映画研究
Online ISSN : 2423-9399
Print ISSN : 1881-5324
ISSN-L : 1881-5324
Adapting Ambiguity, Placing (In)visibility
Geopolitical and Sexual Tension in Lee Chang-dong’s Burning
藤城 孝輔
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ジャーナル フリー

2019 年 14 巻 p. 72-98

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    This paper identifies the sociopolitical aspects of adaptation evident in Burning (Lee Chang-dong, 2018), a South Korean-Japanese co-production based on Murakami Haruki’s 1983 short story “Barn Burning.” In the original story, Murakami employs his quintessential motif of the disappearance of a female character for depicting the male protagonist’s sense of loss amid the increasingly materialistic economic bubble of Japan in the 1980s. While exhibiting the same motif of a vanishing heroine, Lee’s film hints at the sociopolitical conditions of contemporary Korea by introducing various changes, such as the relocation of the setting to Paju, an agricultural city adjacent to the DMZ border, and by foregrounding both the heroine’s sexuality and the competitive tension between the two male characters. By employing plot devices such as an inexplicably disrupted phone call and the sound of a propaganda broadcast, the film characterizes both the missing heroine and North Korea as invisible, the former being a potential victim of serial killing and the latter an unseen enemy state believed to be a constant threat. By identifying and analyzing the film’s motif of visibility and invisibility, this paper demonstrates how the tension between the protagonist and the antagonist resonates with the longstanding geopolitical tension between the two Korean states.

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© 2019 The Japan Society for Cinema Studies
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