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The Vernacular Aesthetics of Conte Adaptations of Western Films in Late Colonial Korea

The Vernacular Aesthetics of Conte Adaptations of Western Films in Late Colonial Korea When four contes were serialized under the title of “Yŏnghwa esŏ odǔn kkongt’ǔ” (contes adapted from films; hereafter Cinema Conte) in the Chosŏn ilbo (Chosŏn daily) in 1937, they provided an important assessment of imperial Japan’s success with its cinema control polices in colonial Korea. The 1934 Regulation Ordinance for Motion Pictures stipulated that Japan begin reducing the number of Western film screenings in the colony to protect both the growing Japanese and colonial cinema. The policy’s full effect was expected to materialize by 1937. Cinema Conte’s adaptation process of four Western films into contes reflects this context of Western films’ reception in colonial Korea in 1937. The four authors of Cinema Conte highlight Japan’s institutional restrictions on Western films and the colonial Koreans resultant sense of deprivation by transforming Western movie satires into contes, a genre considered marginal at the time, while directing their satire against the contemporary, politically induced distortion of colonial Korean’s cultural experience of Western films. In this sense, Cinema Conte represents a political aesthetic, or aesthetic politics, which illustrates the unique emotional toll the geopolitical status as a colony had on Koreans. At the same time it performed the cultural work of sublimating Koreans’ frustrated passion into potent pathos. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Korean Studies Duke University Press

The Vernacular Aesthetics of Conte Adaptations of Western Films in Late Colonial Korea

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Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
ISSN
0731-1613
eISSN
2158-1665
DOI
10.1353/jks.2015.0020
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

When four contes were serialized under the title of “Yŏnghwa esŏ odǔn kkongt’ǔ” (contes adapted from films; hereafter Cinema Conte) in the Chosŏn ilbo (Chosŏn daily) in 1937, they provided an important assessment of imperial Japan’s success with its cinema control polices in colonial Korea. The 1934 Regulation Ordinance for Motion Pictures stipulated that Japan begin reducing the number of Western film screenings in the colony to protect both the growing Japanese and colonial cinema. The policy’s full effect was expected to materialize by 1937. Cinema Conte’s adaptation process of four Western films into contes reflects this context of Western films’ reception in colonial Korea in 1937. The four authors of Cinema Conte highlight Japan’s institutional restrictions on Western films and the colonial Koreans resultant sense of deprivation by transforming Western movie satires into contes, a genre considered marginal at the time, while directing their satire against the contemporary, politically induced distortion of colonial Korean’s cultural experience of Western films. In this sense, Cinema Conte represents a political aesthetic, or aesthetic politics, which illustrates the unique emotional toll the geopolitical status as a colony had on Koreans. At the same time it performed the cultural work of sublimating Koreans’ frustrated passion into potent pathos.

Journal

Journal of Korean StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Sep 15, 2015

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