Between the Exotic and the Global: South-Korean 'Auteur' Cinema in Europe

Key information

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Russell Square: College Buildings

About this event

Hyunseon Lee, Dr. habil

South Korean films have been mostly introduced into Western Europe starting from the 1980s and through film festivals such as Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) among others. However, North-Korean films have also been introduced to European audiences, particularly in East-Germany and Italy during the 1970s where communist parties were strong, and even hegemonic powers. It is to be noted that certain filmmakers – particularly the above mentioned – have been almost always identified with Korean cinema, although these film ‘Auteurs’ have a different status and reputation in Korean film history and culture than that perceived by European publicity and audiences.

Based on my research on ‘Korean Peninsula Cinema’ in the major European film archives and institutions such as the Deutsche Kinemathek (Berlin), the British Film Institute (London), the Cinémathèque Française (Paris), among others, I will be dealing with the various ways Korean films have been introduced and distributed in Europe and also the changing modes of these methods in the age of new media and globalization, thereby focusing on the question of why certain film Auteurs have been predominantly screened and embraced by European audiences while more mainstream Korean films that are successful in Korea have not been successful in Europe. As a case study I will be focusing on the aesthetics of Hong Sang-soo’s films in comparison to those of Eric Rohmer, in order to explore why Hong’s films are popular in European film festivals and particularly in French film culture.

About the Speaker:

Hyunseon Lee, Dr. habil., is a Senior Teaching Fellow and Researcher of Korean Cinema at SOAS, University of London, and a Privatdozent in German Literature/ Media Studies at the University of Siegen.

She has held various scholarships and fellowships at Siegen University (Germany), Yonsei University and Seoul National University (South Korea), Columbia University (New York, USA) and Chuo University (Tokyo, Japan) and at the IGRS (Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies), University of London. She lectured and published widely in the fields of literature, film, media and cultural studies.

Her publications include monographs Hyunseon Lee: Günter de Bruyn - Christoph Hein - Heiner Müller. 3 Interviews (1996), Geständniszwang und 'Wahrheit des Charakters' in der Literatur der DDR. Diskursanalytische Fallstudien (2000) and Metamorphosen der Madame Butterfly. Interkulturelle Liebschaften zwischen Literatur, Oper und Film (Heidelberg: University Press Winter, forthcoming), and the co-edited books Akira Kurosawa and His Time (2005), Murderesses (2013), and Opera, Exoticism and Visual Culture (2015).

Her recent research project and publications focus on “North - and South Korean Cinema”, “Martial Arts Film” and “Film Festivals”. She is currently editing two books Film and History: The Korean Example as well as Korean Film Festivals: Global Transcultural Flows.