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The New Korean Cinema Looks Back To Kwangju: The Old Garden And May 18

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Chapter Summary

In 2007, two South Korean films appeared which place the May 1980 Kwangju uprising at the heart of their stories: The Old Garden, an adaptation of the novel of that name by Hwang Sǒk-yǒng; and May 18 , the first big-budget narrative film to propose tackling the May uprising head-on. This chapter looks in some detail at the two films to consider the artistic and commercial choices made by these two very different productions. It sets the films alongside earlier cinematic treatment of the Kwangju uprising and briefly takes into account two other film visions of insurrection: Luo Ye's Summer Palace and Paul Greengrass's Bloody Sunday. The chapter attempts to assess what significance the films may have beyond the context of the South Korean film industry.

Keywords: Bloody Sunday; Hwang Sǒk-yǒng;; Kwangju; May 18 ; South Korean film industry; Summer Palace; The Old Garden



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