Course Description

Course Name

Korean Cinema and Visual Culture

Session: VSOU1522

Hours & Credits

3 Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


This course will provide a broad background to contemporary Korean cinema from a variety of perspectives: cultural, economic, political, historical, social. 

Topics to be considered will include: how the major political and social changes that have taken place in Korea in recent decades have been reflected in local films;  transformations in the structure of the Korean film industry over the past 15 years;  Korean cinema's increasing participation in cultural trends in Asia and the broader world;  the changing relationship between the local film industry and the Korean government; major internationally-renowned directors and their individual styles; and the development of certain genres within Korean cinema.

Recommended reading and viewing:

In May 2012, the Korean Film Archive launched a YouTube channel at with 100+ subtitled classic films that you can watch for free (click on the ‘cc’ button to get the subtitles). The Korean Film Archive’s building in the Digital Media City (Sangam-dong), Seoul is also a great place to visit, with a film museum, a cinematheque, and a multimedia library where you can watch many films. Their website is at

If you would like to learn more about film studies and the aesthetics of cinema, I can recommend the following two books as a starting point (although there are many other options):

* Film Art: An Introduction by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson is a classic introductory text in film studies, that is strongly focused on aesthetics.

* Film: A Critical Introduction by Maria T. Pramaggiore and Tom Wallis teaches students how to analyze and critique films, in addition to providing an introduction to aesthetics.

*Course content subject to change