HKOA00675U  Korean Cinema from the 1980s to the 2000s: A Critical and Historical Survey

Volume 2014/2015
Curriculum 2010 for the BA programme in Asian Studies with specialisations in
Indology, Japanese Studies, China Studies, Korean Studies, Southeast Asian Studies and Tibetology or

The 2007 curriculum for the Elective Studies in Korean studies

While the 1960s has been called the ‘Golden Age of Korean Cinema,’ it was not until the late 1980s and early 1990s that South Korean cinema really began to achieve sustained critical success at home and abroad. Since that period, there has been a phenomenal growth in the popularity of South Korean film. This course aims to analyse critically a key period in South Korean cinema, what Jin-Hee Choi calls the two ‘New Waves.’ The first ‘Wave’ of Park Kwang-su (Pak Kwangsu) and Jang Son-woo (Chang Sŏnu),  and the second ‘Wave’ of Lee Chang-dong (Yi Changdong), Hong Sang-soo (Hong Sangsu) and other filmmakers. This course will examine the political and social context of the period 1980s–2000s and the main changes that led to the two ‘Waves’ of South Korean film.

Cinema north of the border also experienced a radical shift in the early 1980s after the famous South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang-ok was kidnapped on the orders of Kim Chong-il and brought to North Korea to revolutionize the local film industry. This course will investigate the mammoth changes that occurred to North Korean cinema following Shin’s arrival.

This course will explore work of filmmakers closely associated with 1980s and 1990s cinema in both North and South Korea. The course will also explore major subjects and themes treated in these films, film style, and the fluctuating fortunes of the industry in both North and South Korea. The students will investigate the fluid quality of cinematic notions like auteur, realism, genre and national cinema and discuss the appropriateness of these terms in relation to Korean cinema. In addition, students will be given weekly study skills guidance on essay preparation and production. This course is open to all BA students and there are no pre-requisites for non-Korean Studies majors.

The course is taught entirely in English and all learning materials will be in English. No knowledge of Korean is required.

Learning Outcome

BA 2010-ordning:
Koreansk realia 1 (fagelementkode HKOB00671E) 
Koreansk realia 2 (fagelementkode HKOB00731E)
Koreansk realia 3 (fagelementkode HKOB00761E)

BA tilvalg 2007-ordning:
Koreansk realia A (fagelementkode HKOB10041E)
Koreansk realia B (fagelementkode HKOB10071E)
Moderne koreansk samfund og kultur (fagelementkode HKOB10081E)

By the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate 

An ability to use the conceptual tools and vocabulary with which to analyse critically (not just narrate or describe) a body of film texts from the contexts of their production and reception;

An ability to critically analyse some key concepts of cinema: genre, national cinema, narrative cinema using the Korean context as a model;

An ability to express and defend positions about cinema both orally and in writing;

An ability to develop their own particular research interests independently.


Recommended pre-course reading:

Bordwell, David and KristinThompson. 2008. Film Art: An Introduction. Boston: McGraw-Hill.


Kim, Kyung Hyun. 2004.The remasculinization of Korean cinema. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press ; Chesham : Combined Academic.


Lee, Hyangjin. 2000. Contemporary Korean Cinema: Identity, culture, politics. Manchester: Manchester University Press 45-66.

No prior knowledge of the Korean language or Korean history and society is required.
Classroom teaching with active student participation, teaching
emphasizes reading of key texts on cinema and discussion. There will be a weekly film screening and also clips will be shown in class.
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 384,5
  • Total
  • 412,5