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The Matrix of S&M in Korean Cinema: Time, Space, Trauma, Power

Taeyun Yu


Just as Jean Baudrillard predicted that a new era would arrive wherein sexual desire would emerge, the late ’90s in Korea were marked as the fin-de-siècle of sexual explosion in popular culture, in the transition of the culture from pre-modernism to modernism. Sex and nudity became prevalent properties in popular culture and film, as a window onto the world, also joined this parade by equipping its products with erotically provocative visuals and transgressive texts. This study aims to shed some light on the social meaning of sadomasochism (S&M) by viewing it as an expression of power relations (dominance/submission & discipline/punishment) within the larger social schema. This would involve the use of the body as the site where geopolitical conflicts are inscribed, in relation to the emergence of an authoritarian system that required masochistic acceptance of the concepts of dedication and self-sacrifice.


Korean cinema, Korean War, trauma, Gwangju uprising; jouissance; “Sae”-maul movement

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2017.02806