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Sorry for the delayed update: I’ve been sick, and was trying to figure out which films we should watch during the remainder of semester. However, it’s even more delayed than I thought: I posted this on Friday, but it was posted under the wrong category. (I was sick and must not have noticed.)
I’m a bit alarmed that nobody let me know I hadn’t posted anything, but luckily for you I had planned for us to watch a film in class on Nov. 1 anyway.
Meanwhile, make sure you read the following, and sign up for a discussion panel soon.
Here are the films I’ve got planned for the next few weeks. I’ll also be including readings to help you prepare for the discussions we’ll have about these films.
We’re going to watch The Soloist (we’ll watch it in class, as I couldn’t find it online… and I’m not sure it was ever released in cinemas in Korea)
James Bond 007 — You Only Live Twice (available here if you can’t find a copy, but it’s a horrible file)
Readings pack from Sheridan Prasso’s The Asian Mystique to be distributed in class 1 November.
Some questions to consider for discussion the James Bond film… think about them, and we’ll discuss the ones people find most interesting:
Is it possible to separate racism and sexism in the film, or are they inextricably tied together?
A friend once commented to me that the James Bond books (by Ian Fleming) read as if they were written to fulfill the wildest fantasies of traveling salesmen. What does the popularity of the James Bond series of films tell us about its audience?
Were the James Bond films famous or popular in Korea at the time of their original release? What was the first James Bond film screened in Korea, and when was it screened? How was it received by the public?
Are there similar issues of sexism, racism, or a mixture of the two in the Korean film industry? Can you think of examples? (Consider, for example, Welcome to Dongmakgol or Please Teach Me English.)
As an Asian viewer of a Western film, to what degree does the narrative logic of the film “work” for you? That is: Western viewers are supposed to see Japan, and the East in general (including the scene in Hong Kong at the beginning of the film) as “exotic” and “sensual” but how do you experience this? Is the “white man’s fantasy of Asia” apparent to you, and when watching a film like this for enjoyment do you simply take it as given, or resist it, or ignore it?
What do you think about the political undercurrent of the film? What significance does the idea of Japan being a “third powerâ€ rising to threaten the USA/USSR bipolar political world of the Cold War? Is there a similar sense today, if not of Japan, then of some other country posing a similar threat to the unipolar American-dominated status quo? And as a nation affected deeply by the Cold War, what place does Korea have in that conflict? (In other words, if the movie were being made today, where would it be set, and where would you imagine Korean sympathies would go?)
Is the James Bond franchise essentially cinema “for men” or can women enjoy it too? What about James Bond might appeal to women?
How would you feel about showing James Bond to your own child someday… and would it matter if your child was male or female?