Cinematic Representations of the Gwangju Uprising: Visualizing the “new” Korea in A Taxi Driver

David Shim*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

    OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

    1 Citaat (Scopus)


    The civic unrest in Gwangju in May 1980 marks one of the most important turning points in modern South Korea’s history and collective memory. The so-called Gwangju Uprising did nothing less than herald South Korea’s transition from dictatorship to democracy. Images played an important role in this critical moment of change. Footage of the security forces quelling unrest showed the outside world what was happening in the city. One of the avenues through which the protests have been consistently reimagined is popular film. This article asks how the story of radical political change is articulated in A Taxi Driver, South Korea’s most-viewed and highest-grossing film on the Uprising. Contrasting with previous research, I argue, first, that A Taxi Driver adds to our knowledge of the Gwangju protests a story about the essential role of images in the contentious politics of the democratisation movement. Second, I contend that the film produces a specific account of the Uprising, one that allows us to see the politics of contention as an interrelation of different visibilities, which includes symbolic imagery, inside/outside configurations and male/female agency.

    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)454-470
    Aantal pagina's17
    TijdschriftAsian Studies Review
    Nummer van het tijdschrift3
    Vroegere onlinedatum26-okt-2020
    StatusPublished - 2021

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