FEATURES :

BONG JOON-HO’S MOTHER
Mother and the Cultural Remasculinisation of South Korea
I want to discuss a few things highlighted in Bong Joon-ho’s new film Mother and if possible draw them back to a broader dialogue on nation, national victimisation and infantilisation (as it relates to family, and maternal and paternal subjectivity). As Kim Kyung Hyun (2005) describes it, contemporary Korean cinema up until the millennium (he clarifies “1999”) invokes feelings of personal self-loathing, institutional repression and a damaging sense of shame; critically, this regime is gender-specific.

A SERIOUS MISTRUST OF CAMERAS
The roving camera lens in Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity


EYES WATCHING HORROR AND CALCULATED ASSAULTS IN THE REEF
The first-person camera in Andrew Traucki’s The Reef
In horror cinema the appetite for explicit, punishing and phantasmagoric deaths is insatiable. At the Frightfest screening of Final Destination 5 (Steven Quale, 2011, USA) this year, the artless nature of gymnast Candice Hooper’s (Ellen Wroe) death was so breathtaking, so lingeringly unashamedly brazen, that we very nearly gave this one sequence a standing ovation in the aisles (it received enthusiastic applause instead).

SOUTH-KOREAN ACTRESS BAE DOO-NA
Koreeda Hirokazu’s forthcoming Air Doll (Kuuki Ningyo) and Jeong Jae-eun's Take Care of My Cat


SOUTH KOREA’S FIRST ROTOSCOPED FILM
Choi Ik-Hwan’s Life Is Cool


A NOTE ON DISCONNECTING FROM HORROR
Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs


SOCIAL PROBLEMS IN HWASEONG, 1986-1991
Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder
Through the cold eye of history, director Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder looks back on the turbulent years of the mid-eighties—before the successful democratisation movement which peaked in 1987—to an era of tight authoritarian control under Chun Doo Hwan’s Fifth Republic. It is a remarkable serial killer/police procedural that highlights the failure of military rule, a failure of such monumental proportions that countrywide civil-defence orders and gas attack drills are not only common domestic policy, but, when combined with a governmental emphasis on discipline and flag-waving unity to support national security, actually function as a drain on state resources.

THE GUILT DREAM
Kim Jee-woon's A Tale of Two Sisters
A Tale Two Sisters is a guilt dream in extremis. Su-mi’s life is disrupted by the effects of memory, by the emancipatory possibilities of imagination. There is something terrifically indulgent about this form of self-attention yet as Kim’s directorial vision becomes clearer via the film’s double-whammy of revelations, as the sensual and romantic "present" contorts and deferred feelings of guilt return to the surface, and even while Su-mi’s bedevilled father Mu-hyeon wrestles with his own feelings of parental inadequacy and emotional disconnectedness, amongst all of this we can’t help but completely forgive Su-mi for wanting it the way it always was.











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