[Marxism] Yeonghwa: Korean Film Today
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Sep 21 12:53:47 MDT 2011
When I think back on my favorite directors from what I consider
the golden age of movies, roughly the end of WWII to early 60s,
there are a few things that they seem to have in common. Firstly
and most importantly, they are humanists. Although only some share
my leftist sympathies (Kurosawa, Ray, De Sica), they all sought to
give meaning to the lives of ordinary human beings through their
work. Additionally, they were very much engaged with their
national culture even though none could be described as
nationalistic. Their films were very much concerned with
traditions that united their countrymen culturally. This
frequently meant using dialog that was drawn from the vernacular.
Finally, they navigated easily between high and low culture. They
sought the widest audience without watering down their art form.
In a very real sense, they were following a path that Shakespeare
had pioneered in Elizabethan England.
Alas, the golden age is no more. These great directors are all
dead now and Hollywood’s heavy commercial hand has been felt
across the planet, especially in the age of globalization. There
is at least one happy exception to this sorry trend, however. For
people who have been reading my film reviews over the past few
years, you will know that I regard Korean films among the best in
the world today. Not only that, they are a welcome throwback to
the Golden Age with their humanism, their engagement with
indigenous traditions and culture, and their ability to entertain
while reaching the greatest heights of artistic achievement.
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