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ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)
S/N Korean Humanities Vol.3 No.1 pp.93-121

Contemporary South Korean War Cinema as a Possible Cultural Memory Medium

Tvirmantas Cenka
Yonsei University


This study explores the possibility of Korean War cinema serving as a medium in creation and spreading of new Korean War cultural memory and proposes three theoretical and philosophical approaches. Major findings and suggestions of this research are as follows. First, this study discusses three approaches on how cinema can be involved in the process of cultural memory formation and proposes, as discussed by Alleida Assmann, Astrid Erll, Alison Landsberg and others that cinema can be used in creation of unification discourse within the popular media. Second, this study categorizes recent Korean War movies produced in South Korea as belonging to a new wave of Korean War cinema, which portrays war as a national tragedy, focusing on the damage caused by ideology and outside forces, rather than portraying it only as a North Korean aggression and blaming communists for the tragic destiny of the Korean nation. The study suggests that these movies can be used in creating a new paradigm in remembrance of the Korean War. In conclusion, this study proposes to use recent South Korean war movies as educational material in order to create a South Korean identity based on compassion and solidarity, rather than rigid antagonism and hatred.