Recommended.


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