Bilan de la conférence “Years of Radical Change conference”

Ci-contre le bilan de mon intervention  la conference Years of Radical Change conference qui s’est deroulée à Londres a la School of African and Oriental Studies (Londres).

SOAS’s second Years of Radical Change conference, held 31 May – 1 June this year, expanded its remit to deal with Korean screen culture in its widest sense. We are used to conferences about South Korean films, but this year TV and video games were among the topics discussed. And on the second day of the conference there was a focus on North Korean cinema, including its attempt to find a wider audience by collaborating with outsiders.

North Korean cinema – setting the scene

Nicolas Levi, of the Polish Academy of Sciences set the scene with his talk “Kim Jong Il: a film director who ran a country.” Kim Junior was appointed head of the Film & Arts division of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party at the tender age of 26, and by the time he was 28 (in 1970) he was making statements such as “The Motion Picture Industry, when dealing with socialist reality, has not yet reached the standard set by our Party.”


Choe Ik-kyu’s Flower Girl (1972)

Although he is famous in the West for his fondness for movies and movie-making, he was not the only high official who guided the North Korean movie industry: a key figure was Choe Ik-kyu (born in 1933). Choe was involved in the production of Sea of Blood (피바다, 1971), and directed the award-winning Flower Girl in 1972, but after a long career in the industry he was demoted in 2010.

Kim Jong-il was, according to Levi, frustrated with the quality of North Korean film know-how, and one solution was the (alleged) kidnapping of director Shin Sang Ok and actress Choi Eun-hee in 1978 along with some Japanese cultural figures at the same time.

As a footnote, in 1987 North Korea held its first international film festival: the Pyongyang Film Festival of the Non-aligned and Other Developing Countries. This was held every two years from 1990 and was recently rebranded as the Pyongyang International Film Festival, which now has submissions from a broader range of countries (including the UK which presented Bend it Like Beckham in 2004).

Je vous recommande également les interventions de Christopher Green, Mark Morris  et de Johannes Schönherr. Je tiens à remercier Andrew David Jackson pour l’organisation de cet événement.

Les bilans de ces interventions sont disponibles ici


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