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Structural Violence and Familial Complicities in Asian Kitchen Sink Cinemas

Authors: Joseph Palis*, University of the Philippines-Diliman
Topics: Cultural Geography, Asia, Social Geography
Keywords: cinematic geography, Asian cinema, class, inequality
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


From Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' (2018) and Hirokazu Koreeda's 'Shoplifters' (2017) to Gutierrez Mangansakan's 'A Short History of a Few Bad Things' (2018) and Lee Chang-dong's 'Burning' (2017), Asian cinemas continue to probe and tackle class divisions and inequality in the post-1995 Asian financial market collapse. In the case of Koreeda and Lee whose films both came out in 2017, violence is class-induced and perpetrated by the ever-widening gap between classes whose tectonic rifts are as wide as they are invisible. Social relations are transactional and fraught with institutional violence. For Mangansakan, what appears as police crime procedural becomes a tale that demonstrates the non-efficacy of legal compliance, while in Bong's intimate landscapes, physical, emotional and discursive violence permeate present-day urban Korean society. These four films are emblematic of the creative ways citizens and law enforcers navigate societal hurdles that root from class difference, inequality and the losers of capitalism in the Asian region.

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