The Future of South Korean Cinema: Thoughts and Conjectures


Monday, December 4, 2017, 12:15pm


S153, 1st Floor, CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Korea Colloquium
DEC 4 Darcy Paquet Poster
Darcy Paquet
Film critic / Professor, Busan Asian Film School

Chaired by Alexander Zahlten, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University; Director of Graduate Studies - Regional Studies East Asia Program

Darcy Paquet is the founder of and the author of New Korean Cinema: Breaking the Waves (2010). He teaches at the Busan Asian Film School, and works as a program consultant for the Udine Far East Film Festival and the San Sebastian International Film Festival. In 2014 he co-launched the Wildflower Film Awards Korea (들꽃영화상), which recognizes achievement in Korean independent filmmaking. He has also done subtitle translation for many films including The Handmaiden, The Day After and The Age of Shadows. Darcy has been living in Seoul since 1997.

Beginning in the late 1990s, South Korean cinema underwent a remarkable transformation. A formerly struggling film industry fought back against competition from Hollywood to win over a dominant share of its home market. Internationally, directors like Park Chan-wook and Kim Ki-duk won festival accolades and created a vibrant new aesthetic for Korean films. In the past decade, a dynamic independent filmmaking scene has developed outside the borders of the mainstream film industry. Meanwhile, other governments in Asia have looked to South Korea as a case study for how to revitalize their own film industries.

But two decades after the start of this modern-day renaissance, Korean cinema faces daunting new challenges. The old dynamics that powered the film industry's growth are no longer relevant. The Busan International Film Festival faces the biggest turning point of its history. Just as South Korea is emerging as a cultural leader in Asia, its path forward is growing more obscure. This lecture will consider some of the major issues that the South Korean filmmaking community is likely to face in the coming years, and offer some cautious predictions about what lies ahead.  

Generously supported by the Min Young-Chul Memorial Fund at the Korea Institute. ​​