Korean independent film & Japanese colonialism
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This paper examines Korean film history by focusing on Korean independent film as the nucleus of its national cinema. First, I trace the development of Korean independent film within the historic, economic and political environments of Korea from its birth up until the late 1990s. I then consider the importance of independent Korean film in understanding mainstream Korean film. Specifically, I argue that the current Korean cinema is firmly rooted in Korean independent film and that this history clearly distinguishes the Korean cinema from Western cinema. In many countries, the national film industry has been developed and sponsored on the governmental level and with the support of huge private capital. However, the history of the Korean cinema shows an inverse development. The history of Korean independent film can be best described as a resistance to changing pressure from the outside throughout the country's history; from the Japanese colonialism to the authoritarian regime after liberation. With 35 years of Japanese colonization, coupled with more than 20 years of administration by military dictatorships, and as the only divided country in the world, the history of Korean film has developed in a way that is unique among other national cinemas. A critical analysis of the overlooked Korean independent film history is necessary to understand the formation and character of the current Korean cinema.